I had another of my pre-Christmas Tea party in my pretty little garden this evening! I am celebrating Christmas for my grandson who is thousands of miles away in Mexico. Doing these quaint things makes me feel closer to him. I made Moong Dal pakode, Lentil Fritters or Ram Ladoo, garnished with shredded radish, carrot and tangy chutney along with masala chai served in my Darjeeling china mug with a dainty lid. I like visiting Delhi mainly for two things; shopping and the street food. Delhi is a foodie’s Mecca! The variety and the taste is mindboggling and the flavours of the chaat burst like a million stars in the mouth which is akin to a string of foodgasms!
A few years ago when I was visiting my sister in Delhi, my niece who was my accomplice in crime said she was going to take me to a new chaat corner where we could have Ram ladoo.Now I am a very spice lover and I was wondering why she was taking me to a sweet vendor. But I kept my doubts quiet and reached out for the plate she handed to me. To my utter delight, I saw the grated radish topping first and then the lentil fritters below doused in chatpati (spicy) mint-coriander and sweet tamarind chutney. One tiny blob of fried goodness cocooned in a sea of chutneys and crowned with my favourite radish in my mouth and I was a fan for life.
Ram Ladoo…Ram jaane why it got this name! It is a very popular winter snack. These savory ladoos are not spicy but the tangy flavored chutneys or dip with the zesty radish makes it a finger licking treat. The Ram ladoos I ate were huge but I have made them smaller as it is yummier to plop one whole one into the mouth.
Moong Dal pakode, Lentil Fritters or Ram Ladoo Recipe
1 cup Yellow Moong Dal
1/4 cup Chana dal or Bengal Gram lentils
2 teaspoon Roasted cumin seeds
1 tablespoon Ginger paste
1 tablespoon Chopped coriander leaves
Pinch of Hing/asafetida
1/2 teaspoon Red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda or Eno
Salt to taste
Oil for Frying
1 radish or Mooli, grated
1/2 cup Green Chutney
1/2 cup sweet Tamarind Chutney
A pinch of Chaat Masala
1 tablespoon Chopped cilantro leaves – to garnish
Lemon- squeeze before serving
Soak the moong and chana dal separately for 3-4 hours. Drain water from the dals, wash and grind in a mixer. Grind the dals separately.The moong dal paste should be very fine and pasty, not grainy. But the chana dal paste should be grainy.
Mix both the dl pastes in a large bowl and add salt, chilli powder, hing, ginger, green chilli, coriander. Mix well.It is better to use your hand rather than a ladle. Add baking soda and beat the batter well until it is light and fluffy. The fluffier batter the softer will be the fried ladoos.The batter should not be runny. It should be thick enough to pour into the hot oil.
Heat oil for frying in a kadhai or wok. Check if the oil is super hot by dropping a tiny speck of batter into the hot oil. If it instantly rises to the surface then go ahead and fry the pakode.
Fry until golden brown, drain them on a paper towel and set it aside.
To serve CHAAT
Wash and peel the radish and grate.
Serve the ladoos in a flat bowl. Generously spread the green and tamarind chutney. Garnish liberally with the grated radish and coriander. Sprinkle some chaat masala and lime juice and serve.
I assure you that you cannot stop at one of these delectable Moong Dal pakode, Lentil Fritters or Ram Ladoo!