Within the pages of Street Food of India by Sephi Bergerson, you'll immediately notice there's a whole lot of frying going on. These deep-fried chaat are best served hot, straight from the fryer and are should be devoured noisily with relish.
I thought I'd start off this fry-heavy week with this recipe for Mirchi Vada, deep-fried stuffed green chiles, a wonderful spicy-sour combination of soft, spiced mashed potatoes and fiery chiles battered with a crisp coating of gram, or chickpea, flour. The potatoes are enlivened with dried mango powder and dried pomegranate seeds, both of which lend a sourness that brightens it up, and had me sneaking forkfuls of filling straight from the bowl.
The chickpea flour batter fries end up much more crisp and thick than a typical white flour, with an earthy hint of chickpea flavor. The type of green chiles you choose for this recipe should depend on your tolerance for spice, spicy long hots or even Hatch chiles could be used here, or if you prefer things on the milder side Cubanelles or sweet Italian peppers would work nicely. And of course, these peppers couldn't be served without a chutney or two. The recipe calls for mint or coriander, fresh, bright green sauces that can be found at any Indian market.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Street Food of India to give away this week.
- Yield:2 to 3
- 4 green chiles, long, fat, split lengthwise
- For the stuffing:
- 2 potatoes, medium-sized, boiled, mashed
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried pomegranate seeds (anar dana)
- 1 teaspoon dried mango powder (amchur)
- Salt to taste
- A handful of green coriander (cilantro), chopped
- 1 one inch piece of ginger, grated
- For the batter:
- 1 cup gram (chickpea) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
For the stuffing: Mix all of the ingredients together and divide the mixture into 4 portions. Stuff each portion into the chiles.
For the batter: Mix all of the ingredients together adding enough water to make a batter of medium-thick consistency.
Heat the oil in a wok; coat each chile with the batter and fry on medium heat until golden brown and crisp. Repeat until all are fried.
Serve hot with mint or coriander chutney.