The festive season is upon us and this time around it’s going to be different… because after more than two long arduous years, people are eagerly looking forward to celebrating this festival with wholehearted joy and elation.
One of the favourite snack foods that are prepared in large quantities during these celebrations is the Pakora – traditional Indian fritters that come in a wide range of variants and flavours. The Pakora has been around since ancient times. In fact, the word “Pakora” has Sanskrit roots; it is derived from the Sanskrit word “Pakvavata”. “Pakva” means cooked and “Vata” comes from “Vataka” which refers to a deep-fried cake made from pulses. Ancient Indian treatises and cookbooks like the Lokopakara (dating back to 1025 CE) and Manasollasa (from 1130 CE) mention Pakoras prepared by deep-frying gram flour preparations in Mustard Oil.
In today’s post we will explore a Pakora that is hugely popular all across north India: the famous Chicken Pakora. This variant is a later development. Well-known food writer Vir Sanghvi states that the Chicken Pakora was created in Peshawar sometime in the 1930s by a chef and restaurateur named Kundan Lal Gujral.
Kundan Lal creatively combined Indian batter-coated deep-frying with North West Frontier cuisine style marinating and Tandoor grilling to create his signature Chicken Pakora. In today’s post we will be preparing a homemade version of this mouth-watering north Indian delicacy.
Here are the ingredients that you will require.
Chicken (boneless): 500 grams
Gram Flour (Besan): 100 grams
Rice Flour: 2 tablespoons
Ginger-Garlic Paste: 2 teaspoons
Lemon Juice: 2 tablespoons
Mustard Oil: 100 millilitres
Cumin (Jeera) Seeds: Half a teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder: 2 teaspoons
Garam Masala: Half a teaspoon
Curry Leaves (Kadi Patta): 2 tablespoons
Coriander (Dhania) Leaves: 2 tablespoons
Salt: to taste
The quantities mentioned above are for preparing four servings. Adjust the quantities proportionately to suit the number of servings that you require.
Cut the boneless chicken into pieces that are around an inch in length. Wash the pieces and let them dry a little. Sometimes just patting them dry is enough.
Coarsely chop the curry leaves.
Finely chop the coriander leaves.
In a mixing bowl add the gram flour, rice flour, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, cumin seeds, red chilli powder, garam masala, curry leaves and coriander leaves along with salt to taste. Also add one tablespoon of Mustard Oil and four tablespoons of water. Then add the chicken pieces and mix well. Put the mixing bowl in your refrigerator for at least two hours.
Heat the remaining Mustard Oil in a pan on a High flame. When the oil reaches its smoking point wisps of white smoke will rise from the surface of the hot oil. Reduce the flame to Medium. The oil is now ready for you to begin the deep-frying process.
Place the batter-coated chicken pieces in the hot oil and deep-fry. To get the texture of the Pakoras crisp and crunchy, it is best to fry the chicken pieces in batches.
When you put the chicken pieces in the hot oil for the first time, let them sit for around two minutes or so. Then start flipping them over to ensure even frying on all sides. Keep flipping them over in the oil till the pieces become crisp and take on a golden brown colour.
A normal practice after deep-frying is to place the Pakoras on paper towels to drain the excess oil. However, you don’t really need to do that when your deep-frying medium is cold-pressed Mustard Oil. That’s because not only is Mustard Oil a healthy cooking medium packed with a wide range of health benefits, it is also proven to be absorbed into food in very low amounts during deep-frying.
Your traditional north Indian Chicken Pakora is now ready. Serve it hot with a condiment of your choice. Let the festive celebrations begin!
You can find more recipes at : https://www.purioilmills.com/recipes-in-english/