Yesterday, the BBC forecast a fall in temperatures for the UK and warned of thundery showers striking parts of the country as a low-pressure weather front moves in. We forecast that this is a great excuse to break out the pakoras. Actually, we never need much of an excuse to make these! They are a perfect tea-time snack or a great pre-dinner appetiser along with a gin and tonic. See the notes below for ensuring they are gluten-free and/or vegan should that be your preference.
Category: Savoury Dishes & Snacks
Ingredients for the batter:
- 115g (4oz) gram flour or split-pea flour
- 150ml (¼ pt) Water
- ½ tsp Red Chilli Powder
- ¾ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Garam Masala
Ingredients for the minced vegetable pakoras:
- 115g (4oz) Onions
- 2 Green Chillies or ½ Green Pepper (aka Bell Pepper or Capsicum)
- ½ tsp Coriander Seeds, crushed —optional
- A pinch of Baking Powder*
- 2 tsp Fresh Coriander Leaves, chopped
- 15 g (½oz) Ginger
- A pinch of Carom Seeds (Ajwain)
- 1 tsp Dried Pomegranate Seeds (Anardana)
- 1 tbsp Melted Ghee, or your preferred oil**
- Enough ghee or oil** for your deep frying pan to fry the pakoras
Step 1: make the batter
Sieve gram flour into a bowl and make a depression in its centre. Pour in half of the water after heating it a little bit and continue stirring the flour until it becomes a thick batter. Beat hard for 15 minutes and gradually add the remaining warm water. Leave to swell for half an hour. Add salt, red chilli powder and garam masala and beat for a further 5 minutes.
Step 2: add the vegetables
Peel and chop the onions, ginger and green chillies or green pepper finely. Mix these into the batter. Add carom seeds, crushed coriander seeds, dried pomegranate seeds, green coriander leaves, melted ghee or oil and the baking powder.
Step 3: fry the pakoras
Heat the ghee or oil in a deep frying pan to smoking point. Stir the mixture and drop a dessertspoonful at a time into the oil. A number may be cooked at a time. Fry on medium heat and turn frequently till golden brown in colour. If the pakoras are taken out of the pan when they are only three-quarters fried, cooled, and fried a second time they become crisper than those fried only once. This double frying is however only possible if the pakoras are removed from the pan before they are golden brown and are finally browned when they are fried the second time. Mrs Balbir Singh always recommended single frying though, because the double-fried ones absorb more fat and can easily become tougher and darker in colour if left in the oil for a shade too long.
Step 4: serve
Use 15g (¼oz) each of spinach, fenugreek leaves, finely-shredded cabbage, finely-cut cauliflower or diced parboiled potatoes along with 2 to 3 green chillies in place of the minced onions, ginger and the chillies/bell peppers in the above preparation of pakoras.
Mrs Balbir Singh
Award-winning godmother of Indian home cooking, and author of Mrs Balbir Singh's Indian Cookery, as featured in "The Best Indian Cookbooks Ever, as Judged by the Experts" - The Telegraph (UK)