Ingredient 8: Green Peas
This twist in the tale was M's way of getting me out of my writer's block as well as winter blues and inspire me to think outside the box. The rules he came up with are:
1. You have to use both ingredients 8 and 9 in making the dish.
2. Both should be considered as main ingredients and hence should be provided with equal importance in quantity and in taste.
3. You have to make 2 dishes and that is why we are counting them as 2 ingredients.
4. The dishes should not be from the same category (Appetizer, Main course, Side, Dessert)
Here's part -1 of this challenge.
When I was thinking about good ideas for this challenge, inspiration came from the unlikliest of places - Bollywood movie !! We were watching Band Baaja Baarat (a very simple yet lovely film, btw) and there was a scene alluding to bread pakora. That made me go back in time and remember the first time I had this amazing snack - at my aunt's place. This dish is more like the south Indian Bhajji where a vegetable or in this case bread is dipped in a batter made of chickpea flour and deep fired.
I wanted to bring about my own twist to this dish and I was thinking what I would do to make it better suit my personal taste. A lot of time bhajjis or bread pakora can get heavy on the batter i.e the outer batter is so thick that the taste of the vegetable/bread fades into the background. And I for one do not like it when I cannot feel and taste the veggies/bread. So my idea was to make a batter that is crispy, airy and light - almost like a tempura batter. To achieve this I swapped the heavier chickpea flour for a lighter All-purpose flour/rice four combo and added beer instead of water. The frothy bubbly beer renders the batter light and airy. Thus was born beer battered bread pakora - melding the beer battering technique into a popular roadside snack in India.
To add to that I had to incorporate peas into this dish and what better way than to use it as a stuffing. It's almost like a sandwich, beer battered and fried. I think this was a win win all the way, given we love our sandwiches, our beer and deep fried snacks :-)
- White bread was the ingredient I was given, but feel free to substitute any other whole grain or multi-grain bread.
- Fresh peas can used in place of frozen ones when available. If using fresh peas, blanch the peas for a few minutes in boiling water before using it for the filling.
- The type of beer used will affect the taste of the batter. I used George Killians Irish red beer.
- For beer-haters - no worries about the beer smell in your fritters as most of the alcohol from the beer evaporates during cooking leaving only the good flavors behind.
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
3 green chillies (more or less as per taste and heat level of chillies used)
1 tsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic minced
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup All-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour
2 cups beer
coarsely ground black pepper
- In a food processor grind chillies, garlic and ginger to a fine paste.
- Add the peas, salt and pepper and pulse it a few times, until the peas are coarsely ground.
- Now add the lemon juice, pulse it a couple more times.
- Transfer it to a bowl. Set it aside.
- Whisk the two flours, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Add beer slowly 1 cup at a time. Whisk vigorously its well mixed. Add just enough beer to get a fairly thin consistency. (Batter shouldnt be too runny or clump up on the bread.)
- Heat oil in a deep frying pan.
- Spread about 2-3 tbsp of the peas mixture onto a slice of bread. Cover it with another slice of bread.
Press the corners well so the mixture is well sealed between the two slices. Cut into four pieces.
- Repeat with the remaining slices. Set aside on a plate.
- Whisk the batter once more to make sure there are no lumps and check for consistency.
- Dip each pieces of the stuffed bread in the batter. Shake off the excess batter.
- Drop it carefully into the hot oil.
- Let it fry until its crispy and golden brown. Turn and fry the other side as well.
- When both sides are golden, remove it onto a plate lined with some kitchen tissues to absorb the excess oil.
- Serve warm with ketchup or mint chutney.