Oh, the happy memories I have of Mangodi! Back in the days when I was a young journalist, work mates and I would often jet off (ok rickshaw off to be precise) on our lunch break to eat hot-off-the-fire, freshly fried Mangodis on a street corner in Delhi’s teeming Lajpat Nagar Market! Served with tangy Mint-Coriander Chutney and so cheap, it was easy to make a meal of them!
Mangodis are the perfect snack for anytime but they taste especially good on a cold or rainy day and when accompanied with a steaming cup of Adrak Ki Chai. They are uncomplicated to make but do need a little bit of pre-planning as they are made with Moong Daal (a nutritional powerhouse) that needs to be soaked overnight. Factor this into your Mangodi eating plans.
As you are feasting on your Mangodis, try not to feel too guilty about them being deep fried. Instead focus on the fact that your Mangodis are made with very healthy Moong Daal, garlic and ginger and fresh herbs like coriander. Happy eating!
- 1 and a 1/2 cup split Moong Daal, skin still on (this is what helps the Mangodis crisp up!)
- 8-10 cloves of garlic
- 3-inch piece of ginger
- 2 green chillies (or less if you want less heat)
- Pinch of Asafetida
- Salt to taste
- Optional: 1/2 to 1 tsp of red chilli powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp of fennel seeds
- 1/2 cup green coriander leaves (finely chopped, fresh )
- 1 tbsp Chaat Masala
Put the Moong Daal (this is a picture of whole Moong Daal with skin on. In our recipe, we are using this same daal, just split with skin left on. You can buy it this way at any good Indian store.) in a bowl or sieve and wash under running water until the water runs clear.
Put the washed Moong Daal into a large deep bowl and add enough warm water to cover the Moong fully. Leave overnight to soak. The Moong Daal will have soaked up water and softened and expanded by the next morning. The next morning, drain as much of the water away as you can.
Now use a food processor to grind together the Moong Daal you soaked overnight, along with the garlic, ginger, green chilies, asafoetida, salt to taste, red chili powder and coriander powder. Do not add any water at first. The aim is to get the batter as thick as we can. The trick to doing this (or let’s just say my trick to doing this) is to add no water at first and run the food processor for 5 seconds. This will give you an idea of whether you need to add water. If you do, add it very little at a time and only as much as necessary to get a very thick, medium fine-coarse batter. All is not lost if you have added too much water and your batter is runny! Simply add some Bengal gram flour/Besan to thicken it. This is not ideal but helps save the day.
Once your batter is ready, set up enough of the vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil to heat for deep frying. I like to use a wok and do this on medium heat. Too hot and the oil will burn the Mangodis and not hot enough means you will end up with Mangodis in which the inside is still raw both disaster scenarios! I am just kidding, but yes, less than perfect.
To the ground Moong Daal paste, add the fennel seeds and the finely chopped, fresh green coriander leaves. Mix thoroughly with a spoon or clean hands. The vendors I observed carefully in Lajpat Nagar Market in Delhi, used their hands and ‘whisk’ the batter to fill it up with air so that their Mangodis are light and fluffy. I daresay the same can be done with a wooden spoon :-) Your batter is now ready! Hopefully, the oil is hot too, and you are ready to fry the Mangodis.
To test if the oil is ready, take a small amount of the Mangodi batter and drop it into the hot oil. If it races up to the surface and turns dark brown, the oil is too hot. If it floats up to the surface slowly and does not burn, the oil is just right.
When your oil is ready and the right temperature, use a teaspoon to scoop up and drop small balls of the batter into the hot oil. Do this repeatedly until you have a fair few Mongodis frying in the oil. Do not overcrowd the oil so that the Mangodis are touching as they will stick together if you do this.
Use a slotted spoon to very gently turn the Mangodis occasionally so that they brown evenly. They are done when they start to turn a deep golden brown.
When ready, remove the Mangodis from the oil with the slotted spoon and put on a kitchen towel for the excess oil drain off. Sprinkle VERY lightly with Chaat Masala and serve with a bowl of Mint-Coriander Chutney and Tamarind Chutney and a cup of steaming Adrak Ki Chai!