Spicy ridge-gourd fritters

There are many kinds of gourds, ridge-gourd, snake-gourd, bitter-gourd. Some are tasteless like cucumber, some are bitter, some of their skins are smooth, while some look ugly and bumpy. They have a few things in common.
Nearly all gourds are low in calories, like cucumbers. They are an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, and B3, C, magnesium, folate, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and has high dietary fiber; rich in iron, they contain twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of a banana.

We can find many of these gourds in Asian and Indian stores. For this recipe, my cousin Sabithakka used ridge-gourd. She is one awesome cook! She whipped up a  batch of these fritters in no time, when we were at her home in India. They were just yummy!

What you need: Makes about 20 medium sized fritters
1 medium ridge gourd, partially peeled, washed, seeded and the flesh diced.
1 medium onion chopped into thin slices
¼ cup cilantro chopped
2 sticks curry leaves, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup chickpea flour
¼ cup rice flour
1tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp hing
Salt to taste
1tsp jeera(cumin)
2 cups of oil to deep fry

Use a frying pan; pour in the oil to fry. Turn on the heat to medium. Mix the flours, chili powder, salt, jeera, gourd, onion, cilantro and curry leaves.  Take 2 tsp of hot oil from the heating pan, and pour it on the dry mixture. Mix it in. Now sprinkle a little water at a time, and blend it into a hard dough consistency. If you like soft pakodas, add more water, If you like them crispy, use very little water.

Scoop a spoonful and gently ease it into the hot oil, on medium-high heat. Turn it over to cook evenly to a golden brown. Put it on to a colander or plate of tissue, so it drains out the excess oil.

The fritters remain crunchy for about 2 hours. The harder the dough, the crisper will they be, and stay that way longer. Try it with a chutney (mint or cilantro) or regular tomato ketchup.  Enjoy!