Red Lentil and Zucchini Pakodas

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit a few months ago and it caught my attention for several reasons. I had never seen a pakoda (fritter) recipe made with not only Masoor dal (red lentils) but also a nutritious green vegetable.

Lentils are an excellent source of vegetable protein, rich in iron and folate and the addition of Zucchini adds antioxidants and fiber to the dish .

I experimented, adding a few more spices and cilantro to the original recipe and cooked it in my air fryer (healthy alternative to pan frying).

Serve the pakodas with cilantro chutney, ketchup or hot sauce.

Ingredients

1 cup Masoor dal (red lentils)

1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1 teaspoon ginger grated

1/2 – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Ghee or oil for sautéing

Preparation

Rinse the lentil and soak with water overnight.

Add the grated zucchini to a colander and add the salt and onion. Mix well and set the colander over a medium bowl and let this mixture sit for a couple of hours.

Squeeze the liquid from the mixture and pat with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.

Drain the lentils and place in a food processor.

Add the spices and 1/2 teaspoon salt and pulse the mixture till it forms a puree.

Transfer the lentil mixture to a bowl, add the zucchini mixture, chopped cilantro and stir to combine .

Heat oil or ghee in a large skillet over medium heat and drop about 1/4 cup batter , flattening the top with a spatula. Drop about 6 “pakodas” in the skillet and frying them for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the remains mixture.

Makes about 12 pakodas, depending on size.

Air Fryer Method

While your air fryer is preheating (for approximately 5 minutes) at 380 degrees, shape your pakodas and brush with oil

Cook for about 6 minutes; turn them over, brush oil on the other side and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, until brown.

Serve with cilantro chutney, ketchup or hot sauce.

Dosa-Waffles

I have been reading lately about the many non-waffle recipes you can make in your waffle iron. There’s even a blog (waffled tofu & frozen fries!) & cookbook called “Will it Waffle” – 53 “unexpected” recipes!

I decided to experiment with a dosa recipe (Indian lentil pancakes) using green moong dal. It is quicker & easier than making dosas on the stove, one by one! I did have to add a few extra ingredients (oats & baking powder) but they turned out great.

The dosa-waffles can be served with cilantro chutney or even with a spicy ketchup (make your own by mixing regular ketchup with a little of Siracha or hot sauce). These also reheat well and can be frozen.

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Ingredients

1 cup whole green moong dal, (soaked for about 4 hours)

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1/2 small onion

2 whole green chillies

1/4 cup oat flour (you can also grind oats in a blender)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon oil

1/2 cup water

Preparation

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process till smooth.

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Add a little more water, slowly, to get a thick pouring batter (like waffle batter!).

Preheat the waffle iron, brush the grids with a little oil, add about 3/4 cup batter (depending on the shape and size of your waffle maker) and cook them.

Remove and place on a wire rack.

Serve hot with chutney or spicy ketchup.

Moong Dal with Zucchini

Some years ago I came across a great recipe for “Moong Dal with Doodhi” in a cookbook written by a family friend in Hyderabad.  It somehow occurred to me that I could adapt the recipe substituting zucchini instead of doodhi, an Indian vegetable that is difficult to find here. The zucchini is practically invisible in this dish so perfect for those who don’t care for vegetables!

It is flavorful, fast and simple to prepare and also freezes well. It is a perfect side dish with dinner or you can roll it up in a chapati or pita bread to make a wrap.

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Ingredients

3/4 cup yellow moong dal, washed and set aside

2 cups coarsely grated zucchini

1 tablespoon oil

1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 dried red chili (or fresh green chili)

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 – 1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 tablespoon coconut powder (unsweetened), optional

Cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish

 

Preparation

Mix the dal and zucchini in a bowl and set aside for 1 hour.

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Heat oil in a  1 1/2 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and red chili. When the mustard seeds start to splutter or pop*, add the dal and zucchini mixture and stir for 3 minutes.

Add the turmeric and about 1/4 cup water, cover and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes until nearly dry.

Add salt, chili powder, cumin powder and coconut powder – stir fry for about 2-3 minutes until done.

Garnish with chopped cilantro.

*Note: Make sure your oil is hot when the seeds go in—if they heat up with the oil, they’re likely to overcook and burn without popping. When the seeds start popping, I put on a lid or splatter guard until they stop, then add the other ingredients to cool down the pan. Don’t keep the lid on too long though, as mustard seeds can burn quickly.

 

 

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