When I was travelling around India a few years ago I became familiar with these roadside snacks. The first time was on a long, uncomfortable bus journey and when it stopped the street vendors swarmed the bus. I was intrigued by the calls of bought a couple , or even how hygienically it was made, and the last place you want to get ill in India is on a long bus ride…
But luckily these snacks were totally safe, not to mention absolutely delicious. I only wish I’d bought more! The recipe below uses a daal like lentil mix for the stuffing but you could use potato, other mashed veg or even cheese or mince. The coating is very similar to what you would use for making standard pakoras and can be adapted flavour-wise too so it can be plain or have a bit more spice.
I fried mine in a shallow wok which meant that they weren’t completely covered (as I didn’t want to use tons of oil) so I double fried them to ensure the coating was even and they were completely covered, as otherwise the batter would slide down to the bottom, uncovering the top. If you don’t want to fry them you could skip the batter stage and then just put the stuffed chillies under the grill or in the oven.
These can be enjoyed hot or cold, as a starter, side or snack, and with a dip or chutney.
- 8 large green chillies
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 cup green lentils, cooked (I use packet ones)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup gram flour
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 cups of oil for deep frying, depending on your pot
Heat the oil and cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic and mustard seeds and cook for another couple of minutes.
Add the green lentils and spices and mix until everything is blended. If you want an extra kick, add the optional chilli powder. Season with salt to taste.
Whilst the mixture is cooling put the gram flour in a bowl and add the water a tablespoon at a time, until you have a thick batter.
Slit the chillies down the side and carefully remove the seeds to make space for the stuffing. You can leave the seeds in if you want to increase the heat, you’ll just need to pack them more tightly.
Stuff the chillies with the lentil mixture. Be careful not to overstuff as you want them to close – not completely but enough so you can coat them in batter.
Heat the oil.
Coat the stuffed chillies in the batter. Gently fry them a few at a time, being careful to not let them stick to the pan or each other. Fry until golden brown and then drain on kitchen paper. Serve with a spicy sauce or yoghurt dip and enjoy!