There are many days- too many in fact- when I have agonizing cravings for foods that are not so healthy. Like onion pakoras.
A traditional Indian classic that can often be found on many restaurant menus, onion pakoras are the Indian cousin of onion rings- only much, much more flavorful and satisfying, at least to my taste buds. In fact, biting into an onion pakora is a small event by itself-- the crunchy covering of chickpea flour flavored with spices is the perfect foil for the sweet and pungent but soft bits of onion and coriander.
But pakoras are deep-fried, and that, of course, has put it on the list of maybe-sometimes-but-not-often foods in my household.
Until I created this recipe that turns the pakoras into pancakes while at the same time taking the guilt out of this fabulous dish. I call them Oozing-With-Health-Not-Oil Pakora Pancakes.
Taking the deep-frying out of the equation leaves the recipe chock-full with ingredients that are both healthy and yummy, and spreading the batter into a pancake on a lightly oiled griddle gives that satisfying crunch without the calories.
You can make these even healthier by adding some finely chopped spinach or cabbage or even methi leaves to the batter.
I plan to make these over and over, and trust me, you will too once you have tasted them.
2 onions, chopped fine almost into a mince
3 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped fine
1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chili powder (use less if you don't want them too spicy)
1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
Salt about 1/2 tsp or to taste
Oil as needed
Mix all ingredients with enough water to make a batter that's about the consistency of regular pancake batter.
Coat a cast-iron or nonstick griddle with about 1/2 tsp of oil. Heat until the oil is hot but not smoking.
With a quarter-cup measure, spread the batter on the griddle in a thin, round pancake, about 4-5 inches in diameter.
Let it cook without covering until the sides start drying up.
Lift a corner gently with a spatula. If it lifts easily, and the color is golden-brown, gently ease the pancake onto the spatula and flip over.
Let the other side cook about a minute until it too turns golden and crisp.
Serve hot. Yum.