Lean to make Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora ~ Deep fried savoury bread slices stuffed with spicy mashed potato and coated with spicy chickpea flour batter
Every night after patting Lil Dumpling to sleep I stand next to the window, looking out at the night sky. Some days I see the full moon, round and bright, shining down on us with little twinkling starts against deep blue background! Some other days the same moon peeks out of dark grey clouds heavy with unshed rain. Most days I watch little drops of rain falling gently from the sky and kissing the earth, pitter pattering in a small puddle formed by one missing brick from the pathways right under the street light. On some other days, the rain is accompanied by gushing wind, howling in the dark night like a lonely wolf parted from its family and looking desperately for them. And then there are nights when torrential rain falls angrily on ground, tearing the sky like Monsoon rains in my home land!
Last night I stood there, next to our bedroom window, looking out at the rain drops wrestling with wind and hitting the glass window as a demanding toddler seeking attention from his/her parents. “Look at me” it said, just like Lil Dumpling who tries to get our attention when we are getting ready to go to work in the morning, trying really hard not to be late for the early morning meeting. “Look at me. Look at me”, the torrential rain said, just like Lil Dumpling now wearing his pants on his head and socks covering his palms and dimples on his cheek! How can one miss looking at such endearing sight?! The torrential rain had all my attention, just like how Lil Dumpling gets almost all the time, as it continued to pour down, drenching the naked trees and over grown grass in our garden. The street lights shining bright on the rain drops created the illusion of double rainbows and that’s when I saw something right under the street light, floating in a puddle… A boat… Bright red boat!
Stuffed Break Pakoda/Pakora ~ With spicy potato stuffing and crispy gram flour coating
It was that red boat made of cheap plastic, something that is sold in pound shops with two other boats in yellow and blue. It was me who bought them for Lil Dumpling who loved to race them in bathtub during his bubble bath. It made me wonder how it reached our driveway from bathroom, but one look at that read boat and it took me down the memory lane… Memories of Monsoon rains and the special smell of earth when it rains for the very first time… Memories of jumping in puddles and drenching from head to toes… Memories of dancing in the rain and racing the paper boats…
The paper boat race was perhaps one of the most favourite games we played in Monsoon days when heaven opens its door to the heated earth to bring down the mercury level and giving it a new lease of life! After jumping in all muddy puddles to our heart’s content and splashing water on innocent by-passers, we would wait patiently for the time to stop raining. Due to heavy Monsoon rains, every house in a street had deep and narrow gutter outside the compound wall or fence for the excess rain water to flow instead of flooding the footpath and then the main roads. The water in the gutter would rise after heavy rains and red muddy water would flow quickly, winding around the corner houses and then connect to the town’s canals and backwaters.
Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora ~ Perfect treats with a piping hot cuppa of coffee or tea
Just when there was a sign of rain stopping to gentle drizzle, we would tear the pages from our ‘rough notes’ which was basically a thick handmade notebook made using leftover blank papers from previous year’s note books and were mainly used for practicing maths problems or writing quick notes in class rooms. The torn paper sheet would be quickly folded in the middle and then into two triangles to make the sails of our paper boats. Ready with our boats that had some mathematics formulas/equations or notes of important dates from history lessons written all over them, we would rush to the water gutter to race our paper boats.
Soon the boats were dropped in fast flowing muddy water and the paper boat race was on! We ran along the muddy water in gutter that carried our paper boats shouting ‘faster and faster’ and laughing loudly when the competitor’s boats fell behind in the paper boat race. While some boats got stuck in debris of fallen leaves or stems of plants or trees, other boats sunk to the bottom of the gutter when they wound around the corner houses. After running along the boats for few meters, there would be only few boats left out of many when the race had began. And after a minute of two the competition would reach the highest point when the last two boats were left floating, half wet and almost ready to sink to the bottom of the muddy water!
But soon there was just one dainty paper boat left, last one and the winning boat, floating and trying very hard not to sink with the strong current of water now almost at the point of merging with the narrow canal… At that juncture it was not just the owner of that paper boat who shrieked in delight at watching his/her boat still floating. Those who had lost their boats in the race also joined the winner and now everyone was backing the winning boat to reach the canal without sinking! The ecstatic screams and the loud cheer from us to see the last paper boat smoothly joining the canal water would wake half of the neighbourhood! We would sit there, perked on a concrete seat which was also the bridge over the narrow canal and watch till the tiny paper boat floated out of sight! Isn’t childhood is the best time in most of our life when our competitive spirit or egos didn’t crack the foundation of friendship or stop us from rejoicing from friend’s win!
Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora ~ Sinful Indulgence!
