Besan Recipes

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Ultay Pultay Recipe (Indian Chana Pancake Curry) Recipe

Ultay pultay is what my father-in-law (I call him "Daddy"), who's a vegetarian, considers a festive dish. This dish is composed of thin, firmly pressed chickpea pancakes soaked in spicy gravy. The cooking time was a bit a long but seeing Daddy enjoy his meal was so rewarding. 

I learned to make ultay pultay from Lulu's paternal grandmother's sister. The entire family calls her Muni Baji in Urdu, which translates to "little sister" in English and she's indeed the youngest of a large brood; Lulu's grandmother was the eldest.

It was a lot of fun learning the curry dish from Muni Baji. She told me a lot of stories about her life in Hyderabad. For instance, the gravy calls for fried onion paste and back in the day, there was no blender so it was puréed by hand!


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Cauliflower Fritters (Gobi Pakora) Recipe

I still had a lot of cauliflower left after making a healthy chou fleur vinaigrette, so I finished the remaining head of cauliflower in a slightly less healthy way. These Indian cauliflower  fritters take no time to prepare and no resting time is required.  The batter is made from besan (garbanzo flour) mixed with lots of Indian spices. The rest really comes down to what vegetables are available in the refrigerator. 

Pakora are my go-to snack food whenever we have last minute guests. Fried food is always a crowd pleaser in my house!


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Pakora Curry (Dahi Besan Curry Recipe) Recipe

Pakora curry are fried dumplings made of a mixture of chickpea (besan) flour and spices soaked in a yogurt-based (dahi in Urdu) sauce. The dish is fairly easy to assemble.

It's one of my father-in-law's favorite dishes, and I was determined to learn how to make it. My husband Lulu's aunt, Sara, gave me the directions over the phone, so I was able to follow her step by step instructions. I served this curry with steamed basmati rice.


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How to Make Mirchi Bhaji (Mirchi Pakora Recipe) Recipe

My father-in-law really loves spicy food, so I thought I would surprise him with stuffed mirchi pakora, which are whole green chile fritters. Before getting started, I had to estimate the level of spiciness of the chiles. It turned out the green chiles we bought from the Indian market this week were painfully spicy. So I made an incision in each chile and removed all the seeds.

The preparation method I learned from Lulu’s grandmother involves stuffing the chiles with tamarind paste, then dipping them in (besan) chickpea batter before deep-frying them until golden brown.

I have to admit I didn't try any, but in my defense, even Lulu, Daddy and the girls found the peppers really spicy. Don’t get me wrong; they really enjoyed them even though the girls ended up chugging milk to help offset the spiciness. I’m just saying, you’ve been warned!


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Onion Bhajis (Indian Pakora Recipe) Recipe

Piaz pakora are the Indian version of onion rings. According to Wikipedia, when onions, on their own, are prepared in [pakora batter], they are known as onion bhujia or bhaji. Regardless of how you refer to them, the onions are cut into thin wedges and dipped in a pakora batter, which is a mixture of besan (chickpea) flour and spices. A quick turn in the fryer and they are ready to serve.

Lulu's aunts, Sherin and Sara, stayed with us this weekend and made these wonderful fritters. They're typically served as a snack, but they would make wonderful appetizers as well. Fried food is always a crowd pleaser!


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