Deep-fried appetizer

This is a second Indian recipe. It is an unfailing favorite everywhere we make it. It is a deep-fried appetizer, great with cocktails, and for best effect, should be served with a fresh chutney, such as coriander leaves ground with fresh ginger, chopped green chilli pepper, some yogurt and maybe some mint leaves.

Cut into matchsticks: 1 large potato 1 small eggplant 1 onion There should be about equal amounts of each.

Mix together about 1/4 cup of white flour with 1/2 cup of chick pea flour (called *bessan* and quite a unique thing, which has the aroma and aftertaste of sprouted mung beans) and 1/2 tsp salt, some coarsely ground black pepper, 1 tsp ground coriander seed, 1 tsp ground cumin, and about 1 Tbsp of whole coriander seeds.

Mix the flours and seeds into the vegetables, sprinkle on a couple of Tbsps of water–VERY LITTLE water–and mix together with your hands until it just holds together. It’s gooey.

Fry tablespoons of this mixture in about 3/4 inch of very hot vegetable oil until golden brown–about 5 minutes. Drain and serve hot.
This comes from a lavish cookbook produced by the New York restaurant called The Bombay Palace, and which has sister restaurants in Europe. The food at the restaurant is wonderful, but the cookbook, for the most part (edited by the food critic Stendal) is a bust. The recipes do not make up well, usually, with some exceptions. This is one.

Ajay Shah, (213)734-3930, ajayshah@usc.edu

Bhel Puri

From: Anita Bapat

Ingredients

i) Puffed rice (American substitute is rice krispies)
ii) gram flour vermicelli ( known as shev),
iii) turmeric powder,
iv) rock salt,
v) oil ,
vi) puris. (You can get all of these items at an Indian grocery store)

Directions for bhel mix :

i) Heat 1 tsp oil, add 1/4 tsp rock salt and 1/4 turmeric powder
ii) Add puffed rice and on a very slow fire roast them for 5 minutes.
iii) Add Shev and crush puries into the above mix.

Date and tamarind chutney: Take 4 oz of date and cook in microwave oven for 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp of tamarind paste, 2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cumin pwd , 1/2 tsp corriander pwd

DIRECTIONS:

Blend to a fine paste in a liquidiser.

Mint chutney:

one bunch cilantro (also known as coriander leaves),
7-8 leaves of mint,
4-5 green chillies,
salt to taste.

DIRECTIONS; Liquidize the above ingredients in a blender to a fine paste. Add 1/4 cup water.

Garlic chutney: The lazy and easy way is take 3 tbsp of chpd garlic , 2tsp of red hot chilly pwd, salt to taste

Directions: Blend to a fine paste.

Boiled potatoes should be finely chopped.
Onions finely chopped. A dash of lime juice is recommended.
If the food is spicy add yogurt to mellow it down.

Vegetable bonda

Courtesy: K. Raghunandan

This is a separate breed and is usually a separate snack in its own right. It does not have anything in common with the uddina bonda, except the shape.
Step 1: Prepare vegetable filler – to do this, usually 3-4 potatos have to be boiled. This can simply be done in a pressure cooker.

After that, chop a few oinions (fine) along with green chillis, coriander leaves and Ginger. Keep a spoon or two of oil in a large frying pan, add mustard when the oil is hot. After the mustard splits, add a pinch of Arishina (turmeric/haldi), then the green chillis and ginger. After a short fry, add the boiled potatos. Turn them around slightly mashing the potato each time. Add salt to taste. Some people would like to add green peas at this stage (purely optional).

Other vegetables like choped carrots,fine cut beans or dill,can be added and fried before adding potatos. This would then taste quite distinct and is the “vegetable bonda”; not the commonly available Bombay bonda – the standard potato stuff available in hotels/restaurants back home. Particularly bonda with dill has a superb taste and flavour.

Usually vegetable bonda needs less of potato (1 or 2 will do).Here potato is used simply as a binding agent and this bonda is therefore not heavy. In all cases, squeez the juice of a lime, which makes the filler very tasty.
Step 2: Prepare the dipping dough – this is nothing more than the Besan (kadale hittu, or channa powder), with red chilli powder added to it. Also add salt to taste and mix it with water into a semi solid paste (watery enough like tomato ketchup to coat the potato/vegetable mix, when dipped). The trick is to add a little of rice flour so that the outer coat becomes crispy when fried.

Some people add a pinch of baking soda, but this is upto the individual (purely optional). The reddish tinge that is seen after mixing the dough with water, is a good indicator of the hotness (in terms of chilli) to control proportion.Taste a drop of watery dough for the right proportion of salt and chilli powder.
Step 3: Roll the vegetable filler into small lime sized balls. Dip them in the watery dough and directly put them in the hot frying oil. The right consistency of the dipping dough is ensured if the bonda fries well.

If the dip is too watery, the bonda opens up spilling out the contents. If the dough is too hard, covering the vegetable ball becomes difficult (can see this by experience). If dip is too thin, add a bit of besan powder to thicken (you may also add chilli powder and salt to keep the right proportion).

Serve hot, with chutney, or without it. ENJOY …. 🙂