Pudalankai Varuval (Snake Gourd Crisps)

I am very fond of snake gourd. Though it is a bland vegetable, it tastes wonderful whichever way it is cooked. You will find several snake gourd recipes in this blog – kootu, usili, thoran… It can be used to make a mulakootal too. However, I wanted to try something different and make crisps with it. So, some months ago, I experimented with this recipe – and it turned out really wonderful. I did not know then that this is a traditional recipe. It was much later that I discovered it.
Snake gourd is not much used in North Indian cuisine – though it is very popular in the southern, eastern and (I suspect) western parts of the country. Since I live in the heart of North India, I can only find non-organic snake gourd in the wet markets. I have never seen snake gourds in the organic markets. Some years ago, I decided to grow my own. I had a wonderful crop with each snake gourd almost 6 feet long. But I have not been able to grow it thereafter. I am not sure how many countries use this wonderful vegetable. If you do, please try this recipe – you will not regret it!

Snake Gourd Crisps

1 medium sized snake gourd
2 tbsp chickpea flour (besan, kadalai mavu)
1 tbsp rice flour (I used brown rice flour)
1 tsp red chili powder
A pinch of turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
2 tbsp lemon/lime juice
1/4 tsp carom seeds (ajwain, omam)
Salt to taste (I use Himalayan pink salt most of the time)
Cut the ends of the snake gourd
Then cut it into half from the centre
Cut the halves into rings about 1 cm thick
Remove the seeds and the white membrane from the centre of each ring
Place these rings in a bowl
Add the chickpea flour, rice flour, chili powder, turmeric, lime juice, carom seeds and salt
Mix well so that the spices evenly coat the rings
Cover and set aside for 10 minutes
Meanwhile pre-heat the air fryer to 200oC (390oF) for 15 minutes
Place the rings in the air fryer’s basket making sure that they are evenly laid out
Fry for 10 minutes, flipping once in-between
Remove from the air fryer and set aside to cool
Serve at room temperature with rice and dal/kootan or as an evening tea-time snack

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