Paneer Cheese Pakora or Bhajia, Fritters
This is a quick and versatile snack. It can be made for breakfast, afternoon tea or as a snack with drinks. Serves 4-6
One 500 gm. block of Paneer Indian cheese sliced into thick fingers
250 gm. besan or chickpea/gram flour
1/2 tsp. carom or ajwain seeds
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. chilli powder
1/4 tsp. baking powder. This makes pakoras crisp.
1/4 tsp. Garam Masala (optional)
Water to make batter
A few chopped coriander leaves (optional)
1-2 chopped green chillies
Optional: 1 small red onion, finely chopped
Oil for deep-frying
Chat Masala for serving
Making the batter: Place all ingredients in a bowl, except paneer, coriander leaves and oil. Make a batter, with enough water to give it a coating consistency.
Beat thoroughly. Use an egg beater if you have one. This will make the batter light by whipping it up and trapping the air, which will make the pakoras light and crisp.
Now add and mix chopped coriander leaves, and green chillies and onions, if used.
Making pakoras: Heat the oil in a wok or karahi. The oil should not be smoking hot. Correct temperature is reached when a blob of batter dropped in the oil sizzles and floats to the surface quickly.
Coat each individual piece of paneer finger in batter and drop it gently in hot oil from the side of the wok, taking care not to splash the oil.
Fry, turning frequently, until all pakoras are golden brown and crisp on all side.
Pakoras do not taste as good if prepared in advance. However, if you have to, you can re-heat them by frying in hot oil for a few seconds again. Alternatively, spread them out on a baking tray, in a single layer, and heat in a very hot oven at 200C/400F for 10 minutes.