Itole (‘aye-tolay’) are a great bar snack, although we had them at tea time.
This was, simply speaking, vamped up frugal living. The batter was what was left over from making ‘pole’ (‘pol-ay’ are rice pancakes, similar to dosas). Shrimps and some onions, chillies etc. were thrown in to disguise the taste and, voilà, we had itole.
We were taught table manners in the form of a story. I can’t remember the exact plot but the moral of it was that you should eat without keeping track of how many pole or itole you or anyone else at the table ate. An early lesson in letting your stomach or your body guide your appetite. Wise words that we only appreciated well into adulthood.
I buy the dosa batter ready made rather than make it myself. It’s close enough to the original pole batter although not 100% authentic. And until I have the time and the patience to make the batter myself, I can live with the store bought version.
1 cup dosa or pole batter
2 teaspoons besan (gramflour)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small green chilli, finely chopped
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup small shrimps
a pinch of turmeric
a pinch of red chilli powder
salt to taste
oil to fry
1. Marinate the shrimps for about 20-30 minutes in the turmeric, chilli powder and salt.
2. In a shallow pan, heat a little oil and saute the shrimps till almost cooked. Keep aside and cool.
3. Mix together the dosa batter and the besan. Stir well to ensure that there are no lumps. Add the onion, chopped chilli, coriander leaves, salt and the shrimps.
4. Heat oil in a pan and drop the batter mix by the spoonful. Fry well, flipping them over once. The itole are done when both sides are golden brown.
5. Serve hot.
1. The itole should be crisp on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside.
2. For a vegan version, omit the shrimps.