I first enjoyed these Vengaya Pakodas in Madurai in 1955, where there were known as Udhiri Pakodas (Crumbly Pakodas). We were served these when we visited my aunt Cynthia on weekends, which she bought from a nearby hotel. When we moved to Chennai, the Udhiri Pakoda had metamorphosed into Onion Pakoda and tasted even better. I tried for decades to replicate the recipe and finally arrived at my own method which gave the same flavour.
Bengal gram dhal flour provides 387 Calories and 22.4g of protein per 100g. The rice flour provides 366 Calories and 5.9g of Protein per 100g. The dhal and the rice together supply a vegetable protein of high biological value due to the mutual supplementation of amino acids lysine and tryptophan. The carbohydrates and the oil used for deep frying make the onion pakodas a high calorie and high protein vegetarian/vegan snack.
- 2 C Bengal Gram Dhal Flour
- ¾ C Raw Rice Flour
- ¼ tsp Baking Soda
- 2 tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Asafoetida Powder
- 1 T Water
- 3 T Vegetable Oil
- 4 large Onion, sliced
- ½ C Garlic, cut lengthwise
- 4-6 Green Chillies, deseeded and diced
- 3 T grated Ginger
- 6 sprigs Curry Leaves
- Vegetable Oil for deep frying
- Blend the Bengal gram dhal flour, rice flour, salt, baking powder, and asafoetida powder using your fingers.
- Add 3 tablespoons oil to the mixture, and rub with your fingers till the mixture resembles bread crumbs
- Add all the other ingredients (onion, garlic, chillies, ginger, curry leaves, and mix well with your fingers.
- Add a tablespoon of water, and mix till you arrive at a crumbly dough (see photo below).
- Heat the oil in a kadai or wok. Do not bring to smoking point.
- Add small amounts of the crumbly dough, and fry on low heat.
- When the pakodas begin to brown, turn them over. Increase the heat, and fry till the pakodas are crisp.
- Remove and drain on paper towels.
- Repeat the same with the rest of the dough, remembering to lower the heat at the beginning of each batch.
- Store in an airtight container. The pakodas will keep for a week.
- When you add one tablespoon of water to make the dough, add little by little while mixing and stop when the mixture becomes crumbly.
- If the dough becomes sticky, it will not come off your fingers and the pakodas will be soft.
- Do not add the dough to very hot oil. The pakodas will be crisp on the outside but soft inside. Such pakodas will have very short shelf life.
- You can control how spicy the pakodas taste by increasing or decreasing the number of chillies. I prefer to use only 4 chillies as it gives a more balanced flavour.
- I use sunflower oil supplemented with rice bran oil for its neutral flavour and cholesterol lowering properties.