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.
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
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.