Neeraja is a friend of mine who is an amazing cook. She is the queen of Indian sweets and snacks. When we used to live in CA, there was a rule among us close friends. Parties strictly meant home cooked food. So if a friend’s son or daughter was having a birthday party, we would all be delegated work. So that day, it was a party at another friend Alli’s place. I was to do biryani for 40 people. Neeraja arrived at Alli’s place at 5.00 am and when I reached there at about 5.15, she had already started with her dish. I started the biryani and the biryani was cooking. By about 6.30 am, other friends had also come to help out. We were like a gang on eternal red bull. Each one had so much energy. Suddenly the big pan in which biryani was cooking overflowed by half an inch and the fat floating on top dripped down on the stove and caught fire. I just stared at the fire. I froze for a minute not knowing what to do. Immediately, Neeraja – my avenger jumped and bravely switched off the stove. She took couple of towels and covered the fire around the biryani pan to cut off oxygen supply. Zoom! The fire was off. I just stood still. Neeraja, after doing all this, said, OK girls, get back to work. We have very less time. She was so cool about it. We all clapped and hugged our Avenger. No one makes indian sweets like her. I have learnt so many recipes and techniques from her. This is her legendary onion pakkavada recipe that’s to die for. Dont wait for rain to make pakkavadas. Just go and make it. Its one of the best things that will happen to you. Here is Neerajas Ultimate Onion pakkavada.
Here is what you will need. A dozen ingredients. Slice the onions. Finely chop curry leaves and green chillies. Crush the ginger and garlic in a mortar and pestle. Add it to the other ingredients and mix well. Onions and Curry leaves add an important flavor to the pakkavada. Be generous. Adding little oil to the dough helps in keeping the pakkavada soft and crispy. Do not add a lot of oil. The pakkavada will become brittle.
Take all the ingredients together and add 3/4 cup of water and mix well. Do not add all the water at once. Add slowly. You might need a little less or a little more. It will be a wet dough.
Heat oil in a pan until hot. Take small pieces and drop them in oil. No need to shape them. Just drop them in random sizes gently in oil. Fry pakkavadas in medium hot oil until the bubbles from the oil settle and the pakkavadas are golden.
Serve the pakkavadas hot. The pakkavada can be stored for up to two days at room temperature. It stays crisp.
- Measurement Used - 1 Cup = 250 ml and 1 teaspoon = 5ml
- 1¼ Cup Besan / Kadalai Maavi
- ¾ Cup Rice Flour
- ½ teaspoon Baking Soda / Aapa Soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Fennel Seeds
- 2 Big Onions, sliced
- 7-8 sprigs Curry Leaves, finely chopped
- 6 Green Chillies, finely chopped
- 1 inch Ginger, Crushed
- 10 Garlic Cloves , Crushed
- 15 Cashewnut, broken in half
- 5 teaspoon Vegetable Oil for making dough
- ¾ cup Water
- Vegetable Oil for frying Pakkavada
- Take all the ingredients together and add ¾ cup of water and mix well. Do not add all the water at once. Add slowly.
- Heat oil in a pan until hot. Take small pieces and drop them in oil. No need to shape them. Just drop them gently in oil. Fry in medium hot oil until the bubbles from the oil settle and the pakkavada is golden.
- Remove the pakkavada carefully using a slotted spatula. Drain on paper towels.
- Serve the pakkavada. The pakkavada can be stored for up to two days at room temperature. It stays crisp.