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Pakodas or fried lentil balls in gravy is a very authentic dish made in the North Indian households but , surprisingly , not seen on the menus of Indian restaurants. Generally it is eaten with chapatis , but here I have tried it with a fragrant vegetable pulao and it worked beautifully well. The making of pakodas is the most tricky part of this dish and can be accomplished only after a few trials and that could be the reason why this dish is not commonly available.

The dal soaked for a couple of hours has to be made into a paste with no water and beaten well till light and fluffy. I always use the kitchen aid stand mixer but a hand beater would work fine as well. Just before putting spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil add a few drops of water to small quantities of the batter. This will ensure that the batter does not become runny and the pakodas will be very light and melt in the mouth .



  • 1 cup yellow gram dal
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tbsp cashews
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • Coriander leaves for garnish


Grind the dal to a paste and beat it well , till it doubles in volume and the colour changes to an off white shade. Drop dollops of batter in hot oil and fry them on a medium flame .. For the gravy, add the oil to a deep pan and heat it. Add the onions, tomatoes, ginger and garlic paste and fry for a few minutes . Add the cashews and fry till the onions and tomatoes soften. Take off the fire and allow it to cool before grinding to a paste. Add the onion tomato paste back to the pan and add the dry spices. Fry till the oil separates and add 2 cups of water and bring the gravy to a boil. A few minutes before serving boil the pakodas in the gravy. The gravy should be thin as the pakodas will absorb a lot of the liquid and it will thicken automatically. Garnish with chopped coriander.



  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 10-12 French beans diced
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1/2 cup small cauliflower florets
  • 2 large onions finely sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 black cardamoms
  • 4 cups of water


In a deep pan heat the oil and add cumin seeds. Then add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cardamoms. Allow the spices to release their aroma and then add the vegetables . Fry them for a few minutes and add the rice and water along with the salt. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pan. Cook on slow flame till the rice is cooked. Deep fry the sliced onions in hot oil , till they turn crisp and dark brown in colour. Garnish the pulao with the fried onions and serve with the hot curry .

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