Recipe: Pakoras (Indian-style vegetable fritters)

Delectable treats, perfect comfort food.

This recipe comes from a brilliant Indian cookbook I picked up second-hand many years ago and have used extensively since: Charmaine Solomon’s Indian Cookbook.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup besan (chick-pea flour, also known as gram flour)

3/4 cup self-rising flour (or 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp crushed garlic

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)

Approx. 1 cup water, or as needed to give the batter the right thickness (should be like Orly batter or fairly thin pancake batter)

2 medium potatoes

1 medium aubergine (eggplant)

1 medium onions

A few fresh spinach leaves

Oil for deep-drying

Mix together besan, flour, baking powder (if not using self-rising flour), garlic, salt, garam masala, chilli and water and beat until smooth and light. The batter should be about the thickness of pancake batter. Cover the bowl and set aside for at least an hour (don’t refrigerate, it’s supposed to start fermenting just a little).

Peel the potatoes and cut into slices, about 3-4 mm thick. Drop the slices into cold water so they will not turn brown. Remove and pat dry just before frying.

Wash but do not peel the aubergine and cut into slices, about 5 mm (can be thicker than the potato). If it’s large, cut it into bite-size pieces.

Peel the onions and cut in half lengthways. Then cut into thin slices lengthways, leaving a bit of root at the end to keep the slices together (looks a little like a fan).

Wash and dry spinach and tear into pieces.

Heat the oil in a wok, karahi, a deep frying pan or deep-fryer. Dip individual pieces of vegetables in the batter, let the excess batter drip off and drop into the hot oil. Only fry a few at a time to keep the frying temperature high. Pakoras should be light and crisp but if the frying temperature is too low they will be tough and oily.

Drain on absorbent paper and serve warm with a fresh chutney or raita for dipping.

Notes:

This batter is good for all kinds of vegetables, e.g. zucchini, cauliflower, rucola, mushrooms, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers.

It is also a good as a replacement for Orly batter to coat fish and shrimp.

The veggies need not be sliced – you can also chop them finely, stir into the batter and drop it into the oil by the spoonful.

I like to have at least three different dips to choose from: one spicy, one sweet and one tart.

Good cold, but does lose the crispness as it cools.

P.S. This is a reworked repost from my old cooking blog.

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