Extra-Crispy Cauliflower and Cashewnut Pakodas

Insanely crispy, authentic street food style cauliflower and cashew pakodas! Bonus, it’s Gluten-free.

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Crispy!

Crunchy!

Hot!

Spicy!

Yummy!

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Pakodas are a kind of comfort food in Indian cooking!! It usually makes it’s appearance on every special occasion or whenever guests visit or just about any evening when you want something hot and crunchy along with chai! We can also find street vendors deep frying hot pakodas on almost every corner.

They are usually made with besan or garbanzo bean flour all over India but the pakodas in the southern part are more of crispy and crunchy while it is much softer in the northern part of the country.

These pakodas are an AUTHENTIC recipe straight from the books of street vendors of the south!

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There are 2 tricks in getting them super crunchy-

-butter or ghee is rubbed along with baking soda and then mixed into the flour. I tried mixing the baking soda along with the dry and then rubbing the fat into it (just as any  normal pastry recipe). It did help crisp up the pakodas but not as crispy when compared to the traditional method.

– the quantity of water used needs to be just the right amount the bring it all together, not even a drop more!!!

Also, it is important to mix the batter just before deep frying! Letting the batter hang around for a while would compromise on the crispness.

whisk all dry together…..caul4

rub butter or ghee along with baking soda in bowl….caul5

Combine evenly with flour mixture….caul6

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Notes-

-Less is more! quantity of water is very crucial in making crispy pakodas. Start with 1/4 cup and increase by teaspoons to get the right consistency. You want enough water for everything to be just combined.

-Chop cauliflower into small 1/2 -3/4 inch florets so the pakodas will stay crisp for longer period of time.

-Temperature of oil is crucial as well! Hot oil will brown the the pakodas before letting them crisp up.

Cauliflower and Cashewnut Pakoda

Ingredients:

1/2  cup besan or garbanzo bean flour

1/4 cup rice flour

1/2 teaspoon saunf or fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder

1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/8 teaspoon hing 0r asafoetida powder

1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature or ghee

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chopped cauliflower florets, chopped into 1/2-3/4 inch florets

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon water

vegetable oil, for frying

Preperation:

Whisk together first 7 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine butter or ghee and baking soda in a large bowl, rub with your fingertips around the sides of the bowl for about 30 seconds (this is a key step in achieving crispy pakodas).

Add the whisked dry ingredients into this bowl and work with fingertips to combine all the butter or ghee into the flour mixture (it will look like coarse sand).

Add cauliflower, cashews and water and stir together with a spoon until just combined.

In the meantime, add oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven until it comes to about 1 1/2 inches height up the sides of the pan.

Heat over medium high heat until it reaches 315 degrees or moderately hot.

Deep fry pakodas in 2 batches for about 3 1/2 – 4 minutes per batch (turn them every one minute to cook evenly) or until golden brown. Cauliflower and cashews will tend to clump together due to the nature of besan so, seperate the florets and cashews while adding into the hot oil. Drain on paper towel lined plate.

Serve hot with chai or just plain.

Makes 4-5 servings

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