Why Did He Give It For Free?
That was the question that plagued us all (except PD) on that cold misty morning in Munnar.
We were on a field trip to Munnar, a beautiful hill station in Kerala. As to what the 20 odd Computer Engineering students were expecting to learn in the fields of Munnar, is a different question altogether. But that's not the story here.
The original question was targeted at a street vendor who was selling tea and pazham pori (Kela Phodi in Konkani or just plain old banana fritters in good old English) and vada (lentil fritters).
My friend, PD, who does not get a call of nature, until and unless he drinks tea in the morning. And once he drinks the tea, the need for speed is very obvious, if you get my drift.
That morning in Munnar, PD gets down from the bus and buys tea from the street vendor and next thing I see is a dust storm from PD's need for speed.
When PD was 'busy' doing his thing, others get down from the bus and we all have our morning tea/coffee. Luckily, no one else got sucked up in the dust storm. We all pay for our early morning refreshments and wait for PD.
PD comes back, gets another cup of tea and his favorite... pazham pori.
The vendor charges him only for the tea and not for the pazham pori. The vendor even encourages him to some more pieces.
This irks some of my other friends - the ethics behind it all. They start creating a raucous. PD is unaffected by all this, and, encouraged by the vendor, takes another pazham pori and eats it. We all gather around PD. Street vendor and PD are now the focus of attention. The raucous gains strength and volume. The street vendor calls one of the guys who looked like the leader of the raucous, takes him aside and whispers something in his ears. With a sheepish grin, the leader joins the street vendor and encourages PD. The leader tells some of my other friends what the street vendor told him and they too encourage PD.
Whoa, what's happening? Now, the others who are not let in on the whispers are really really curious.
PD calls it quits after sometime just because the street vendor ran out of pazham pori. PD pays only for his tea and not for the 8-10 pazham pori pieces he ate and walks back to the bus, like a hero.
It took a little time for thewhipers to reach one and all.
Here is what happened:
The pazham pori that PD ate, were about a week old, which the street vendor was actually planning to throw away. The street vendor did not think that it was right to charge for something that he was planning to throw anyway.
And that's why he gave it for free.
PD wants the copyright to this story. It's all your's , my friend.
Pazham Pori is a snack served in Kerala's thattukadas(or street side shops). Typically made from ripe Nendra Pazham (plaintain). Long thin pieces of nendra pazham is dipped in a batter made of rice flour and all purpose flour(maida) and deep fried. A similar Konkani preparation is cut the plaintain into small round pieces and dipped in a batter of besan(gram flour) mixed with some spices and deep fried. Both the fritters, taste entirely different.
I have used regular bananas(called the robusta banana in India), just about ripe for this recipe. I realized that this humble street food can be served as a delightful dessert at a Thai restaurant in Bangalore.
- 2 Bananas just about ripe
- Oil for deep frying
- 2 tbsp Rice Flour
- ¼ cup All Purpose Flour or maida
- Salt to taste
- ¼ tsp Turmeric
To serve as a dessert
- 1 tbsp Sesame Seeds
- Honey to drizzle
- Ice Cream your choice
To make banana fritters
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together all ingredients for the batter (Rice flour, All purpose flour or maida, salt, and turmeric) with approximately half a cup of water. Pour in the water a little at a time and mix it all in using a wire whisk, making sure there are no lumps.
- Pour oil in a deep frying pan and heat over medium heat on stove top. There should be enough oil to submerge the banana fritters and there should be enough space(in your pan) for the oil to rise when you add the banana pieces.
- Typically, the whole banana is slit length wise, batter dipped and fried. To make it easy to handle, cut the bananas into half, horizontally. Now, slice each half into three pieces lengthwise. This would give you 6 pieces from each of the banana. You can do this step while you are waiting for the oil to heat up.
- When the oil is sufficiently hot (see Recipe Notes), dip the banana slice in the batter, and deep fry. You can add as many pieces as your deep frying pan will hold Make sure that you can flip the pieces comfortably.
- When one side is a golden brown color (takes about 2-3 minutes), gently flip over to the other side using a slotted spoon and fry the second side too. Do this step for each of the piece being deep fried.
- In about another 2-3 minutes, when the second side has turned golden brown, remove the pieces using the slotted spoon, drain the excess oil and transfer to a plate. You can line the plate with a paper towel to drain the oil further.
- Repeat with rest of the pieces.
To serve as a dessert
- Heat a small pan on medium high heat and dry roast the sesame seeds.
- On a serving plate, place 2 (or more) fritters. Drizzle a little honey on the fritters and sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds.
- Serve with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
To check whether the oil is hot enough to deep fry, put a drop of batter into the oil. If the batter drop sizzles and rises to the top, then the oil is hot enough to deep fry.
You can use any oil you regularly use for cooking.
Make sure the bananas are just ripe.
Planning this dessert for a party? Make the fritters a day in advance and refrigerate. Microwave the fritters in batches for 20 seconds just before you serve.