Sweet plantain fritters

First and foremost, pazhampori or ethakkappam is a quintessential snack from India, mainly southern part. The name, the aroma, the picture – everything about this is delicious!  Sweet plantain is the star ingredient for this particular snack. Plantain itself is a healthy hint. With less sugar and sodium and rich in vitamin A, potassium and fiber, plantains are incredibly rich food for everyone. Ripe plantains can be eaten raw or sometimes folks would steam cook it, especially for young children.

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It is one of my staple foods since childhood. Still I drool over the sight of these bananas. The sweet aroma – as it blackens – when ripe is irresistible. When you pair it with one hard-boiled egg and a glass of milk makes it a rich and healthy breakfast.

Banana fritters

During my childhood, I used to go to my dad’s work place to eat this delicious snack at a nearby restaurant. Their version of banana fritters were different in taste and size alike. It was so delicious and worth the journey! 

Sweet plantain fritters

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Pazhampori or ethakkappam is a quintessential snack from India.

Ingredients

Ingredients

-Ripe plantains – 2, sliced vertically

-Oil for deep frying

For the batter

-All purpose flour – 1 cup

-Sugar – 3tbsp

-Salt to taste

-Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp [optional]

Directions

Mix together all the ingredients for the batter by adding little amount of water at a time. The consistency of the batter should not be too thick or thin. Dip the bananas into the batter,fold them well. Deep fry them in the hot oil until light brown in color. Drain it on the paper towel. Enjoy!

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Murukkus – a traditional savory snack

One of the traditional snacks, murukkus has been around since ages satisfying the cravings to munch on something crunchy. Perfectly done spiky coil prepared with rice flour and urad flour is fun to eat. In Kerala & Tamilnadu, you can see these murukkus, varieties of them deliciously displayed in bakery shelves. Folks love to pair it with their evening tea. Kids love to carry these around as it gives the freedom to snap it and eat it in careless oblivion. All in all, murukkus are great savory treats!

Given that murukkus are one of the popular traditional south Indian snacks, you can see awash of murukkus among other goodies during special occasions and festivals. People used to include murukkus when they share festival goodies with friends, family and neighbours. That way I got to eat different versions and loved all of them.

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Like I said, there are varieties of murukku versions. Out of all I’ve a favorite version which is comfortable to munch on…Yep, not all murukkus are soft for that matter! The one I like is soft yet crunchy. Adding urad flour loosens a bit making it less tight. You can simply snap it and throw it in the mouth just like that. And I’ve been following the same recipe since long time whenever I feel like snacking on murukkus, a simple savory treat.

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I know I’m late in posting this snack since the internet is flooded with such delicious recipes. But hey, that doesn’t fill my blog. Hence decided to post it here 🙂 That being said, for me it’s more of nostalgia if I ever try this in my kitchen 🙂

Roasted rice flour – 1 cup
Urad flour – 1/2 cup
Sesame seeds – 1 tsp
Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 1 tbsp

Combine everything well in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle 1 tbsp oil. Add water little at a time to form smooth dough. The consistency of the dough should be soft and firm at the same time. Divide the dough in small portions to fit in the murukku press. Cover it and keep aside.

In a pan, heat 2 cups or so oil. Meanwhile, on a wax sheet, press the dough through the murukku press -using the star disc- in a circular motion. Keep it ready.

When the oil reaches the right temperature, gently drop the murukkus into the oil and fry until its cooked and sort of crispier texture. Transfer the murukkus on a paper towel to drain off any excess oil.  Enjoy,

Fried banana peppers

These are otherwise known as yellow wax peppers, banana chilis or banana peppers. They are rather mild, less spicy and more on the sweeter side. The waxy texture and the sweetness are perfect for snacks, especially when the day seems sort of dull and down or to enjoy with your friends…

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Chili fritters or bajjis or fried banana peppers, vendors rock this. It’s very popular in India! When you flour coat and deep fry any peppers like these, then it becomes chili bajjis, an Indian name for fritters. But I would comfortably call it fried banana peppers, sort of simple and easy to understand.

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Fortunately, I have eaten quite a lot when I was darn carefree and diet free 🙂 .  So, as I sighted these at the store, the whole vendor scenario back in Bangalore crossed my mind, so I bought them to prepare  fritters at home. Listing it here for the love of fellow foodies 🙂

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For the batter:  A cup of all purpose flour, salt and ground pepper. Add water little by little till it reaches the consistency of pancake batter.

First step – Prepare the peppers. You could leave the seeds as is or remove them – by slitting vertically – if you wish to avoid any hint of spiciness. As you remove the seeds, make sure to leave the outer case intact.

Second step – Dip in the batter and coat in bread crumbs

Third step – Deep fry

Feel free if you need any further clarification.

Enjoy!

