Brrr. It’s cold, huh. To help warm up in this weather and keep things interesting, I’m cooking chili peppers. This time of the year is perfect to nibble on hot, spicy fritters, with a perfect cup of warm tea to go with it. Don’t you agree?
Mirchi pakora is known as mulaku bajji in Kerala. This is a popular street and fast food in India. And Pakistan too, I hear. Fried to a golden crunch these hot peppers are terrific paired with a sweet tangy sauce. It is the perfect recipe to beat the winter blues and tickle your senses. Oh man, and how! You know what I mean, don’t ya? I can remember a number of times when I’ve enjoyed this snack despite the mist of tears blurring my vision and my nose running!
Chili pepper fritters — Mirchi pakora — Mulaku bajji
5 ripe banana peppers, rinsed and dried
1/3 cup besan or gram flour (chickpeas flour)
½ teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
small pinch asafetida (optional)
80 ml water
2 teaspoon canola oil, plus more for deep-frying
Cut a slit down the length of the pepper, working with one at a time. Carefully scoop out the seeds and ribs with a small spoon, making sure that the pepper stays intact. Set aside.
If you are looking for a real kick, don’t waste time removing the seeds and ribs, you can use it as is. Alternatively, you can also cut the pepper into thin strips for frying. You decide.
Whisk together gram flour, chili powder, baking powder, salt, asafetida, 2 teaspoon oil and water to form a smooth, thick batter.
Meanwhile, in a large wok, pour oil for deep frying; heat over medium-high heat.
Working in batches, dip peppers in the batter making sure to coat well inside the slit as well as outside. Transfer battered peppers, one at a time, to hot oil and fry, turning once, for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve warm or cold with sweet tamarind chutney or totato ketchup.
Sweet Tamarind Chutney
2 teaspoon tamarind paste
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon chat masala powder
½ teaspoon kashmiri chili powder (optional)
1 cup water
Mix all ingredients in a large microwave safe bowl; microwave on high for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Note that the mixture will thicken as it cools. Alternatively, you can cook the mixture in a saucepan over medium-high heat until the it thickens, about 10 minutes.