Recently, for a cooking group that I am part of – called Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge – I recreated a dish that my mother would make often as I was growing up – Chawal Ke Pakode or fritters using leftover rice. She would make these fritters whenever there was extra cooked rice left over, and they would get gobbled up in minutes. In fact, apart from the rice, she would add any leftover dry curry, upma or vermicelli too. 🙂 Best way to use up leftovers, I say.
For the Challenge, I was paired up with another food blogger, who writes at Shobha’s Food Mazaa, who assigned me two ingredients – mixed vegetables and flour. I had to use these ingredients to create something fried, which was the group’s theme for this month. I decided to make this dish I have grown up eating.
Following in my mother’s footsteps, I made the chawal ke pakode with leftover cooked rice, vegetable upma, grated cheese, cauliflower and onion curry. Unlike Amma, though, I added in some taste-makers – amchoor, sugar and garam masala. They made for a beautiful snack on a rainy day and, as always, got eaten within minutes of the making.
Here is how I made the fritters.
Ingredients (makes about 15 pieces):
- About 3/4 cup cooked rice
- About 1/2 cup vegetable rava upma
- About 1/2 cup cauliflower and onion curry (dry)
- 1 small onion, chopped finely
- 1 small carrot, peeled and finely grated
- 1 cube of processed cheese, finely grated
- 3 tablespoons besan (gram flour)
- Salt, as per taste
- Red chilli powder, as per taste
- 3-4 tablespoons sugar, or as per taste
- 1-1/2 tablespoon garam masala, or as per taste
- About 10 stalks of fresh coriander leaves, chopped finely
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 tablespoons amchoor powder, or to taste
- 2 pinches of asafoetida powder (hing)
- Oil, for deep frying
- Take the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan, and set it to heat on a high flame.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the oil. Mix well, ensuring that all the ingredients are well combined together. You should get a mixture that you can easily shape into balls, without everything crumbling apart. There is, usually, no need to add water.
- Make lemon-sized balls out of the mixture, and keep them ready.
- When the oil is nice and hot, reduce the flame to medium. Deep fry the balls in the hot oil, a couple at a time, turning sides, till they are well browned on all sides.
- Serve piping hot, with chutney of your choice, tomato sauce and/or kasundi.
- Personally, I think the sugar adds a nice taste to the chawal ke pakode. Feel free to reduce the quantity of sugar or skip it altogether, if it doesn’t sound like a great addition to you.
- Basically, any dry leftovers from your kitchen can go into the making of these fritters. I made another batch of these using leftover cooked rice, potato curry, carrot salad, and lemon rice. Those tasted yummylicious, too.
- Increase or decrease the quantity of gram flour that you use, depending upon the consistency of your fritter batter. Add just enough to make a mixture that easily shapes into balls, without coming apart in your hands.
- You could add any other veggies from your refrigerator to these fritters too.
- My mother would pick out the chillies from the leftover upma before making these fritters, and so did I too. Leave them in, if you are okay with them.
- Amma would add just salt, red chilli powder and a hint of garam masala, but I went ahead and added some amchoor and sugar too. Take your pick, as far as the spices are concerned. Chana masala or pavbhaji masala instead of garam masala would be a nice touch too, I think.
- I used Amul processed cheese.
Did you like this idea of using up leftovers from your kitchen? How do you make use of leftover rice and curries? Tell me; I’m all ears!