Pakora, Pakoda, Pakode same difference as far as I’m concern! What matters is the food itself. Delicious, crispy, deep fried and all scoffed with lashings of pudina (mint) chutney with a tang from the tamarind chutney or a few dollops of my favourite typical Marathi offering of fiery coarse chilli garlic chutney (Lasunachi chutney).
This street food addition is made all across the city of Mumbai and beyond. Street stalls make them in minutes and like most street food is cheap as chips. It used to be my ‘go to’ guilty pleasure and one that I still indulge in. What always gets me is the spicy potato mix encased with a crispy coating of the gram flour. Every bite of crisp batter, soft bread and spicy mashed potato with chutneys to accompany; all washed down with a warm cup of tea was (and still is!) pure pleasure.
The potato mix is easy to make, though the potato is best crushed by hand as you want a slightly lumpy mix rather than smooth mashed potato base. With the spicing, it is perfect to eat even rolled in chapatti or bread by itself.
4 slices of white bread
Oil for deep frying
For the batter;
150gms gram flour/ chickpea flour
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp mild chilli powder
Salt to taste
For the potato mix;
2 tbsp vegetable oil
600gms potatoes boiled and roughly crushed
Pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp mustard seeds
7-10 curry leaves
1 green chillies finely chopped (deseeded if you prefer)
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
1/2tsp turmeric powder
60gms frozen green peas
1 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
Juice of half a lemon
Salt to taste
For the potato mix – heat oil in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add the asafoetida followed by the mustard seeds. As they begin to splutter add the curry leaves and green chillies. Fry for a minute on medium heat and add the chopped ginger. Stir and fry the ginger for a further minute. Tip in the turmeric powder; give it a quick stir and add the potatoes along with the green peas. Stir well to make sure the mix is evenly coloured and flavoured. Cover and steam on a low heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir well, garnish with coriander, add the lemon juice and season to taste. Let the mix cool slightly while you make the gram flour batter.
In a mixing bowl add the gram flour along with the powdered spices along with the salt. Add water and whisk to make a smooth batter. You’re looking for a double cream sort of consistency.
Place the sliced bread on a plate and add the spiced potato mix. Place another slice over it to make a sandwich. Cut the sandwich diagonally. Repeat for rest of the potato mix.
Heat oil in a wok or large kadhai for deep frying. Dip the potato sandwich in the gram flour batter mix and deep fry until it is light brown and crisp all over. Drain on kitchen paper.
Cut the bread pakoda into smaller pieces and serve warm with a chutney of your choice.