Kara boondi are crisp little pearls of spiced chickpea batter, enjoyed as a snack; I also use them as a garnish in our restaurant. They are tasty enough on their own, but when you mix them with the chaat they become deliciously reminiscent of the snacks on the beach in Sri Lanka.
Some people want perfectly shaped balls of kara boondi, which takes a bit more practice. I prefer them all the size of puffed rice.
For the kara boondi, mix the chickpea flour, rice flour, 1 teaspoon of the chilli powder and a pinch of salt together in a bowl. Mix in a little water to make a thick paste. Add more water, little by little, to form a mixture the consistency of a thick pancake batter. Add the rice bran oil and mix well.
In a large heavy-based saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over medium–high heat to 180°C (350°F). To test, carefully place a little bit of the batter into the oil; it should immediately come to the top of the oil and sizzle.
To cook the batter, place a pasta strainer, or a steamer tray with holes, over the top of the saucepan. Pour a ladleful of the batter into the strainer and quickly push the batter through the holes so it flows into the hot oil. This will give you lots of crispy pearls of kara boondi. Cook each batch for 20–30 seconds, until golden and crisp, then drain on paper towel and set aside to cool completely.
Once all the batter has been cooked, fry the peanuts, cashews and curry leaves in the same oil until crisp, then remove from the oil, drain and leave to cool completely.
Place the kara boondi in a bowl. Add the fried peanuts, cashews and curry leaves. Sprinkle with the remaining
The kara boondi can be enjoyed as is, and will keep in an airtight container in the pantry for up to 2 days.
If using the chaat, place the onion in a bowl, along with the tomato, cucumber, chilli, coriander and peanuts. Sprinkle with the chaat masala and mix together.
Add the kara boondi and tamarind chutney and mix well. Add the lemon juice and mix thoroughly.
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