Hit them with spice, flavour, crunchy texture and some seriously good vegetables is my motto when making pakoras.
Pakoras are the first thing I ever learnt to cook in the Indian Kitchen, I used to sneak to the girls’ youth club and that’s where I learnt. I wasn’t allowed to go to the youth club, so sneaking in was my only option. Didn’t that lead me to the most fabulous journey of them all, so worth the sneaking around!
Essential vegetables are potatoes, onions and spinach, then use your favourites, a selection of peppers, courgettes, cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, peas, the brighter, more colourful, the better, my favourite vegetables are brightly coloured peppers, they taste delicious. I chop them into half centre matchsticks, so they cook evenly and quicker.
Don’t scrimp on using fresh vegetables and coriander, the biggest difference between pakoras and onion bhajes is that bhajes are speedy and use store cupboard ingredients and pakoras are a little more special with lots of yummy fresh veggies!
Chilli and salt – don’t scrimp on either, the pakoras will be bland without and I would add some extra if I was making them.
Try them hot, from the fryer in a sandwich with ketchup, chefs little treat and no, I didn’t share that with you….
Essential spice for this recipe are: 2tsp chilli, 2tsp garam masala and 1tsp salt, I use the extras as I have them in my store cupboard, the essential for this recipe is for crunchy little delicious bites.
Carefully measure and place all the spices, salt, chillies and garam masala in a small bowl. Set aside for later.
Put the oil in the deep fat fryer to start to warm through, while you make the batter.
Put the sliced, washed and drained vegis into a big mixing bowl, add the chick pea flour and start mixing with a little splash of water at a time, be careful with not using too much water, we are looking for the vegetables to be just coated in a thick batter, this gives a great crunchy texture.
Top tip, use one had to mix and one to hold the bowl. You may wish to wear gloves.
Now add your spices and chilli to the battered vegetables and give the batter a thoroughly good mix, set aside while you wash your hands.
Check the oil is at the right temperature, if you drop some batter mix into the oil, it should sizzle.
When the oil is hot, place small teaspoons of the pakora batter to fry, allowing them to take shape in the heat, before you turn them.
Don't over crowd your pan.
The pakoras take between 8 - 10 minutes to cook.
Allow the pakoras to take shape and then you may turn them over, just don't do it too soon.
Once you have turned the pakoras once, keep turning them for an even golden colour, allow them to cook through and the batter must not be soggy.
Once cooked, remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Continue to fry all the pakoras in small batches.
Serve hot with your favourite chutney, pickle or even tomato ketchup.
They make great sandwich or wrap fillings, perfect with a cup of tea.