“A Grateful Meal”
To see the entire seven- course meal menu, please click on the menu bar on the main blog page and click on the title of the menu- “A Grateful Meal”.
For this meal, I wanted to open with these as a starter to make everyone feel well fed and at home. I have to admit, they are a bit labor intensive. So the morning of the meal, one meant for 80-100 people, I stood at the stove in my running gear from the previous day and frantically fried dozens of these sandwiches. Your Grandfather came by and offered to help and I think I growled at him. And then the three of you came along and dumped a giant box of legos in my feet and I think I barked at you. It wasn’t my most graceful moment. Nevertheless, I finished frying them and they turned out amazing. They were gone by afternoon and people posted pictures of them on their facebook pages. When making these again my advice to you is let the batter seep into the bread a bit so that they are really crunchy. They should be served warm with some Indian style ketchup that you can find at the Indian grocery stores. If you want the full experience of an Indian train station, then you must have a pot of chai ready as well. Enjoy…
Bread Pakora with Paneer
Makes 16 pieces.
8 Cups (1 Quart) of Vegetable Oil For Frying
16 Pieces White (Wonder) Bread
1lb Paneer Cut into 2×2 Inch Pieces That Are About 1/4-1/2 Inch Thick
1/2 Cup Coriander Mint Chutney (available at Indian grocery stores)
1/2 Cup Tamarind Chutney (available at Indian grocery stores)
2 Cups Besan (Gram Flour) (available at Indian grocery stores)
2 Tbsp Pakora Masala (available at Indian grocery stores)
1/4 Cup Sooji (Rice) Flour (available at Indian grocery stores)
1 to 1 1/2 Cups Water
Salt to taste
*Some Chaat Masala To Sprinkle On Top (available at Indian grocery stores)
Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan until it reaches 350 degrees fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer then turn the heat to medium high and allow the oil to warm up. Please be careful with hot oil. It’s no joke.
Prepare a baking sheet with paper towels and place a cooling rack on top.
Take half of the bread and spread one tablespoon of coriander mint chutney on each slice. Take the other half of the bread and spread one tablespoon of the tamarind chutney on each slice. Place one slice of paneer on top of a bread slice with coriander mint chutney and then top with a slice of bread with the tamarind chutney (chutney side facing paneer). Make all of your sandwiches and then slice them in half. Set Aside.
Combine the besan, pakora masala, sooji flour, and water to create a thin batter. It should not be pasty and more liquid like so that it can permeate the bread and fry up to a crunchy bite. Add one half tsp of salt at a time and taste (a little pinky dip will do). It should be as salty as a good potato chip.
Take a small piece of bread and test the oil. If it floats right up then your oil is ready. If it floats up and turns dark brown- its too hot so turn down your heat a little bit. If it doesn’t float at all then its not ready and needs to heat up some more. When the oil is ready then dip the half sandwiches one by one into the batter and gently drop into the oil. Use a spider to make sure that they are immersed into the oil. Don’t fry more than three at a time. Flip them around in oil after a few minutes. The color should be like the color of caramel on both sides.
Take them out with the spider when they are ready and place on a cooling rack that you put on the baking sheet. I don’t like to place them directly on paper towels because I think it can make them soggy. While hot sprinkle some chaat masala on top. This is optional especially if you are not used to the pungency of chaat masala. They are also very tasty just as it.
As I mentioned before, they should be served hot with some form of sauce. Preferably with some hot chai. Served right they could be a meal on their own. But for the purpose of this seven course meal they were the introduction to a flavorful meal.