India has a snacking culture, and out on the streets, you can find all manner of gluten free fried snacks.
Here, the chef of Portland, Oregon’s famed Bollywood Theater restaurant, Troy MacLarty, embellishes gluten free fried snacks with sautéed winter squash in the cold months, fresh fava beans in the spring, zucchini during summer, or peas anytime (they’re the only frozen vegetables he uses). He also uses a mixture of three types of dal (dried split lentils)—chana, urad, and masoor. Follow his lead for more varied flavor or keep it simple. FYI, the lentils need to soak in water for 8 hours.
Gluten-Free Indian Fritters with Tamarind Raita
Don’t have a candy thermometer to test the oil’s temperature when frying these fritters? See if it’s ready by dipping in a wooden spoon handle or a wooden chopstick; if the oil surrounding it produces a steady, but not vigorous, stream of bubbles, it’s hot enough.
- 1 large Yukon gold potato
- 3 cups chana dal, soaked 8 hours or overnight, rinsed, and drained
- 1/2 cup peeled and chopped ginger
- 2 serrano chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup thawed frozen petite green peas
- 1-1/2 tablespoons garam masala spice
- 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- Kosher salt
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 recipe Tamarind Raita (below)
Put the potato in a small saucepan. Fill the pan with water to cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Remove and let cool enough to handle. Peel and cut unto 1/4-inch dice.
In a food processor, process the lentils, ginger, and chiles to a fine paste. Transfer one-third of the mixture to a blender and blend, adding a little water, a tablespoonful at a time, to make a very smooth paste. In a bowl, mix both lentil pastes with the potato, peas, garam masala, cayenne, cilantro, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Beat with a spoon until light and fluffy.
In a large pot, heat 2 inches of oil to 350°F. Carefully drop in tablespoonfuls of the batter and fry until browned and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate, sprinkle with salt, and serve
- 1 cup whole milk yogurt
- 2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced serrano chile
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
In a bowl, combine the ingredients with enough water to make a pourable consistency. Adjust the seasoning, if desired, with sugar and salt.
Photography John Valls