I am a Protestant Christian Marathi girl, married to a North Indian, Digambar Jain boy. When I met my father-in-law the first time, he said three things:
- “You can follow your religion and your career – we will support you fully”
- “Be mindful that we are all very moody people and you need to put up with that. If you are also moody then its a happy addition to the family”
- “I take pride in the fact that my wife and daughter are great cooks, we are used to eating good food and expect the same from you. I am glad that I have never let him down.”
In 2019, when my blogzine reached 128 countries, I shared this with my in-laws and convinced my darling mother-in-law to become a columnist on the DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter.
Saroj Mom is an extremely loving person, with a heart of gold. Noone ever leaves our home without chai and snacks or an entire piping hot meal – no matter what time of night or day it may be.
With Saroj Mom’s kind permission and my loving father-in-law’s blessings, DiaryOfAnInsaneWriter proudly presents:
Saroj’s Kitchen: A treasure trove of traditional Indian Recipes
Saroj mom has finally decided to share her secret recipes with the world. Everyone in my family is rejoicing as they will now gain access to a treasure trove of delicious recipes that will be passed on from generation to generation.
Saroj’s Kitchen: #1 Stuffed Chilly Pakodas
To beat the cold wave, we decided to begin this series with everyone’s favourite dish. You can serve this dish as a starter or a snack. It’s easy to assemble and make. Do try it and let us know how it turned out.
In the past 18 years of my married life, I have heard all our relatives demanding, “Jiji ke haath ke mirch pakode.”
For a North Indian, Pakodas are like Manna from heaven! Chai and crisp Pakodas are a favourite tea-time snack. During a sudden visit by guests, Saroj mom can put together a plate of piping hot pakodas in no time. Most of the ingredients are easily available at any Indian home. If you are reading this post from a location out of India, then you can procure these ingredients from any Indian superstore in your neighborhood.
- Four light green bhajiya chillies (long but medium-sized ones (about 5-6 inches) (Alternatively you can use bhavnagri chillies – but Saroj Mom recommends the bhajiya chillies)
- For the filling:
- 4 Medium Potatoes – boiled, peeled and mashed
- Coriander Powder – 1 1/2 tsp
- Kashmiri Chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Garam Masala Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Finely Chopped/Grated Ginger – 1 tsp
- Fresh Green coriander – finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- For the batter to coat pakodas
- Besan (Gram flour) – 2 big tbsp
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Kashmiri Chilli powder – 1 tsp
- Baking soda – 1 pinch or 1/2 small tsp
- Water – approximately 1 glass
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying the pakodas
Step One: Prepare the chillies
Choosing the right chillies: Saroj mom advises to choose the chillies wisely. Of course they should be long, but not too long – about 4-5 inches is perfect. They should be broad enough to hold the stuffing.
Prepping the chillies: Take a sharp knife and use the pointed part to make a slit starting at the broad base of the chilly right to the bottom. Split it open and remove the thread and seeds.
Saroj mom says: Removing the thread and seeds will ensure that the spiciness of the chilly will be reduced considerably.
Step Two: Prepare the stuffing
Golden tips on boiling potatoes perfectly: Saroj mom divulges a golden tip to ensure that you get perfectly boiled potatoes with skin intact. She advises adding a little salt after you fill the cooker with water and potatoes. She always washes the potatoes, places them in a cooker, covers them with water (just enough not too much), adds some salt, allows it to cook on high heat till 3 whistles. She switches off the gas and allows the cooker to cool completely. She removes the potatoes from the water, allows them to cool completely and then peels them lovingly.
Prepare stuffing: Mash boiled potatoes & add coriander powder, kashmiri chilli powder, garam masala powder, finely chopped/grated ginger, finely chopped fresh green coriander and salt.
Saroj mom advises on how to get the perfect taste: She says, though the above proportions are given, one must spend time in adjusting the taste. That is the key to getting the perfect tasting stuffing. Most of home-cooking is based on gut feeling and estimation, she advises new cooks to trust their own judgment and keep adjusting the masalas to their own taste.
Step Three: Stuff the Chillies
Once the stuffing is prepared, you can immediately begin packing the chillies with it. The tricky part here is to stuff the chilly only as much as it can hold and at the same time, it should be tightly packed. If you feel the chillies are too long, then you an cut them in a slant at this stage. Allow the stuffed chillies to rest while you prepare the batter for frying.
Step Four: Prepare the batter
Prep the besan: Take two large tablespoons of besan (gram flour) Ensure there are no lumps in the besan. Add turmeric powder, Kashmiri chilli powder, baking soda and salt to taste. Add water and make a batter that has a medium pouring consistency.
Saroj Mom’s tip on the consistency of the batter: Start with less water and keep building the batter as you go along. Ensure that the batter is neither too thick nor too thin. It should be of pouring consistency and just right to thinly coat the chillis.
Step Five: Deep frying the Pakodas
Preparing the oil: Use any vegetable oil for frying the pakodas. Pour oil in a pan and turn up the heat, heat it till smoking point, dip the stuffed chillies in the batter and slowly drop them one by one in the hot oil. Fry till golden brown and remove on a kitchen tissue so that the excess oil is absorbed.
Saroj mom advises: Take special care to ensure that the oil is properly heated. It should be just before the smoking point. If you are worried about being able to put in all the chillies at the same time, then you can put fewer chillies at a time.
Step Six: Serving Instructions
This yummilicious dish can be eaten as it is. However, most North Indians prefer having it with Saunth Chutney (Tamarind chutney) and Green Chilli Chutney. The sweet and sour flavors of the Tamarind chutney and the spiciness of the green chilli chutney unite with the savory pakodas to create a flavourful experience.
Serving tips: Serve with Tamarind Chutney and Green chilli chutney as a stand-alone snack or as a starter while chilling with friends or family.
If there is any particular recipe you want Saroj Mom to share, do let us know, she will be happy to share her knowledge. Do you have any questions or need tips for better cooking? Do leave a comment in the section below.
Do like, share and comment, my mother-in-law will be thrilled to read what you think of this recipe.
Original Recipe & Instructions by:
Saroj KrishanKant Jain
Content Curated by:
Please note: This is an original recipe from the treasure trove of Saroj Krishankant Jain. This is not a paid post and Saroj Jain & DiaryOfAnInsanewriter hold the full copyright of this piece. Plagiarizing this piece will be an insult to her knowledge and expertise.