Indian Latkes (Aloo Pakora) with Cilantro Coconut Chutney
I don't know about you but I get major food cravings- weirdly though, my food cravings go by international cuisines. For weeks I'll crave Mexican food and the cravings won't stop until I've had or made it a few times. Then will come Japanese and I find myself making sushi and Miso everything until the urge passes. Same for Thai, Israeli, Hungarian...and now, every since having some delicious Indian dishes a couple of weeks ago, I am constantly craving the pungent, spicy deliciousness that is Indian food. So, naturally, when I was trying to come up with another original latke idea, I immediately thought of these. Pakoras are Indian fritters, different vegetables (often potato, or Aloo) dipped in a chickpea batter that are fried until crispy and served with all sorts of relishes and chutneys and are usually served as one of the appetizers to a meal. Well, these certainly aren't your traditional latkes- but they have enough of the necessary components that I feel they are Chanukah-worthy: potatoes that are fried. Chickpea flour and rice flour are easy to find nowadays especially with the gluten-free craze and the combination of the two make a super crispy fritter. Lots of warm spices and a little chili for heat made these delicious and dunking them in the sweet, savory, and slightly tart cilantro coconut chutney makes the perfect bite. Enjoy!
2 potatoes, about 600 grams, peeled and shredded- you wan't to use the big shredder option on your box grater of food processor. This should yield about 2 1/2 cups of shredded potatoes.
1 cup chickpea (garbanzo) flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp fennel seeds (optional, but adds great flavor)
1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch of chili flakes
3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon water
oil for frying - 2 cups should do it (don't worry, most of it does not get absorbed)
In a bowl whisk together the flours, baking soda and spices. Add in the water and whisk well. The mixture shouldn't be too thick (thinner than pancake batter) but not too thin. Add the potatoes and mix everything well so all the potatoes are coated. Heat oil in a frying pan and drop the mixture a heaping tablespoon full at a time into the oil. Don't overcrowd the pan. Fry on each side for about a minute and a half until deep brown and crispy. Remove from oil and let drain on a paper towel. Serve with cilantro coconut chutney.
For the chutney:
1 1/2 cups packed cilantro leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 heaping teaspoon crushed or finely chopped fresh ginger
juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 cup coconut cream
2 tsp honey
salt to taste
Blend all in a blender until you get a smooth consistency. My blender was on the fritz so I used a food processor which did not blend it as smoothly together as it should be. The texture should be creamy and you shouldn't see individual pieces of cilantro.