Sometimes I go out with friends to a local fast food restaurant and watch them eat humongous greasy burgers served with a basket piled high with fries. Generally I am appalled at the scene, but from time to time the scent of freshly made fries trips me up and I go home with French fry envy.
Now the weather outside is frightful, with the first snowstorm of the season dropping a couple of inches as I type this. I didn't even see my friends tonight, but I must have been thinking about them because I came home and made my own version of French fries, aka Potato Pakoras.
Pakoras are Indian street food -- battered and deep-fried vegetables. The batter is ridiculously easy to make, and is naturally gluten-, dairy-, and egg-free. It does not need to sit, but is ready to use as soon as the ingredients are stirred together. So get out your fry-pot or big cast iron skillet ... these will warm you to the bones. Feel free to substitute other vegetables, zucchini for instance.
1/3 cup besan (gram flour or garbanzo bean flour)
1 tablespoon rice flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup water
1 pound potatoes or other vegetables, peeled (or not) and cut into 1/4-pinch thick slices
oil for deep frying
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the water and mix to a thick paste. Add the vegetables and mix until slices are completely coated with the paste.
Heat the oil to about 340 degrees F. Add as many coated vegetable slices as the pan will hold in a single layer. Fry until golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels before serving.
These could be served with a dip or chutney but they are really very fine on their own.