Nothing beats piping hot chai and crunchy pakoras on a rainy day- two very hot things for cold, damp days that no one but an Indian thought of putting together, and no complains, it works perfectly. Ask any Indian and they will tell you that besan (gram flour) is what separates a lot of the world’s fritter batters from ours. Besan is currently taking the world by storm, one farinata or chilla at a time, and the role this nutty flour plays in the humble onion bhaji batter makes it the most versatile crunchy foil for a world of veg. For kanda bhaji, you must depend first on the onion’s own alium-ey water to act as the moisture that will bind together besan and thinly sliced onions. Adding a teaspoon or two of hot oil to the batter is another great tip when making bhaji batter as this makes the bhaji very crispy, and obviously, we want that. Fiery chillies, coriander and a bit of masala are just supporting acts to be honest. Taking off from this, I decided to make a new pakora this monsoon.
For these pakoras, I have paired the season’s sweetcorn with the very bitter and delicate baby methi. I love baby methi, but you’ve got to use it immediately because they begin to wilt very quickly. Two to three small bundles together with some simple garlic, chillies and potatoes makes the best Methi Aloo ever. I have added rice flour to this batter for that additional crunch, and that’s what makes it such a good pakora. Make these at home and have me over for tea.
Corn and Baby Methi Pakoras
Yield 4 portions
These little addictive pakora pops are made with sweet corn and baby methi or baby fenugreek. Pair these with a sweet imli chutney.
Rice flour 4 tbsp
Besan or gram flour 4 tbsp
Green chilli 1, or more
Coriander leaves 2 tbsp chopped
Baby methi 4 small bunches, sprout ends trimmed
Ears of corn 2, shucked
Vegetable oil for frying
Heat the vegetable oil for deep-frying in a deep kadai.
Pulse the corn, baby methi and some coriander briefly to break it up, but not grind it fine into a paste. You want some of the kernels to stay whole.
To this, add the besan, rice flour and salt. Stir and adjust the moisture with a bit of water if needed to turn it into a medium thick paste. Check seasoning. Optional- Add a teaspoon or two of the hot oil to the batter and stir if you like.
Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry in batches, careful not to overcrowd the kadai, till they start to turn a golden brown. Drain them from the oil using a slotted spoon onto paper towels and serve with a sweet chutney of your choice. I prefer an imli chutney with this.