Pakoras – Indian spicy vegetable fritters. I am always eternally grateful to an old neighbour, Nalini, who taught me how to cook Indian food – particularly her family food from the North India region. I treasure her hand written recipes that are over thirty years old with this pakora recipe being one of my family’s favourites.
This is a fantastic tasty vegetarian snack with an added bonus – they are gluten free. You use lentil flour for the batter.
This is an extremely versatile recipe using many types of vegetables – whatever is in season really. Here I have used cauliflower and eggplant (aubergine) which are my particular favourites – the eggplant staying crispy on the outside but deliciously soft in the centre. You could also use; onion, potato, zucchini, pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli, yakon, choko, okra, carrot etc.
1 cup lentil flour (besan), sifted (available at health food shops)
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp ground cummin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garam masala
3/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
oil for frying (not olive oil)
For the dipping sauce
1 cup yoghurt
1 tbs tomato sauce OR sweet chutney
1. In a large bowl, mix all the spices, lentil flour, salt and water together to make a coating batter – it should neither be too runny or too thick.
2. Cut all the vegetables into even, bite-size pieces and toss them into the batter coating each piece.
3. Heat the oil until it is just smoking and try a piece of pakora to see if it is hot enough. Cook in batches until lightly golden and drain on kitchen paper. Best eaten warm on the same day that you have cooked them.
4. Mix the yoghurt and tomato sauce/ chutney together to make a dipping sauce (Nalini’s choice is tomato – I prefer chutney). You can also use yoghurt with chopped mint and/or chutney.
TIP – always dry the vegetables thoroughly before you chop them, after you have washed them, or the batter won’t stick.
TOP TIP TOO – I serve them with my tamarind and date chutney – yum