Crisp Betel Leaf Fritters

19 Jun

betel_pakodi
Tamalapaku Pakodi

Betel leaves are a necessity in all Indian ceremonies and most commonly used and seen leaves around every corner of the street. Though it is very rarely used in cooking, here is a simple recipe for betel fritters. Betel leaves are chopped up and mix into thick mixture of besan. This mixture is deep fried till crisp and generally eaten with pickle rice though the fritters serve as a mid day snack.
Makes: around a cup of betel leaf fritters

Ingredients:

Betel Leaves 4 – 5
Gram Flour / Besan 1 Cup
Red Chile Powder 1/2 tsp
Soda bi carb a big pinch
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method of preparation:

Clean, wash, remove hard ends and roughly chop betel leaves.
Thoroughly mix besan, red chile powder, soda bi carb and salt into smooth thick paste using sufficient water. Mix in chopped betel leaves and make sure the besan mixture sticks to the betel leaves.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan on medium high heat.
Drop small spoonfuls of betel leaf and besan mixture into hot oil.
Use all the mixture if there is enough space in the frying pan else make a second batch.
Fry the fritters till crisp and golden brown on all the sides.
Remove onto absorbent paper and repeat the same with any leftover mixture.
Serve crisp betel leaves fritters as a snack or with mango pickle rice.
Notes: Select tender betel leaves if you can for this recipe.

Suggestions: If fritters came out hard, add another pinch of soda bi carb to the mixture and try again. Make sure the besan mixture is not flowy. For fritters to be crisp, the batter needs to be tight.
Variations: Softer version of betel leaf fritters called bajji here.
Other Names: Paan Fritters, Vetrilai Fritters.

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