Monsoon snacker

Stuff the baby bread pakoras with cottage cheese and some veggies to make a
nourishing dish that will keep kids tempted and parents happy

WE have long felt, and quite strongly, that the much-maligned bread pakora hasnít been given its due. It may be likened to the proverbial Ugly Duckling or Cinderella in rags before dramatic transformation. Lest you consider us gender biased (in a politically correct manner, of course!), letís reassure you that you are welcome to compare it with the horrible-looking toad, who successfully persuaded a beautiful princess to kiss him to break a terrible spell and resumed his true form ó a handsome prince in dazzling attire.

Why should the poor thing be denigrated as junk food of the worst kind Ďsoaked in artery choking trans-fats and flab-expanding potatoes packed between stale slices of bread prepared with maida.í

Itís true that most of the time it is sold in unhygienic conditions but that surely isnít its fault. Letís not forget that it has, and continues to, serve Indians loyally reducing the pangs of hunger for millions all over the land from school, college and office canteens to railway platforms and on roadside kiosks.

It has competed samosa and tikki brilliantly on an uneven playing ground to carve a niche for itself. Mumbai may boast of bada pav and some dhaba offer delicious bund tikki but nothing compares with the joy of a well-made bread pakora. It blends the beauty of a sandwich, pakora and samosa-tikki in an all-in-one substantial snack or a filling Ďone-dish mealí. With a little effort, it can become a nourishing tasty dish to keep the kids tempted and parents happy. We, at home, pack it with cottage cheese and some veggies. Donít reuse the oil 10 times for dozen other recipes. Great to pep up the tea-time during the monsoon.

Baby  Bread  Pakoras

Bread rolls (soft) six

Paneer 50g

An egg-shaped baigan one

(small, sliced round)

Tomato (small, sliced round) one

Onion (small, sliced round) one

Besan ľ cup

Salt to taste

Oil to deep fry

Slice the bread rolls breadthwise in halves. Slice the paneer and cut into rounds. Prepare a medium thin batter, adding water and salt to the besan.

Place a paneer slice on each bottom half of the bread roll and top it with tomato, baigan and onion rings. Secure with a toothpick. Gently dip in the batter and using a spoon, coat well with batter.

Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan and reduce to medium flame. Carefully lower the baby bread pakora in batches and fry till golden and crisp on the outside. Place on kitchen towel or paper napkins to remove excess oil. Serve with tomato or mildly hot sweet chilli sauce.