By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
I adore India. This incredible country is the place of my heart and my soul—a sacred place.
The first time I touched Indian ground was in 2007, when me and my partner—who is an oriental antiques dealer—visited Northern India for more than a month. It was the time of Shivaratri, a celebration for Lord Shiva. It was a magic experience that I will always keep close to my heart—the bright colors, the perfumes, and the flavors! As you can imagine, I tried to taste everything, and I was fascinated with the magnificent Indian spices. I always have my kitchen full of little packages of all kinds of curries and spices.
A dish that brings me immediately to the streets of the Indian towns is a simple and easy street food: pakora. I used to fry pakora at home, and just one bite of this flavor-packed delicacy is like time travel for me.
Palak is the Indian term for "spinach," but you can use the ingredients you prefer, because pakora are always delicious!
1 onion, sliced into rings
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
2/3 cup (80 g) chickpea flour (besan)
½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon chilli powder
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 cup (70 ml) water
Salt to taste
Sunflower seed oil for deep frying
Sift the chickpea flour into a bowl. Mix in the coriander, salt, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala, ginger, and cumin.
Gradually pour the water into the chickpea flour and mix to form a thick, smooth batter. Add the vegetables and mix well.
Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large, heavy saucepan.
Using a spoon, form the batter into little balls and fry until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper before serving.