In any Guyanese home, whether there is a religious gathering, birthday party, or just friends hanging out, you’re bound to find Pholourie being served as an appetizer. Pholourie is a fritter made from a split pea batter that has been seasoned with different spices and hot pepper. Dollops of the thick batter is dropped into hot oil, and shallow-fried until golden brown. You can also find these in any Guyanese bakery. They are usually sold for something like 10 for $1.50 these days (in Queens, NY that is).
When I was growing up, pholourie was a regular appetizer in my house. I am obviously biased by saying this, but I always felt my mom’s pholourie was the best because she would use real split peas instead of split pea flour or some pholourie mix that could be bought for under $2 at a local West Indian store. Not that I have anything against those options, it’s just that for me, the split pea flavor doesn’t come through enough with split pea flour or a pre-packaged mix.
Put peas, garlic, and pepper in a blender with enough water to cover the peas and blend
Blend until smooth, it should have the texture of a smoothie
Her pholourie always tasted so authentic and rich, sometimes I didn’t even need any lime sour, achar, tamarind sour, or any condiment that it would normally be served with, because it tasted that good by itself! Even though it may have taken longer, my mom never took a shortcut, she would soak the split peas the night before in a bowl of water and then the next morning when the peas were reconstituted, she would blend it with garlic and wiri pepper until the batter was smooth. This process took longer, but it was well worth it for the taste.
Transfer batter to a mixing bowl and add all of these spices minus the pepper
(since you already put it into the blender)
Since I moved away from home to Rochester, NY, you have to imagine that Pholourie is not something I can find easily in a store as there aren’t any Guyanese roti shops lingering around here. So the next best thing to satisfy this craving was to call my mom for her recipe and try it out myself. I have to tell you when I took a bite into the finished product, it brought my right back to my childhood home in Queens. That, I deem a success!
When you have all the spices mixed in, add baking powder, yeast, and 3/4 cup of flour
This is what your batter should end up looking like
Cover the batter for 1-2 hours
Now you are ready to fry. If you are nervous about dropping the batter into the oil with your hands, you can use two spoons.
Mango achar that I brought back from Guyana last year
(another post to come on Guyanese condiments)