Fall is going by very quickly and winter will soon be upon us. In fact, we had some snow on Monday. It felt very cold as is usually the case with the first snow fall of the season. Fortunately, it did not stay around for too long and melted right off. I don’t think I am quite ready for snow yet. Usually after Thanksgiving when all the Christmas decorations are out, I will come round to it and brace myself for the brutal cold here in Minnesota. For now, I still want to hang on to fall and do a post on pumpkins.
Yes, it is time again for another round of Nona-Nona with Denise of Singapore Shiok!. The theme this month is PUMKPKIN, chosen by me. It is the season for pumpkins and we should most definitely do pumpkins. I blurted it out to Denise without giving it much thought. Only after I have had time to think about it did I realize that back in Malaysia, pumpkin is not something that people cook a lot of. In fact, I only know of one Chinese dish that uses pumpkin and that is to braise it with dried shrimp. Oh my…I am stuck!
Should I cook that dish or should I ask Denise to allow me to change the theme? I mulled over it for several days and then decided I should stick with it out of fairness to Denise. Since the family is not too keen on braised pumpkin, I guess I could eat it all by myself but two and a half pounds may be pushing it. I thought about it some more and then it occurred to me that I could actually make a sort of fritter which no one is going to object. Though I am not big into making deep fried stuff at home, this will be one of those exceptions.
Pakoras are small savory fried snacks typically consisting of vegetables coated in a batter made from besan or chickpea flour and deep fried. The vegetables commonly used are potatoes, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach. The batter is prepared by blending chickpea flour with water. Spices may be added to enhance its flavor.
In my version below, I have added garam masala, chili powder, ground turmeric, and cumin seeds which made the batter really fragrant. I have also added some rice flour to give the pakoras a crunchier texture. I really like this batter as it is egg-free and gluten-free and everyone in the family can enjoy the pakoras without reservations.
One of the fun and also nail-biting part of Nona-Nona is that apart from the theme, neither Denise nor I reveal to each other what we are preparing. Since we both come from very similar cultural backgrounds, there is always the possibility of us preparing a similar dish. Last month the theme was peanuts and guess what? We both came up with BOILED PEANUTS!! Hopefully this time, Denise has other plans… Let’s hop over to Singapore Shiok to see what she is up to.
Before we move on to the recipe, here is a quick reminder that the giveaway for Denise’s latest cookbook is still open. You can win a copy of this handy cookbook by just posting a comment and letting me know where you are from by clicking HERE. This giveaway is open to everyone worldwide until 9:00pm US Central Standard Time, Sunday, November 18th, 2012.
- 1 cup (130g) besan (chickpea flour)
- ¼ cup (30g) rice flour
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp toasted cumin seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- Canola oil for deep frying
- 1 small (2½ lbs/1.3kg) pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cut into ¼-inch thick wedges
Combine besan, rice flour, garam masala, chili powder, ground turmeric, and salt in a large bowl. Pour in 1 cup (240ml) warm water and stir until a smooth batter forms. Cover and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
Heat up about 1-inch of oil in a deep medium sized pan. Dip individual pieces of pumpkins in batter and fry in the hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and drain on a wire strainer.
Serve immediately with some chutney if desired.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!