Recipe: Plantain Pakora

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Lavanya Mahate from Saffron Valley showed us how to make Plantain Pakora. A dish made of fried plantain fritter inspired by her recent trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican cooking is similar to Spanish and other Latin American cuisines and is a unique blend of influences, using indigenous seasonings and ingredients. Locals call their cuisine cocina criolla.

Plantains are an essential part of a Puerto Rican meal. They are a type of savory/raw banana that is only eaten cooked. Tostones are fried plantains usually served as an appetizer or starchy side dish. Mofongo is the best-known plantain dish and essential eating, at least once.

Tostones are salted and eaten much like potato chips/crisps or French fries/chips. In some regions, it is customary to dip them in mojo (a garlic sauce) or ají, or in Colombia, they are sometimes served with hogao sauce. In Costa Rica, they are often eaten with a paste-like dip made from black beans. In some countries, they are served topped with cheese as an appetizer, or with shrimp ceviche, pulled chicken, or avocado salad. This food is found in all varieties of Caribbean cuisine.

Pakoras are much similar to tostones where we dip the raw plantain slice into a batter made with garbanzo bean flour and rice flour.  They are served hot with a side of mint and tamarind chutneys. They are popular both in North and South Indian cuisines.

Mixed Pakoras
Crispy fritters made of plantain, potato, onion and garbanzo bean flour
Serves 4
Ingredients:
* 1 cup besan (garbanzo bean flour)

* 2 cups rice flour
* 1/2 tsp baking powder
* 1 cup onion, sliced into rings
* 1 cup plantain, sliced
* 1 cup potato, sliced
* 1 teaspoon caraway seed (ajwain)
* Water for making batter
* 2 teaspoons salt
* Vegetable or Canola for deep frying

Method:
Mix besan, rice flour, salt, baking powder, ajwain and water to make a thick batter that coats the back of a spoon.

Heat oil to 350 to 375 degrees. Dip the sliced vegetables in the batter and deep fry till golden in color for 5-6 minutes turning once.

Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with chaat masala (optional) serve hot with mint and tamarind chutneys.

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