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Five fried snacks to make the most of this monsoon

It is pouring, and you have good reason to stay in with the aroma of sizzling ghee, crackling masalas and golden-brown fried stuff, which makes the rains memorable

Parippu vada (dal fritters)
During the monsoon, a Parippu Vada is given prime importance at a South Indian household. When had with a steaming cup of tea or coffee, there is nothing that a parippu vada can’t solve — including your monsoon blues.

Mumbai monsoon special: Reign in the rains



Ingredients (makes 20-25 vadas)
>>  2 cups chana dal (split bengal gram/kadala parippu)
>>  1 big onion, finely chopped
>>  2-3 finely chopped green chilli
>>  1-2 tsp ginger, finely chopped
>>  ¼ tsp fennel seeds (optional)
>>  3-4 stems curry leaves, finely chopped
>>  A pinch of kayam (asafoetida)
>>  Salt, to taste
>>  Oil

Method
>>  Soak chana dal in water for two hours. Drain all the water. Pat the dal dry with a clean towel
>>  Crush the soaked and drained dal, and run it in mixer for a few seconds. Make sure you dont grind it to a smooth paste. Add all ingredients except oil to the crushed dal and gently mix it together. Make small balls with the dal mix (gooseberry size)
>>  Heat oil in a deep frying pan on high flame. When oil is really hot, reduce the flame to low-medium. Wet your hands and flatten each ball in your palm just before adding it to the oil. If you miss this step, the vada
might break
>>  Fry till the vadas (fritters) become golden brown. If you prefer your vadas extra crispy, fry them till you get a darker shade of brown. Drain excess oil on a tissue paper. Serve hot
>>  You will get around 20-25 parippu vadas of small-medium si>> e.
Serve hot

Recipe and photo courtesy: Marias Menu (www.mariasmenu.com)

Aloo bhaja
Monsoon is the perfect time to cosy up with a bowl of khichdi or steaming rice, spicy dal and aloo bhaja (fried potatoes). A typical Bengali side dish, this is the Indianised version of the good ol’ French fries. It’s easy to make and tastes divine.



Ingredients
>>  2 potatoes (thinly sliced but not julienned)
>>  A pinch of turmeric
>>  Salt to taste
>>  Mustard oil to fry

Method
>>  Marinate the potatoes with turmeric and salt for 15 minutes.
>>  Discard the excess water secreted by the potatoes
>>  Heat oil in a wok or a pan
>>  Put in the marinated potatoes once the oil is piping hot
>>  Reduce the flame to low and cover the potatoes with a plate
>>  Check after five minutes. Stir the potatoes, cover them again and let them cook
>>  Ensure the potatoes are evenly cooked and not burnt. Remove the aloo bhaja from the flame after five minutes

Aloo tuk
Aloo Tuk is every Sindhi home’s favourite fried snack. It is best had with Sindhi curry and steamed rice, but what stops you from munching on it with your evening tea?



Ingredients
To be mixed together for the masala powder
>>  1 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)
>>  ½ tsp chilli powder
>>  ¼ tsp black peppercorns
>>  Salt to taste

For the tuk
>>  2 ½ cups baby potatoes
>>  Salt to taste
>>  Oil for deep-frying

Method
>>  Wash the potatoes and half-boil them in salted water. Drain and keep aside
>>  Heat the oil in a pan on a medium flame and deep-fry the potatoes till they are cooked. Take them out of the pan and allow them to cool
>>  Press each potato between the palms of your hands, flatten them and deep-fry again in the same hot oil till they are golden brown evenly on both sides
>>  Drain on absorbent paper and then place them on a serving plate
>>  Sprinkle the masala powder on top and toss well

Pazham pori (banana fritters)
Sink your teeth into this delicious South Indian snack item from Kerala and rest assured — you are ready to take on the world.



Ingredients
>>  2 sliced ripe bananas

For the batter
>>  ½ cup atta/plain flour
>>  1 tbsp rice flour
>>  1-2 tbsp sugar depending on the ripeness of banana
>>  Salt to taste
>>  ¾ cup – 1 cup water

Instructions
>>  Peel and slice the bananas into big or small pieces.
>>  Make the batter with flour, rice       flour, sugar, salt and water. The batter should be thicker than idli batter. Dip the sliced bananas in the batter.
>>  Heat oil. The oil should be really hot, but not smoking hot.
>>  Deep fry the bananas till golden brown.
>>  Drain excess oil and serve hot.

Palak bhajiya
We usually eat spinach as aloo palak or palak paneer. But, this monsoon, use this vegetable, to make crispy, spicy bhajiyas.



Ingredients
>>  1 bunch spinach leaves (palak)
For the batter
>>  ½ cup chickpea flour (besan)
>>  ½ tsp turmeric powder
>>  1 tsp red chilli powder
>>  ½ tsp coriander powder
>>  1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
>>  ¼ tsp baking soda
>>  Water
>>  Salt to taste
>>  Oil, for frying

Method
>>  Wash the spinach leaves and pat them dry. Ensure that they are completely dry — if they have even the slightest of water, the bhajiyas will turn soggy. Keep them whole if you like large bhajiyas. If you want a smaller si>> e, slice the leaves in twos or threes.
>>  In a bowl, add all the dry ingredients for the batter. Then gradually add water to form a smooth thick paste. The paste should have such a consistency that it should coat the spinach leaves fully. Leave the marinade aside for 15 minutes
>>  Heat oil in a wok on a high flame
>>  Dip the spinach leaves in the batter and fry them in oil on low heat
>>  Ensure that they are evenly cooked on both sides
>>  Serve hot with tomato sauce

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