Tuesday, 30 June 2015

crispy onion & potato pakoras, with a side of film musings

Have you ever wondered about the Jack and Rose situation in Titanic? Around Christmas or whenever it happens to be on, my sisters and I make the same statement - 'there was plenty of room on that raft!' Tragedy was easily avoidable for our heroes, they could have grown old together and Rose definitely should have bequeathed me her giant blue diamond necklace instead of mercilessly throwing it into the sea. Hadn't she heard of poverty?? 

During the summer of Titanic fever my favourite uncle presented me with Titanic memorabilia – glossy stills of Jack and Rose and the majestic ocean liner, thinking that like most teenaged girls I too would be caught up in the giant sinking ship romance. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I wasn't a fan - not after the film anyway. My friends and I went to watch it at the cinema, filled with teen anxiety. Would Leo really be as good as we'd hoped and would we have a life changing moment as expected? How did we go about getting in touch with him if we wanted to write to him and ask him to marry us?! And did we really need snacks? After all snacks were a distraction. 

I remember being the only girl not in a flood of tears. I attended a girl’s school and even the hardened class clown was sniffling into a tissue, as though her heart was being pulled out from her chest. I don't know what it was, perhaps I couldn't relate to the mass appeal of Leonardo, or maybe it was the fact I was embarrassed for the crying girls that I felt it a duty to keep a hold of my own tears. Part of me wanted to burst into laughter. It was like a funeral. But I certainly never wanted to watch it. Ever. Again. My heart it appeared, would not go on.

Besides, my sinking feeling moment had already happened after watching Edward Scissorhands for the first time. Now that was a sad film! Imagine not being able to bring a single morsel of food to your mouth with blades for hands? Come to think of it, did he ever manage to eat at all? I worried for poor Edward and willed the film to somehow come up with a happy ending where the old man hadn't died before giving Edward hands. Even if he didn't have the time why on earth would you attach garden shears to the poor thing? At least a hand-like instrument or something, for crying out loud! 

Edward’s ordeal left a lingering pain in me. At least Jack had Rose for a little while and got to eat in the grand ballroom before being shoved off the rather large raft by Rose. Sigh. Anyway, make these pakoras, grab yourself a cup of tea. If I've made you sad, this will cheer you up. You can make pakoras with pretty much any vegetable you fancy but onion and potato ones are my favourite. This recipe is overloaded with onions with just a taste of potatoes. Super crispy caramelised onion on the outside and soft on the inside. Rose probably ate some too, as she lived to be a gazillion years. 

Ingredients (makes about 16 – serves 4 as an appetizer)
4 baby potatoes
2 small-medium onions
10 tbs gram flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chilli
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbs chopped coriander
1/4 tsp pepper
65 ml cold water
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Oil to shallow fry (about 100ml)

Peel, halve and finely slice onions and add to a bowl

Finely slice the baby potatoes to small pieces and add to onions along with the gram flour, salt and spices and mix thoroughly

Add the water and chopped fresh coriander so that the onion and potato mix is coated in a light batter

To a frying pan add enough oil to shallow fry and bring to a high heat

Reduce the temperature to medium-high heat and using a tablespoon drop a spoonful of pakora mixture into the hot oil

Cook the pakoras about a minute on each side - or until deep golden brown, remove from the oil with a slotted spatula and place on kitchen towel

Serve with spicy ketchup or yoghurt and mint sauce

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