Tempura Fries

In thinking about the barbecue I’ve had to think about dishes to make for everyone and which of my reliable standbys to break out. I’m known for being a good cook but I think that’s a bit erroneous; I’ve just lucked out on a few recipes that people have responded favorably to. I would like to be a better cook and not just fall back on variations of vegetable stir fry with brown rice for dinner every night. So I am going to be a bit more experimental going forward and with this in mind I saw a recipe online yesterday and thought ‘I can do that!’ The woman over at No. 1 Mouse Place (yes, great name) posted a recipe for Pakoras which are a fried snack traditional in South Asian countries. There seem to be a slew of variations using different vegetables or even chicken with spices of the cooks’ choice dredged with gram (or chickpea) flour. I chose potato and marjoram as my kitchen currently has an overabundance of marjoram. The end result reminded me of Japanese tempura in the wonderful crispiness the chickpea flour gave the coating and as I think I’m breaking with traditional pakora methods I’m renaming this recipe, for my purposes, Tempura Fries.

Tempura Fries

Ingredients

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into small sticks

1/2 medium red onion, chopped and sliced thinly (think of them as laying easily against the potato sticks)

2 small green chilies, sliced thinly

5 stalks of fresh marjoram, de-stemmed and minced

½ cup of chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan)

salt & pepper to taste

¼ cup water

oil for frying

Basically, put in whatever seasoning you have on hand or are in the mood for…it’s probably all good.

Preparation

Set up a frying pan with oil and a plate with paper napkins. Put the pan on a low heat.

Combine the potatoes, chilies, and herbs in a bowl. Slowly incorporate the flour, salt and pepper, and any other spices, using your hands to coat the potatoes evenly. Add in the water, little by little, until the flour has turned into a paste and everything is nice and sticky.

Turn up the heat on the pan until the oil starts to sizzle when you flick a little water on it, about medium high. This is where I may deviate from more traditional methods but it worked best for me. Place a potato stick into the pan one at a time with a little room between each one. I found that using chopsticks gave me the most control over getting the potatoes where I wanted them and then later turning them. Cook for a few minutes until the potatoes start to brown and then flip them over. Cook a few more mintues and remove potatoes to papered plate. Taste to see if your seasonings are right and feel free to add more salt or pepper if you think they need it.

Plate, and serve with whatever dipping sauce compliments the seasonigs you added. Not surprisingly these are best eaten right away.

Serves four people (or two very hungry people.)

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