Sunday, July 20, 2008

Recipe : Prawn Bajjes (Pakodas/Fritters)

Rushina from A perfect bite... is having a Hot and Spicy Pakora contest! This is my first entry for the same. :)

Coming from a Coastal town, Prawn bajjes were an evening treat we relished. They weren't made very often because of the high price of prawns & financial prudence dictated that they were better suited for a curry that would go a longer way especially with potatoes and green mangoes added to the mix.

My sister is visiting and I had promised her some prawn pakodas when she arrived, plus Rushina's contest had me frying some up this evening. It may be monsoon and pakoda time in Coastal India, but its peak summer in Egypt and I don't have airconditioning in my kitchen. Hence this turned out to be evening dinner (I only cook once the sun sets)

500gms shelled prawns (any size) cleaned & deveined
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
half a lemon (or 1 teaspoon vinegar)
1 medium size onion
4-5 green chillies
10-14 sprigs corriander (cilantro) leaves
250gms besan (chickpea flour) - moderate the quantity as needed.
1 tsp finely chopped ginger (or 1/2 tsp ginger paste)
pinch of soda bicarbonate
salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Clean and devein the prawns thoroughly. Coat them with the turmeric powder and juice from half a lemon and keep for a while. This helps get rid of the strong fishy smell. Add some salt to the prawns to flavour them.

Small sized prawns are best for this dish. I have used larger ones for ease of cleaning. My mum sometimes chops up the prawns if they are too large so the pakodas can be made in smaller bite-sized pieces.

Finely chop the onions, chillies, ginger and coriander leaves. You can use less or more chillies depending on your love for spice.

In the picture above, you can see that my stock of Indian chillies has started to dehydrate, so I was forced to use some of the larger less spicy chillies that are available in Egypt.

Mix all these chopped ingredients into the prawns and mix well.

Slowly add spoons of besan to the prawn mixture and moderate the water to get a batter of dropping consistency.
Add a pinch of soda bicarb to give the pakodas a bit of crispness.
You can add some salt at this stage too, in case you haven't added too much salt to the prawns.

Heat oil in a pan (at least 1 inch of oil in the pan). Since the oil is going to be constantly heated at a high temperature, use an oil which does not go bad on long exposure to high heat.
Corn oil or sunflower oil are good options.

Form the mixture into balls with your hand. (For those not familiar with this Indian technique, you can use the 2 spoons technique used for choux pastry: Take a tablespoon of the mixture, and using another tablespoons, spoon it from one to the other to tighten the ingredients and drop it in the hot oil)
Fry them for a minute or so before turning them over.
Fry on the other side for a minute so till they turn deep brown.
Take them out of the pan with a slotted spoon and drain them.

Serve hot with a spicy and sour green chutney.
Green mango Chutney
Mint Chutney
Coriander Chutney
are all good options.

You can even serve them with tomato sauce, but they won't taste as good.

Serves 3 hungry people :)
Makes about 40 pakodas

Tip: Sometimes there may be a bit of batter and chopped non-prawn stuff left in your vessel. Cut a slice of bread diagonally in half. Dip the bread into that batter and deep fry in the same oil.


theadams said...

Yummy! Can i have some, pleeaseee?

Kim said...

For sure!

Remind to make some when u come over :)

Vaishali said...

Hi Kim- Nice to find your blog. I like the name: I am part Konkani myself. My dad's from Karwar and my stepmom's a Goan.

Jan said...

Can you send some over here please?! They look lovely. I will have to have a go at making these!

Kim said...

Thanks Vaishali,
I'm from a bit lower than that : Mangalore.

Jan, I wish I could send you some, but it may be easier to get you over to Cairo :) and feed them to you here.

I'm normally not so detailed in my instructions or fastidious about taking pics while cooking. But since my sis was in town, she and my husband were deputed on note and picture taking duty.

I won the contest by the way :)

Maggie said...

I've had chickpea fritters but not with shrimp. They look great!

kittie said...

Wow, these look amazing. I absolutely love pakodas - but haven't tried them with prawn before!


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