From florets to fritters – Cauliflower Manchurian

Cauliflower manchurian or otherwise known as ‘Gobi manchurian’ is a widely popular and sought after Indo – Chinese dish inspired by the Chinese cuisine.  Thanks to the Chinese immigrants living in Calcutta, in the eastern part of India, for many generations. Their influence helped us to develop few delicious dishes with our own signature on it:) Cauliflower manchurian is one of them. Everything about this dish is simply delicious. Personally its one of my favorites and till date it stays the same. Hence the rave and the recipe 🙂
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From florets to fritters, the delicious texture and the tender yet crunchy florets combined with sautéed onions and the green tinge from the green onions  nudge us to rave about it. With the right condiments, these fritters ace as an appetizer. It balances the gap between vegetarian and non-vegetarian. The dry spicy version is a best fit to go with drinks!

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It’s very easy if you ever want to prepare this dish at home. When you prepare it at home it would be nice if you follow through few minor yet core steps. Otherwise, it would be a disaster if by any chance the florets are not evenly coated.  Well, luck would have it, when it was my turn to try it at home,  my instincts kicked in and provided the needed ideas how to incorporate the ingredients perfectly   The taste, texture and the aroma were in perfect pitch..

In order to ease the process, I would fry and keep the onions ready!

For the fried onions

Minced onions – 2 large
1 tbsp minced ginger and garlic
1 t minced green chillies
2 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon dried red chilli flakes for a contrast and texture
Few whole dried red chillies

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The main ingredient here is; clean & dry cauliflower florets, preferably bite size pieces! I would suggest to flour coat the florets before it goes in the batter. It helps to stay the skin intact when you fry. You’ll need close to one cup of extra flour to coat the florets.

Ingredients

Clean & dry cauliflower florets
One cup extra flour to coat the florets
Oil for deep frying

Ingredients for the batter

All purpose flour – 1 cup
2 tablespoon corn flour
Enough  water
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper [optional]
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds – again optional.
Salt to taste
Food color [Optional] if you enjoy the orange texture

Combine everything together by adding little water at a time.

Combine all the ingredients for the batter by adding water – little by little – till you get the right consistency, neither too watery nor too thick. Add the florets to it. Mix well.

Deep fry separately. Stir occasionally and fry until crisp. Drain it on paper towels. Set it aside.

Garnish with (finely chopped) fried onions as well as spring onions. Enjoy with any of your favourite sauce!

Deep fried rice balls – Kerala’s own unniyappam

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Dark golden brown cute fried cakes are Kerala’s own ubiquitous snacks since ages – sort of a specialty of God’s own land. It’s musical to the ear when you hear Keralites ask for unniyappam and chaaya, a combination every Keralite adores to indulge.

Interestingly these appams are considered to be the favorite of Lord Ganesha, one of the deities of Hindus. Devotees adore Him and worship Him wholeheartedly.

In Hindu religion Lord Ganesha is the Lord of all circumstances and the provider of proper guidance and wisdom that leads to success, joy and good fortune in life. There are many temples in India where Lord Ganesha is the prime deity  where the offerings are laddus and modak. But in Kerala, unniyappams are offered to Him as an act of piety.

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However, given such ubiquity, in Kerala, the shape of ping pong ball shaped appams or unniyappams are still in the main stream. The size and the texture of it are darn appealing to anyone. The whiff of delicious fragrance is not something you forget that easily. And makes it nostalgic to folks like me who spent a copious amount of their childhood in Kerala.

Legend says that the original recipe of unniyappam is still a secret. Although, with the help of just few hints of ingredients – like rice flour, jaggery, coconut, etc.- folks delightfully delivered a close  fit replica of it.

So far I’ve eaten quite a few variation from hard to soft unniyappams. Sometimes the hardness and the rubbery texture feel darn annoying. And the soft versions are irresistible. The alluring texture with caramelized crispy edges on the outside and gently yet evenly risen well cooked unniyappams are such a great treat.

To simplify the hardness of the whole unniyappam saga, adding a hint of wheat flour and adding fresh and mashed banana just before frying would do the ruse. It enhances the texture and the flavor splendidly. Since I didn’t have jaggery with me, I generously used thick molasses. I didn’t see much difference. Rather it tasted better 🙂

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Ingredients

1 ½ cups of rice
¾ cup of wheat flour
1 ½ cups of molasses (or more according to the taste)
1 + 1 banana
¼ cup of grated coconut, gently toasted
½ tsp salt (adjust to taste)
½ tsp baking soda

Rinse and soak rice for about three hours.

In a mixer, grind the rice first. Once the rice is sort of smooth as paste, add the rest of the ingredients – wheat flour, molasses and one banana. Grind everything well with very less water. Consistency of the batter should be sort of thicker – yet not very thick. Transfer it in another wide open mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients except the banana – toasted coconut, salt and baking soda.

Allow the mixture to rest nicely. It needs time to bring out the real texture and flavor 🙂 That’s around 4-5 hours! The batter would be safe in the refrigerator for about a day.

Well, just before the frying process, mash the banana – the banana which we kept to be used in the end- and mix it in the batter. Mix everything nice and well one more time. Fry it in a pan specially made for unniyappams and enjoy.