BAYFOOD FASTS: Besides samosas, another integral snack during iftars (breaking the fast) are pakoras! They’re basically fried fritters made of flour that’s stuffed with vegetables. They’re really delicious since they’re usually packed with heat also, so it becomes a very flavorful snack to munch on. Plus, it’s usually pretty crispy which gives you a great crunch.
To make a pakora, you start out with 1 cup besan* (gram flour) and add in water to create a mixture. You’ll have to play around with the amount of water, but you should put in enough that the mixture isn’t pasty but like the consistency of a cake batter. You can add a pinch of baking powder to help the puffs rise more. From here, it is essentially up to your taste buds. In my house, we usually put in some cayenne pepper, salt, and serrano chiles. The options are pretty much unlimited as to what you mix into your pakora batter. I’ve had spinach and onion, eggplant, basil, potatoes, and just plain pakoras. People even make pakoras out of bread - although I think that’s a bit overkill since you’re already eating fried foods! Once you put in the chopped vegetables into your batter, you just fry them up in a saucepan until brown.
I wouldn’t recommend using a tomato or cucumber, for example, since they’ll get soggy when frying. Try to avoid “watery” vegetables! You can even break out of the vegetable mold, and use soft cheeses - like paneer - in a pakora.
For the particular batch above, my mom wanted to finish random vegetable leftovers we had, so she mixed in some potatoes and peas. They turned out pretty well. Pakoras are best served with sweet and/or spicy chutneys and even ketchup! I just try not to eat too many since I still have dinner to look forward to. ;)
*You can find besan/gram flour at an Indian/South Asian market. I’m not sure if it’s more widely available since that’s where I get my goods!