Monday, July 16, 2007

Playing with Zucchini

When we got back from our camping vacation a week ago, I found a monster zucchini in the garden. It had been sitting on the conter all week, and I finally decided it needed to be dealt with. I cut it into wedges and shredded it up and ended up with about 8 cups of shredded zucchini. First up, I made a batch of Zucchini Bread. Then I portioned off two freezer bags with 2 cups zucchini each for future batches of bread. I gazed at the remaining zucchini and thought about what I would do with it. I thought about a few more loaves of bread, and pancakes, or maybe I could just see if the shredded zucchini disappears in mac and cheese or something. Or fritters. Ah- I was onto something.

A few months back when we had our Indian Feast with friends, one of our friends bought Pakoras at an Indian restaurant and brought them along. Sort of a veggie fritter- they were amazing when dunked into raita and chutney. Shortly after that I went out and bought some chickpea flour, since that's what was used in the pakoras. And then I never got around to making them, simply because I couldn't find a recipe. I determined my remaining zucchini was going to give me pakoras.

I began with the chickpea flour- also called besan or gram flour. I added some curry powder, granulated onion, salt, pepper, and baking soda, and then added water until it was of pancake batter consistency. The shredded zucchini were added, and then one grated carrot as well for color. I heated up some oil and made a sort of pancake in the oil. The result was close to what I was looking for. In retrospect, I should have added some garam masala to the flour as well. But other than that, they made a fun addition to lunch, and I'm looking forward to trying them again sometime. They may have been better dropped into a deep fat fryer instead of shallow frying- but I'm not sure I want to find that one out. And I'm sorry to say that I didn't use a recipe, so I don't have one to share. But matched up with some coriander chutney, these pakoras were pretty close to the authentic deal we had many months ago.

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