Chettinad Pakora Curry

Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices used in preparing mainly non-vegetarian food. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas, and topped with a boiled egg that is usually considered essential part of a meal. They also use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. The meat is restricted to fish, prawn, lobster, crab, chicken and lamb. Most of the dishes are eaten with rice and rice based accompaniments such as dosais, appams, idiyappams, adais and idlis.
Being vegetarian of course I tried some of the few meat-free versions of this unique type of cuisine. This recipe speaks for itself and is an amazing treat of different spices that with tingle your taste buds.
 For the Pakoras:
1/2 cup Channadal
3-4 Dry red chilies
1tsp Fennel seeds
Oil for frying

For Gravy:
2 Onions (chopped finely)
2 Tomatoes (chopped finely)
4-5 Garlic pods (chopped)
2-3 Green chilies
1 tbsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Red chili powder
2 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
Fresh Coriander leaves (chopped)

For seasoning:
1/4 tsp Cinnamon powder
2 Cloves
2 Green cardamoms, crushed
2 Bay leaves
1 tsp Fennel seeds
Few curry leaves

To grind:
1 tsp Poppy seeds
4 tbsp Grated coconut, fresh or frozen
6-8 Cashew nuts
1 tbsp Roasted Chana dal

Soak the Chana dal for two hours.
Take the soaked dal, dry red chilies, fennel seeds, salt together and grind as bit coarse paste with very little water.
Heat oil for frying, and fry small shapeless pakodas with the batter
Fry the pakodas until they turns golden brown. Drain the excess of oil with a paper towel and keep aside.

Grind all the ingredients given under the list 'to grind' as fine paste with enough water. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan, add the spices given under 'for seasoning' and fry until brown.

Add the chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, green chillies all together for 4-5 minutes till the tomatoes get all mushy and onion are brown.

Now, add the ground paste to the onion-tomato mix, and cook for 4-5 minutes on low flame.

Add 3 cups of water, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt, give a stir and cook in medium flame. Add some more water if needed, to keep the gravy a bit runny and not dry since Pakodas also would need enough water to soak in
Once the oil gets separates slightly from the gravy, add the pakodas immediately and close the lid.
Don’t stir the gravy after adding the pakodas, bring boil the gravy once and turn off the flame.
Granish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rice or Chapatis.
ENJOY!! Until next time XOXO.


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