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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Saving Money On Party Snacks: Shiitake Onion Pakora/Tempura

When I've got a craving for a snack with a high mouth feel and belly satisfaction level, I like to have either Japanese-style tempura fritters or East Indian-style pakora fritters. But being the kind of foodie that I am, I always have to be different and try something hybrid. I lucked out one day with a great snack combo: shiitake onion pakura (pakora/tempura). They're easy to make, but do require a deep fryer and hot oil for best results. If you prefer, you can use a heavy cast iron frying pan and shallow fry the fritters. However, they will be denser, so you won't get the light, fluffy but crispy texture

  • 4 parts besan (chickpea flour). You can find besan in East/West Indian and Pakistani markets. If you cannot find besan, grind up dried chickpeas in a coffee/spice grinder.
  • 1 part tapioca starch or tempura mix (preferred).
  • Salt + pepper to taste.
  • Red pepper flake [optional].
  • 1-2 parts water. The amount of water will vary. You want to form a paste that's not too runny. It has to be able to bind the mushroom and onion filling.
  • 1 small onion, sliced into thin slivers and pieces separated.
  • 4-8 canned shiitake mushrooms, sliced very thinly.

  • Mix dry ingredients thoroughly with a spoon or fork.
  • Slowly add water until a paste, slightly thicker than pancake batter, starts to form.
  • Add the sliced onion and shiitakes and mix thoroughly.
  • Heat oil in some safe (heavy) pot or deep fryer.
  • Carefully drop in spoonfuls of batter.
  • Fry 2-3 minutes one side, then turn over fritters using a slotted spoon and fry 1-2 minutes on the other. While the fritters should be golden brown, keep in mind that chickpea flour is very high in protein, burns easily, and stinks when it does so. If possible, try to remove the tiny balls of loose fried batter as soon as they are cooked or they will burn. If you are using a deep fryer, this might be a bit difficult. It's recommended that you fry the fritters in a heavy stockpot. The alternative is to not make the batter too watery. This means you have to cook the fritters a bit longer, as they will be thicker.
  • Drain on paper towel (kitchen paper).

Serve with a mixture of hot and/or sweet sauces, including chutneys, sambal oelek, sriracha, plum sauce, sour cream, or onion dip.

(c) Copyright 2005-present, Raj Kumar Dash,

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  • From Canada
  • Writer, author, former magazine editor and publisher, amateur photog, amateur composer, online writer/ blogger, online publisher, freelancer

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