When talking about childhood memories of Monsoon rains and paper boat race, one cannot stay very far from talking about food! The divine taste of delicious food that my Amma cooked on those monsoon days are something I can’t express in few words! My mother is an instinctive cook as she would open her pantry and pick up few ingredients and then create magic with in an hour! Yes, give her few ingredients and an hour and at least 2-3 different flavoured food will be sitting prettily on dining table! This is one skill I really wish I inherited through genes. But even after cooking for 7+ years, I can’t say that I have mastered even quarter of her talent in cooking ‘oh-so-delicious’ meals after meals! One day… One day I hope to master her express cooking style without compromising taste, flavour and nutrition! Till then I will continue to follow her recipes and adapt to suit our taste…
One such express evening snack she cooked for us was Bread Pakoda/Pakora. Whoever came out with this idea of turning day old stale bread slices, which were only served one was unwell, needs to be given a culinary award! Seriously, the boring bread pieces and coated in spicy chickpea flour batter and then deep fried to golden perfection! Crisp, spicy and absolutely delicious treats to go with your evening cuppa in the colder winter days or rainy days. My Amma always cooked little extra Potato Masala/Bhaji (spiced potato curry) whenever she made Masala Dosas for breakfast as she would use the leftover Potato Masala as stuffing for Bread Pakoda. Ingenious, ehh? I went one step ahead when I made these delicious Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakoras for my guests for Diwali party by spreading sweet Date and Tamarind Chutney on one slice and spicy Coriander and Mint Chutney on the other slice of bread before stuffing them with spicy mashed potato and deep frying. We are stuffing a lot… Err.. But in my defense I want to say it tastes really, really good! No, make that a great as my guests just couldn’t stop eating and praising it! :) Yes, modesty is my second name ;)
Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora ~ Fresh from the deep fryer
So here is the recipe for one of the best snack recipes that you can indulge in whenever cravings for deep fried goodies strikes! To save some time as I was making HUGE batch of deep fried Stuffed Bread Pakodas and Aloo Bondas, I have used store bought chutneys. You can make these sweet Date and Tamarind Chutney and spicy Coriander and Mint Chutneys at home or use any other chutney or dips of your choice or can simply leave them out. But don’t leave out the spicy mashed potato filling as it makes this Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora more interesting than just dipping the bread slices in spicy chickpeas batter and deep frying. The sweet and spicy chutneys compliments the goodness of mildly spiced mashed potato filling and the gram flour coating gives it a nice crunch. Served on its own or with assortment of chutneys, this Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora makes a wonderful evening snacks with piping hot cuppa or can also be served as a delightful finger food at large gathering.
Ingredients for the Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora
Spicy gram flour/chickpea flour batter for the Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora
Spicy mashed potato filling for the Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora
Assorted chutneys are spread on each slices of bread before applying the spicy mashed potato filling
Spicy mashed potato spread for the Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora
Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora ~ Before coated with spicy gram flour batter
Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora ~ Before deep frying
Stuffed Bread Pakoda (Deep fried savoury bread slices stuffed with spicy mashed potato and coated with spicy chickpea flour batter)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 20-30 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Medium
Makes: 12 Pakoda
Shelf Life: Best served fresh but can be refrigerated for up to 2 days
Serving Suggestion: As evening snack or as a starter/finger food/appetiser
6 large slices of Bread (I prefer using white milk bread or whole wheat bread for this but you can use any bread of your choice)
¼ cup Coriander and Mint Chutney
¼ cup Date and Tamarind Chutney
For Spicy Potato Stuffing:
2 medium Potato, cooked, peeled and mashed (Approx 1¼-1½ cups)
2-3 Green Chillies, finely chopped (Adjust as per taste)
½ inch Ginger, peeled and finely chopped or grated
¼ tsp Haldi/Turmeric Powder
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
Salt to taste
For Chickpea/Gram Flour Batter:
1½ cups Besan/Chickpea Flour/Gram Flour
¼ cup Rice Flour
1-1½ tsp Red Chilli Powder (Adjust as per taste)
½ tsp Ajwain/Carom Seeds, lightly crushed (Optional, replace it with Jeera/Cumin seeds)
A spring of Curry Leaves, finely chopped
Generous pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
¾ tsp or Salt to taste
Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora ~ After deep frying to golden perfection
Prepare the Spicy Potato Stuffing:
- Mix all the ingredients listed under spicy potato stuffing. Adjust the salt as per taste and keep it in side until needed.
- If desired, you can also add 1-2 tbsp of finely chopped coriander leaves or little finely chopped curry leaves to the potato stuffing.
- Sift gram flour to remove the lumps and add rice flour to it. Mix them well.
- Add rest of the ingredients listed under gram flour batter and combine them well.
- Mix in about 2 cups of water and whisk them to form a smooth, lump free batter. The batter should be bit thick but should flow easily from the whisk. Adjust the water and seasoning and keep it aside until needed.
Preparation and deep frying:
- Take two slices of bread. You can trim the edges if desired. I didn’t as I am not much bothered by the crust.
- Spread about ½-¾ tablespoon of coriander and mint chutney on one slice and sweet tamarind and date chutney on the other bread slice.
- Next spread about 1–1½ tbsp of spicy potato stuffing on one slice of the bread and cover it with the other slice.
- With a help of sharp knife, cut the sandwich diagonally into 2-4 triangles depending on the size of the bread slices. I used a large bread slices and hence got 4 pieces.
- Heat oil in a deep frying pan on medium flame. Once the oil is hot enough (test by dropping little gram flour batter in to the hot oil and if it sizzles and comes to the surface, the oil is ready for the deep frying. It will sink to the bottom of the pan if the oil is not hot enough), dip the stuffed bread sandwich in a gram flour batter. Make sure that all the sides are evenly coated with the batter and gently drop it to the hot oil.
- Deep fry the pakoads in batches, depending on the size of the kadai/pan used for deep frying. Mine could accommodate 3 at a time. Fry them till they turn golden brown and crisp. Each batch will take approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the pakodas from the pan with a help of slotted spoon and place them in a plate/bowl lined with kitchen towel. Repeat and deep fry rest of the Bread Pakoda/Pakoras.
- Serve this delicious, hot and crisp Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora hot with any chutney or dipping sauce of your choice. I personally like to serve it with tomato ketchup or green chutney or sweet tamarind and date chutney. It tastes good on its own too!
Stuffed Bread Pakoda/Pakora ~ Spicy and Crispy
- I have used store bought spicy coriander-mint chutney and sweet date-tamarind chutney. You can make it fresh at home by following the recipe here or you can replace them with any chutney or sauce of your choice as a spread.
- Although it tastes best when served fresh, you can refrigerate for 2 days in air tight container. When needed, place them in a baking tray and pop them in an oven heated at 180 deg C for 10-12 minutes, turning once after 6 minutes to crisp both sides.