Sunday, July 22, 2012

Spicy Corn Pakoras

Simon here - guest blog time ! Do you remember the kerfuffle about the KFC Double Down? The epitome of American gluttony - Chicken stuffed with pig product and cheese. We should be eating something more refined, like this high-class part of French cuisine. In a similar way, hushpuppies are fried, fatty foods, while the dish here, pakora, is an authentic ethnic treat. 
Fried goodness. There were not this many on the plate at the end of the meal...

Recipe:     
Spicy Corn Pakoras

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (fresh preferred, though we defrosted frozen)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • Additional vegetable oil, for frying
  • Mango-tamarind chutney (we used store bought, I thought it was pretty delish)
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and turmeric. Set aside.
In a food processor, grind corn kernels to a rough purée. Add purée to flour mixture and stir well to make a stiff batter

Put 4 tablespoons vegetable oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds. When seeds are lightly toasted and begin to pop, add cumin powder and pour mixture into the batter. Add cayenne, cilantro and ginger, and stir well. 

Pour vegetable oil into a cast-iron skillet to a depth of 1 inch. Heat on medium-high until oil looks wavy. Using two large soup spoons, create fritters about the size of a rounded credit-card, working in batches if necessary. Brown gently on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn pakoras and brown on other side, about 2 minutes more. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula and blot on paper towels. Serve hot with mango-tamarind chutney.

Makes 10-15 pakoras

Comments:
Taste:            
The corn provides a sweet touch to the savory nature of these fritters. A spicy latke/hushpuppy hybrid, they were a great side dish. I think our frying technique is underdeveloped (I'm sure our arteries thank us), so the crispiness was not quite right. They could have also used a bit more spice, I think.
Accessibility:     
The basic ingredients - flour, cornmeal, and oil are at every grocery store and probably on hand. Ingredients like mustard seeds may not be worth the special purchase, but you can adjust the flavor to what's in your spice rack if you'd prefer.
 Ease of Preparation:         
The recipe is pretty straightforward. The hardest part is frying, which can be temperamental. Watch out for hot oil popping onto your arm. 
Non-vegan friendliness:        
No adaptations necessary for this recipe, and who doesn't like fried things?

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