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Guest Post: Gosht Shorba by Prerna of Indian Simmer and a Giveaway of her book | Spices and Aroma | Food, Life and Stories
Source: www.nytimes.com– By DAVID TANIS
HOT weather aside, you really know it’s summer when fresh sweet corn shows up at every Greenmarket and farm stand. I always love the sight of folks digging through piles of fat green-husked ears, looking for the best specimens. I’m right there with them, grabbing my own.
For the first few weeks of corn season, I’m happy to eat it on the cob, boiled or grilled, smeared with butter and sprinkled with salt and pepper or lime and chile powder. Or plain.
But at a certain point, it’s time to take those kernels off the cob and start playing. I may make my own creamed corn (butter-stewed, then finished with crème fraîche and chives) or a bright succotash with peppers, zucchini and sundry beans.
Adding fresh kernels to corn bread or polenta is always nice, or I’ll try a vegetarian corn chowder, with a broth made of simmered cobs, new potatoes and a fistful of fresh herbs.
This week, even in sweltering weather, I had a yen for something fried, and though I could have settled for corn-studded hush puppies, my inclination was to make something spicier, more complex. I love the vibrant flavor of Indian food, especially in summer. (It always seems refreshing.) So I turned to a few of my favorite Indian cookbooks for inspiration, and I found a solution: corn pakoras.
Crispy and well seasoned, pakoras are fritters that can be made from most any vegetable, corn included. I wanted to emphasize the corn flavor, so I used a fair amount of fine cornmeal, besides the more traditional chickpea flour. I got out my food processor to grind up fresh kernels for the batter, then in went the spices: the chiles, the ginger and scallions.
To accompany the pakoras, I craved a chutney that was sweet, hot and a little sour. Ripe mangoes and tamarind were at my local Indian grocery, so I used those, but green mango would have been good, or practically any other chutney, really.
Once the batter was made and the chutney assembled, I waited for sunset. Then it was time for an icy beverage before approaching the stove.
Using a couple of soup spoons, I slipped morsels of the mixture into a bare inch of hot oil. The frying took only a few minutes. (If you don’t want to fry them, cook them like pancakes on a well-oiled griddle.)
My little pakoras were just the thing for a hot night: spicy, crispy, sweet and savory.
A version of this article appeared in print on July 18, 2012, on page D2 of the New York edition with the headline: Pakoras Give Buttered Ears A Rest.
These are Indian shortbread cookies called nankhatai. A nankhatai is a simple eggless cookie with butter, flour, and sugar as the main ingredients. Some spice is added to give the cookies an extra zing. I used a mixture of besan (chickpea flour), all-purpose flour, and semolina as the base. Black pepper adds warmth to these sweet, buttery cookies and a little bit of fruity jam or almond on top gives these thumbprint cookies their last finishing touch. You can use any kind of nut or jam of choice.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semolina
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 16-18 almonds, halved
- 2 tablespoons fruit jam
- Chai tea, for serving
In a bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar. Beat until light and pale yellow in color and set aside.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, semolina, salt, pepper, and baking powder. Add the flour mixture into the sugar-butter mixture, a little at a time until everything is mixed well together to form soft dough.
Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes to form a smooth big ball. (If it’s a little sticky, wrap it in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. After about 30 minutes, take the dough out of the refrigerator and knead again for 2-3 minutes. The warmth of your hands will soften the butter in the dough slightly.)
Now divide the dough into equal parts; make about 30-35 smooth balls. (Because of the butter, the cookies flatten and crack when baked so make sure your dough balls are smooth with no cracks in order to make pretty cookies.)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place the dough balls on the sheet and bake until the bottom of cookies are golden in color, about 20-22 minutes. Remove from the oven and top ½ of the cookies with the almonds and the other ½ with jam. Enjoy warm cookies with chai or store them in airtight containers for several weeks.
Cuisine: Indian Special Designations: Kid-friendly