Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cabbage Pakoda - Crispy and Saatvik :-)

Our weather changed pretty quickly into a wet, slightly nippy days laced with gorgeous colors of the trees. Yep, we are into Autumn and every day as I walk back & forth, I stop in the middle of the road to take in the colors, click some pictures on the cell phone to preserve those moments before I move on. This weather also has an uncanny ability to make me ache and miss home as I remember it from years ago and wish for a reason to get together with loved ones. There is definitely something in the air that causes the feeling to return year after year :-(. Here is a picture of the beautiful dahlias I see in the market which invariably take me back to the home where dahlias of all colors and sizes exploded in the front yard towards the end of summers.
Recently, I came across a reading about a time machine that would take you back to any specific time. Does that sound appealing to anyone? Would you like to go back in time to a specific day/time in your life? Though it sounded attractive, I still think I would like to keep moving forward in the journey for a few reasons:
1. If I went back to the happy, carefree childhood where everything would be taken care of, I would miss being a mom myself and take care of my little girl.
2. If I went back to my fun filled college days, I would miss all the fun I have as a working woman now.
3. If I went back to my running around with the school friends days, I would miss being the friend of my best friend & husband.
4. If I went back in time, I would be ignoring all the blessings I have had since then.

Memories are 'lift me ups' when you need it but one can't live in the memories themselves. Going back in time doesn't always mean it will make you happier. So, no time travel for me, either back to the past or into the future. Look at all those peppy, perky colored chilies hanging down in beautiful creations. May this Fall be as colorful and cheerful to you all.
That was a totally random chat, I told you the weather makes me goofy sometimes :-). But this weather also encourages me to go back and cook something spicy & delicious to enjoy on those wet evenings. I throw all my caution about high calorie food out the window and indulge in a few bites (or platefuls of :-)) some garma garam pakodas and chai.
Last weekend, we finally got DD to agree for her senior pictures. If you do not know what senior pictures are, don't worry, I am here to enlighten you on the topic :-). High school seniors take pictures that portray them in the best light (figuratively & otherwise)that go into their year book as a keep sake. While the rest of the grades have their pictures taken by the regular guy that visits the schools, senior pictures are taken in a non-school setting and I have seen kids and families engage professional photographers and drive around to find the best spot to take pictures. We didn't have anything like that when in school so I was personally keen on having some senior pictures taken for DD. But my child is not one that does all the expected things, she didn't even show a small flicker of interest in taking the pictures. On top of it, to shake off the annoying mom, she said that she would have one of her really talented classmates take it for her and *definitely didn't want dad to take those pictures* :-). All the grand plans kept getting postponed as she threw herself into school work and other activities and the senior pictures took a back seat in a dark alley. Finally last weekend, she relented to take some pictures and said yes to her dad being the photographer. We didn't chase any picturesque spots, but got some beautiful shots right around us, she was happy and we were more than happy :-)
To celebrate the senior pictures and also to enjoy the wet weather, I made some cabbage pakodas. If someone were to ask my family what I cooked best, you would have an overwhelming vote on my onion pakodas, since I have made them for a long time and almost everyone in the extended family have enjoyed them at one time or another. I know, I don't have that recipe yet on the blog, will get to it soon.

The other day, I was talking to a friend who mentioned eating cabbage pakodas at an event at the temple. Normally, temple food tends to be saatvik and avoids onion, garlic among other ingredients. Last week, I was also planning on taking some snacks to a group event and wanted it to be devoid of onions. If you are craving for pakodas but not in the mood to consume onions, don't fret. These cabbage pakodas will give a run for the money to their cousins made with onions and just as mouth wateringly tasty and crunchy. I can bet that you won't miss the onions. Buoyed by the successful picture session, BH & DD kept eating the pakodas before I could pack some for sharing. I had to mix another batch and take it for my pot luck. It was well received and I came back home empty handed but feeling full in the heart.
What do you need to make Cabbage Pakodas? 
2-2.5 cups finely shredded cabbage (see notes)
2-3 Tbsp besan/gram flour
1 Tbsp chopped mint
1-2 green chilies chopped fine (adjust to taste)
3/4-1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 Tsp rice flour
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 Tsp crushed ginger
1/2 Tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
pinch of turmeric powder (adds color, optional)
oil to deep fry
How do you make Cabbage Pakodas? 
  • Finely shred cabbage to measure about 2.5 cups, put it in a bowl. 
  • Add all the ingredients except for oil. 
  • Mix it with light fingers and keep aside for 10 minutes. Cabbage leaves some water when mixed with salt.
  • Heat oil in a wide pan. 
  • After 10 minutes, mix the ingredients again and slowly add water to bring them together, about 1.5-2 Tsp of water is sufficient for this amount. 
  • Drop small spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil, make sure they are in a single layer and not piled on top of each other. 
  • Turning them over a couple of times, cook until the pakodas turn golden brown all over. 
  • Take them onto a paper towel lined plate, let cool for a minute or so before popping the deliciously addictive snack into your mouth. 
Notes: 
  • Shred or cut the cabbage in to thin and long (about 1-1.5 inch) strips. 
  • Cabbage should make the bulk with the flours only coating them. This is key to crispy pakodas. If you add too much flour or make the batter watery, the pakodas will become soggy and soft. 
  • Mint adds a wonderful flavor to the pakodas not allowing any die hard onion fans to miss onion in this recipe. Add more if you like.
  • I don't use any baking soda in the recipe, the pakodas turn and stay crisp for a long time (you can verify this yourself if you have a steely resolve to fight the temptation of eating them all as soon as they come out of the hot oil :-))