Cashew Pakoda (Munthiri pakoda)

Cashew Pakoda (Munthiri Pakoda in Tamil) is a very famous evening snack in South India. Cashew pakoda is made of chickpea flour (besan in Hindi) along with other ingredients. It is very simple and easy to prepare and goes well with tea as an evening snack. To get more flavour into the cahew pakoda, mint leaves and curry leaves are important along with a very little ghee/dalda/oil added to the flour. The texture of the cashew pakoda is crisp and crunchy unlike other pakodas which are crisp but soft inside - like Palak Pakoda or Chilli Bajji. The secret behind the crispy and crunchy texture of cashew pakoda lies in the consistency of the dough - very little water should be added. Until you eat one of these cashew pakodas, you will not know the texture of it.

In Chennai, there are many shops who sell cashew pakoda but the most famous one is Adyar Ananda Bhavan. As soon as I said my family that I am preparing cashew pakodas, everyone started talking about Adyar Ananda Bhavan where we used to buy cashew pakodas. As I am now very far away, I have to prepare them myself. I was happy with the end result as it got finished so soon in the kitchen itself that we forgot about the tea. I have prepared many a times. I have to say that the correct consistency of the dough and the oil temperatures are the two most important things to get the crunchy and crispy texture of the cashew pakodas.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

Cuisine: Tamilnadu

Spiciness: Medium

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • Cashews (kaju) - 20 or more
  • Besan (gram flour) - 1 cup
  • Rice flour - 1/2 cup
  • Mint - 1/3 cup or more
  • Coriander leaves - 1/4 or 1/3 cup
  • Curry leaves - 12 to 15
  • Saunf - 3/4 to 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Ghee - 1 tsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Water - 1/3 cup or less

Method

  • Split the cashews (you can keep them whole as well). Roughly chop the mint leaves, coriander leaves and curry leaves. Keep them ready.
  • In a bowl add besan, rice flour and ghee. Combine them together.
  • Add chilli powder, turmeric powder, cashews, saunf and curry leaves. Mix everything together.
  • Add mint and coriander leaves. Combine well with other ingredients and keep aside. Do not add water just yet.
  • Heat oil in a kadai (medium to high flame).
  • Add a little water (about 1 tbsp) first. Knead the mixture gently. It should be like a wet crumbled mixture - not a hard dough. Add water as per the requirement of the dough, very little at a time.
  • The dough/mixture should be like a wet and dry crumbles biscuit with bits attached. Cashews will be seen clearly.
  • When it is ready, immediately start cooking. Do not keep it aside for long as the consistency of dough mixture can change.
  • Try a sample first in hot oil. If it immediately floats, then the oil is ready to fry.
  • Turn the flame to medium. Take a lump of dough/mixture in your hand and slowly drop it with cashews in each lump. Small batches and medium sizes is the best. Do not try to shape them. You can cook big or small shapeless pokadas. I have made medium size pokadas 4 to 5 for each batch.
  • Keep turning in between until it is golden in colour on all sides. Cook on a medium flame and according to the requirement.
  • Drain the pokadas on a kitchen paper with the help of a perforated ladle and cook the remaining batch with same procedure.
  • Homemade cashew pokadas are now ready to enjoy. Serve immediately when hot with a cuppa hot tea.

Notes

  • Whenever I am deep frying pokadas or any snack, I always fry one or two pokadas or a few samples. This will help to know the correct temperature of the oil. If it is very hot, I will bring the temperature down and vice versa.
  • Ensure that there is enough oil and space in the kadai for the pokadas to puff up, while it is being cooked.
  • These pokadas can be stored for a good 2 days or so by cooling them to the room temperature and then storing in an air-tight container.
  • First mix all the ingredients, then add water if required. Cook immediately and serve hot.
  • Instead of ghee, you can mix hot oil or dalda in the dough. It gives a different taste.
  • If the mixture becomes too soft, add more besan, rice flour and salt.
  • The oil should not be at low temperature or high temperature. It should be medium enough to cook the pakodas. If the oil temperature is low, then the pokadas will absorb a lot of oil and will become very greasy. If it is too hot, the pokadas get quickly cooked on the outside and gets darker in colour soon but will still be raw from the inside. Sometimes, it becomes very hard as stone.

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