The story of the Spicy Onion fritters
our very own Peyaji, Bhajji or Pakodas
So it has been a crazy 3 days with the onset of Diwali. There was menus to be prepared, analysis to be completed and attention to be given to my four legged darlings. Saturday was the Bengali Diwali, Kali puja. We have this feminist outlook in our blood. The biggest festivals celebrate powerful Goddesses and Goddess Kali is the angry version of the graceful Durga.
Anyways so I am awake from 6 juggling the analysis and paying a visit to the market , reducing milk for kulfi and then pouring them in moulds making luchi, aloor dum and chanar dalna for lunch. By the time I sleep for an hour I am bone tired.
It is 5 p.m., and I still have work to do. Here I was handling whole milk and all purpose flour and clarified butter and soft homemade cottage cheese , we in Bengal call them "chana" , though why we do so has ever baffled me. You see there is 'kukur chana (puppies) , beral chana (kittens) , chana pona (children) ,actually chana in that context means chidlren) and then there is the soft chana - the cottage cheese and there I was writing about brakes and averages and mileage. Two different world indeed.
Anyways I put the kettle on boil. A cup of Darjeeling tea settles my mind but then I realized that I was hungry like a wolf. You see she who cooks need not always get time to eat at times. I wanted something to go with my hot cup of tea and then realized that I had a left-over batter from the previous day's aubergine fritters and immediately set upon some onion fritters.
In Bengal these crispy, crunchy onion fritters are called peyajis. usually it is chopped finely and then batter dipped and fried so that you get a cluster of thinly sliced onions inside your mouth , but I decided I wanted things different. Why you ask em , well you see I like variety and well ever since I started blogging I have begun putting a bit of though for presentation. So the onins were chopped in circular shapes and the rings taken out.
All that goes in are : Now here is my catch with measurements. An old old lady had once told me, "If I give you every little detail even with measurements then how is it that you are using your skills' That was when I was in school and till date I am very bad with measurements. Other than some specific items I strongly believe it is here that one's culinary skills come out and not only culinary skills taste and preference as well. Let me talk about my friend A, someone whose needlework is magical and someone who is very good in her kitchen as well. Now A loves things extra spicy and oily , so as delicious as her chicken might be it is full of extra robust spices and is very oily, delicious nonetheless. I like mine subtle full flavored with the right balance of spices (now right is a wrong word in the gastronomical sense. One man's meat is another man's poison') So please use spices as per your taste and liking. Taste appeal is a very subjective matter. I have nonetheless tried to give a rough measurement.
2 onions chopped in circular patterns to create rings
4 tablespoon masoor pulse
4 tablespoon rice flour
7 tabselpoon of gram flour
1 heaped teaspoon of cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
mango powder as per taste
To the previous batter of masoor pulse, rice flour and cornflour , in went some besan (gram flour) and somehow I wanted things spicy so in went cumin powder, chili powder and coriander powder.
What I did first was dust the onion rings with cumin powder , mango powder and salt so that the insides become as tasty as the crispy outside.
Then you make a batter of a thin flowing consistency and add the chopped chilies . The thicker the batter is the less crispy the rings would be. Then the resultant fritters have a very hard and thick coating which is unacceptable.
Dip the onions and fry them. One can use three to four circles of onions at the same time. Serve it hot with piping hot tea and you have some very happy people sipping on tea and taking crunchy bites of their fire-cracker onions.
The rice flour adds the extra crispiness :)
Remember to always fry these on low to medium heat , so that the insides get cooked and the outsides don't turn blackish brown and then turn up the heat before taking them out for a few seconds for its crunchiness.