Thursday, June 11, 2015

Onion Pakora(Neerulli Baje) - Mangalorean Style

The ever popular street food of India, Onion Pakora is widely popular, especially when it's raining or when the weather is cold. Guzzlers have never denied the fact that no other starter, veg or nonveg can match the taste and flavour of crisp fried onions coated with chickpea flour with a hint of spices. Onion Pakora is also known as Neerulli Baje in Mangalore, Eerulli Pakoda in old Mysore side and Kaanda Bhujia in Maharastra.

I have grown up eating this wonderful snack at various street food carts, shacks and restaurants. This is made with different spices and ingredients added, but any form of Onion Pakora is delectable anytime, when freshly prepared and served hot!

The Mangalorean way of making this mainly involves a simple process of mixing in some chopped greens and chilles, if not some chilli powder and rice powder along with the main base, chickpea flour. Some also add asafotoeda and inger, but I love it without adding them. The flavour of onions blended with the basic ingredients gives a good feeling as it is.

The main secret behind getting a crisp pakora depends on the right mixture of chcikpea flour rice powder and hot oil. Hot oil makes the batter crumble and it also checks excessive absorption of oil while deep frying. Marinating onions with salt for 10 minutes will release the natural juices from the onion slices and you will thus get a clear idea whether or not to add extra water while mixing in the flours.

Normal chilli powder is basically added but to get that lovely deep red colour, I added Kashmiri chilli powder. I also added a dash of turmeric powder, which is not followed by many chefs. Thus, a balanced flavour is achieved. Make this on a cool rainy monsoon day and enjoy it with a cup of hot coffee or tea. This also goes well with rice and daal, congi or curd. 
Onions - 2 big 
Salt - 1/4 Tsp or to taste
Coriander seeds - 2 Tsp
Green Chillies - 2-3 chopped
Curry leaves - 3 sprigs chopped
Coriander leaves - A handful chopped
Red Chilli Powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric powder(Optional) - 1/8 Tsp
Chickpea Flour(Besan) - 2 Cups
Rice Flour - 1 cup
Baking Soda - 1/8 tsp
Oil - For deep frying
Hot Oil - 1 Tbsp

Dry roast coriander seeds till crisp, and then coarsely grind in the mill.
Heat oil in a kadai(deep frying pan) and simmer.
Thinly slice onions and separate the shreds.
Apply salt, squeeze well and keep for 10 mins.
Add the chopped greens, powders, flours and hot oil.
Mix well without adding water.
If too dry, sprinkle little water while mixing the ingredients.
water oozing from the salted onions should be sufficient to moisten the powders.
Raise the heat of oil to medium.
With the help of a spoon and fork, drop small quantities of the mixture into the hot oil. The mixture should be loosened with the fork while dropping, so that onion shreds will fry crisp and nice.
Fry on medium heat on one side for 3-5 mins, flip and fry for another 3 mins till crisp and golden.
Drain and transfer to a colander lined with kitchen paper.
Serve hot with choice of sauce or as it is.
Instead of coriander seeds, you may add whole cumin seeds or fennel seeds.
You can also add chopped ginger along with other spices and ingredients.
You can add little asafotoeda along with other ingredients. 
You can add Kashmiri Chilli Powder for that deep red colour. 

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