Deep-frying is my least favourite method of cooking. I appreciate vegetables, paneer, patties, bread or sweets cooked in ghee, but prefer honouring them in quantity only on special occasions. The quality suffers from substituting ghee with oil. In fact, I got heartburn just by heating up oil the other day! The fumes repel me. A stale smell lingers in the kitchen for days. It is associated with a bistro culture and the values fast food represents. But, for a quick, effortless snack deep-frying is the way to go! Within a couple of minutes it provides volumes of finger-food everyone loves.
Batter coated vegetables, pakoras, are one of the popular bites in India. What a great combination when served piping hot with tasty chutney! However, the best way of eating them, in my opinion, is to dip them in chaat masala!
Recently my husband surprised me by transferring a file of recipes to my hard disk he used to cook as a young man. He travelled many years with his bhakti-yoga master in Europe and India. Once they visited an Indian family in Antwerp (Belgium) and were served a wonderful meal including tomato chutney which my husband inquired a recipe for. I wondered a couple of decades later, if he had been too intoxicated by the taste of it while scribbling down his chicken scratch, because the recipe didn’t make sense to me! I took inspiration from what I could understand and came up with chutney – on the third trial – that was good, although not as good as the original one, according to my flavour pampered husband! Hah, as "a revenge", I tarnished his dhoti (white garment) on the right picture above! Oops.
Even if the recipe requires still adjusting, you won’t be disappointed with it. It may not make your socks roll around in excitement, but it works fine with pakoras. It is rich, mild and soft. Yet, it has enough edge to compliment any basic fritter.
I used pumpkin (and not some other vegetable) just because we had it at home. It cooks fast. It has a subtle taste that could be enhanced by stronger spicing but I opted to pair it with kalonji for a light and fresh impression.