Cooking with Mo
Roshni Sanghvi and Mom Puja’s Masala-dusted Paneer Pakodas


My mom is an inventive cook. She can identify ingredients in a dish in a few bites and tweak them to make them tastier for our family’s palates. One of the most popular snacks served during my childhood birthday parties was masala-dusted popcorn. This was no ordinary masala powder; she combined finely ground citric acid crystals (Sindhis also call it tatri) with chilli powder, turmeric powder and some other spices to impart a bright lime-y tartness to a familiar snack. This dish became so popular among my school and college friends, that I would have to haul vast quantities of it in extra-large garbage bags, knotted on the top, to other friends’ parties. When you walk into a party with massive trash bags slung over your shoulder, you make quite the entrance.   

Her other hot hit was a tempura-style, mirch-masala-dredged paneer pakoda, with wide and varied influences. It is crunchy, tangy, spicy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and aromatic all over. When she’d bring out a plateful from the kitchen, she would insist we eat it immediately to get the full sensorial experience of each bite. We needed no encouragement, sometimes at the expense of our slightly-seared tongues. 

Picture credit: enthucutlet


**Adult supervision required** 


250 gms paneer  

Oil for frying  


For the batter  

1 cup plain flour  

2 tbsp fine rice flour  

1 small onion  

7-8 garlic pods   

1 inch of peeled ginger  

1 green chilli  

Salt to taste  



For the masala coating 

2 tbsp of Kashmiri chilli powder  

3 tbsp of amchur powder  

1 tsp of ajwain powder   

A pinch of black salt 



  1.  Cut the paneer in sticks, about ½ an inch by 1.5 inches. 
  2. Mix the ingredients of the masala coating and spread it on a plate. 
  3. Sieve the plain and rice flour into a bowl and add water to make a paste that’s thin enough to coat the paneer.  
  4. Grind the onion, garlic, ginger, and green chillis into a fine paste. Add this paste to the batter and mix well.  
  5. Dip the paneer pieces in the batter and fry in hot oil until crisp and lightly golden. 
  6. Quickly transfer the paneer pieces onto the plate containing the powdered masalas and roll them until they are coated with spices. 
  7. Serve hot and enjoy! 


About enthucutlet

enthucutlet is a bimonthly food magazine that tells unusual stories about food in India (and sometimes beyond), and has been conceptualized by Hunger Inc. Hospitality which is responsible for The Bombay Canteen, O Pedro and Bombay Sweet Shop.

enthucutlet aspires to tell fun, unusual, heart-warming, and surprising stories in the vast realm of food in India. Organized into seasons like your favourite shows, each edition of enthucutlet delves into an idea that is thought provoking and is at the centre of all the features in it. These are contributed by a diverse set of writers ranging from economists, to neuroscientists, to food experts and everyone in between.



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