“Our team stayed in a little truck stop up there once and in the restaurant there, you could have your food prepared two ways: fried or deep-fried.” ~ Fisher DeBerry, former football player and coach of the United States Air Force Academy football team (1938 – )

Come game day, I’m going to want something spicy that goes well with beer. Not that I don’t want that every day, but you know some days are more “gotta have” than others and this is one of them.

When we go out to eat, food from India is right at the top of the list. Besides the fantastic aroma and tongue tingling flavors, Indian restaurants are also very accommodating to vegetarians, making them perfect for a group with a mix of diet preferences. Pakoras, deep fried savory fritters, are among our favorite dishes.

BUT these aren’t just any fritter!

Instead of being made with wheat flour, pakoras are made with a flour of ground chickpeas. Some call it besan, but Bob’s Red Mill calls it garbanzo bean flour, and I call it chickpea flour. Either way, it makes this dish perfect for those who stick to a gluten-free diet – and provides a generous serving of protein for everyone.

While traditionally prepared pakoras are made with the addition of potatoes and onions, we like to include some other veggies to give them a little more color, thus the broccoli in the version show in the photo below. Feel free to use whichever vegetables you prefer – chopped cauliflower and zucchini are also delicious!

By the way, if this day is a “must have deep fried” for you, you can prepare as directed but fry in hot oil that has been heated to 350° F in a wok or deep fryer for about 8 minutes, turning halfway.

Baked Party Pakoras

Serves 4-6 for appetizers
Time: 20 minutes

1 cup chickpea flour (a.k.a. garbanzo bean flour or besan)
2 teaspoons curry powder (your favorite)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¾ cup water
½ cup very thinly sliced red onion
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
1 cup finely chopped raw vegetables

Barbecue sauce for dipping

If you are baking, preheat oven to 450° F. Spray or wipe a generous coating of olive oil on two baking sheets.

In a medium bowl, mix the chickpea flour, curry powder, and baking powder together. Gradually whisk in the water to make a somewhat thick batter. Stir in the onion, chilies, and vegetables to coat thoroughly.

Using rounded tablespoons, place mounds of the vegetable mixture onto the baking sheets leaving about an inch between. Place in hot oven and bake for 10 minutes, turning (optional) halfway through if you want them to be brown on both sides.

Serve while very hot (they aren’t very good cold) with a spicy barbecue sauce such as the Jazzed Up Mosaic Barbecue Sauce from page 116 in the Mosaic Meals cookbook.

These pakoras are spicy, so they go great with an icy cold amber ale or a glass of iced tea.