Karam saag pakora is a delicate and lightly battered kale fritter. If you’ve found yourself saying no to kale chips in the past, treat yourself to paradise and say YES & YES to my crispy take.
Ice capped mountains, lush valleys, rosy cheeked children in their shikaras(water boats), Kashmir valley is long known for its ethereal beauty. Desert hot & dry Delhi summers had everyone make a beeline for the hills, a remnant of british times. A leave travel concession provided by the government made it budget friendly to travel across the country.
Dad inherited his love for travel from his dad. Every summer, we visited a new state. Kashmir had beckoned for a long time, but wedded-to-work dad couldn’t tear himself away from his beloved work. Finally when his work called him to Kashmir, he couldn’t say no to us anymore. We piled into the train and landed in the valley of Srinagar.
Kashmir was so breathtaking that sibling bickering came to a complete halt. Faces pressed against the car window, we were treated to vistas of paradise with roses spilling lazily out of home gardens, and children selling apricots. Enthralled, we observed chinar trees, the dal lake, smiling cherubic children as we sped by to the guesthouse.
Soon night dawned and hunger pangs grew. This vegetarian family got a bit worried about the next meal. Even a piece of bread would have sufficed. Dad’s colleague had other plans & smiled at us. She invited us home to a kashmiri dinner. We gratefully accepted. Our eyes grew wider and wider as we approached the lavish feast she laid out on the dining table. Here’s where I meet sautéed kale in india long before the kale revolution. Kashmir’s temperate climate is perfect for kale. Given how my backyard is just spilling over with kale, I decided to make my version inspired by my Kashmiri experience. I used anardana to add mild tartness to this recipe. try to use the most tender leaves for best flavour.
8 baby kale leaves, washed and dried
½ cup chickpea flour
½ cup water
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp pomegranate seed powder
Salt to taste
1 cup grapeseed oil
In pan, heat oil. Meanwhile, whisk everything to a smooth batter. Coat a kale leaf completely by dipping in batter & slowly place in hot oil. Turn over when golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon & rest on paper towels. Serve hot with mint thuvaiyal.