These pakodas are a beloved streetside snack in Mumbai. A spicy potato filling and a lashing of chutney is sandwiched between slices of white bread – it’s then coated in chickpea flour and curry leaf batter and deep-fried until crisp. Here we have spread the bread slices with eggplant pickle, but you can use any pickle or chutney you like – sweet mango or hot lime pickle would also work well.
- 3 waxy potatoes, peeled, chopped
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra, to deep-fry
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1½ tsp cumin seeds
- 12 slices white bread, crusts removed
- 160 g (½ cup) store-bought Indian eggplant pickle
- lime wedges and extra pickles or chutneys, to serve
- 300 g (2 cups) chickpea (besan) flour (see Note)
- 60 g (⅓ cup) rice flour
- 2½ tsp chilli powder
- ¼ tsp asafoetida (see Note)
- handful fresh curry leaves (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place potatoes in a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until smooth. Set aside.
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until fragrant, then add turmeric and cumin seeds and cook for a further 1 minute. Add garlic mixture to mashed potato and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
To make batter, combine all ingredients except curry leaves in a large bowl. Add 500 ml water and whisk until a smooth batter forms; add more water if batter is too thick. Stir in curry leaves and season.
Place 6 bread slices on a clean work surface and spread each slice with some of the pickle. Divide potato mixture among slices and spread evenly over bread. Top with remaining bread slices and gently press together.
Fill a deep-fryer or large saucepan one-third full with vegetable oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working in 3 batches, dip pakodas into batter, allowing excess batter to drain off, then gently drop into oil and fry, turning halfway, for 5 minutes or until deep golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Cut in half into triangles. Serve pakodas with lime wedges and extra chutneys or pickles.
• Chickpea (besan) flour is thicker and grainer than refined white flour. It’s available from health food shops, Asian food shops and select supermarkets.
• Asafoetida is a strongly flavoured gum resin that is used extensively in Indian cooking. It’s available from Middle Eastern and Indian food shops.
• Curry leaves are available from select greengrocers and Asian food shops.
Photography Chris Chen
As seen in Feast magazine, March 2014, Issue 29.