Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sweet Red Pepper & Green Bean Pakoras

These will always be known chez nous as thunder blackout fritters. Last night as I just was going to shallow fry some pakora batter a tremendous clap of thunder occurred, and then the lights went out. Dirac the kitten was playing with a clove of garlic around my feet before this surprise événement. From the sound of it, he still was. I stayed put because I didn't want to stomp on him. The Calm One's well, calm, voice boomed out from the dark depths of the house, are you two OK? Being informed of the situation, he quickly did what was needed to be done, and there was light once again. Into the fry pan the fritters did go!

The flower is a blue cranesbill

All the Piments doux très long des Landes in our potager have turned red encouraging me to come up with recipes containing them. There is also a late flush of young, tender, and very slender green beans.

The snap beans are a bush French variety:  haricots nains extra fins de bagnols

Adding some corn starch to the pakora batter is something that several cooks knowledgeable in Indian cuisine have told me will make these fried goodies nice and crisp. They are absolutely correct as I did some with and without. I regard proper frying closer to steaming and am never reluctant to go the sizzle route.

Chick pea flour is fantastic, I love its pale yellow colour!

makes around twenty five 3 inch fritters

Chick pea flour, 8 fluid ounces
Cornstarch, 2 fluid ounces
Water, 6 fluid ounces
Salt, 1/2 tsp
Red pepper, sweet, thinly sliced, 4 fluid ounces
Green beans, finely sliced, 4 fluid ounces
Garlic, crushed, 1 tsp
Ginger, finely minced, 2 tsp
Hot red pepper flakes, a large pinch, more if you want HOT
Garnishes/Accompaniments: fleur de sel, lime slices, chutney, yogurt
Enough fresh frying oil like sunflower or canola to cover a skillet a 1/2 inch with it; if you have already used oil, add about a tablespoon of that into the pan

Mix the first four ingredients with a spoon then switch to a whisk and blend until the smooth consistency of a pancake batter.

Add the next five ingredients and stir.

Heat the oil. To test for the right temperature, insert the handle of a wooden spoon to check if a continuous stream of tiny bubbles is being made.

For safety, use a tablespoon to measure the batter (make sure each spoonful has enough veggies in it) into a long-handled ladle and then carefully pour that amount into the oil. Leave enough room between the fritters so they will not touch each other. In my eight-inch skillet, I was able to make seven pakora at a time.

Fry for about a total of four minutes, two minutes on each side. Check the oil temperature for each batch; if too hot the bubbles will be large during the wooden spoon test. Fish out the tiny bits that break off the fritters during frying after each batch or else someone may rush into the kitchen wondering what's that burning smell. Blot the finished pakora well with paper towels.

I use a metal skimmer for turning and scooping them out

They are best when piping hot, but I had no problem polishing off the still crisp leftovers straight from the fridge the following day. They were very much like thick veggie chips. A sprinkling of fleur de sel is a nice touch as is serving them with chutney or lime slices.

The bits of red and green are a cheery colour combination. 

Not to mention dipping them in yogurt is very refreshing!

Our garlic player, Dirac, continues to grow. When having a timeout from his strenuous kicking of cloves, he sits in the rocking chair near my computer. When he gets bored, he notices his reflection in the full length mirror close by and charges right into it like the determined athlete that he is.

À la prochaine!


Fusilli with sweet red peppers, garlic, and capers