After purchasing some cauliflower & spinach pakoras for a snack from our deli at work, I rekindled my love for the tasty little Indian food bite. Considering their price though ($.69 each), I knew they could soon become an expensive habit if I were to be buying them every time I had a craving. I’d always meant to try making my own, so this renewed interest in them and the fact that we had an aged head of cauliflower in the fridge finally pushed to get off my butt and get cooking.
I consulted what I consider my bible on all foods Asian.
I love this book. Best $14.99 I’ve ever spent. Any time I want to make something of Asian origin – Thai, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese, etc – I thumb through the pages, and I am always presented with a recipe for what I’m looking for. All with colour pictures, detailed instructions, and even nutritional information. Awesome!
So I look up vegetable pakoras, and soon realized I need chickpea flour. Alright, fine, shouldn’t be too hard to find, right?
Well, sort of wrong. My store only carried a flour that was a combination of chickpea and fava flour. I went to another store – only organic chick pea flour, for $20 a bag. Um, no. Another store – only carried 5kg bags. Another fail. But I finally found a reasonably sized bag for a reasonable price. All was right in my pakora making world.
I set out chopping a myriad for vegetables.
I measured all my dry ingredients.
And mixed up the batter.
One of the downfalls of photographing your culinary projects? You may lose your spoon in the batter. D’oh!
Mix, mix, mix. Then mix some more!
Then spend the next 45 min of your life frying the damn things. Note to self – get bigger frying pan.
Of course, you can’t just have pakoras. A little recipe for a carrot raita caught my eye, so I made some of that as well.
It involved chopping some pistachios.
As well as mixing grated carrots with yogurt and spices.
Eventually all your hard work pays off.
And you can finally sit down and eat your lunch!
Vegetable pakoras, carrot raita, pappadams, and mango chutney.
Indian craving? No problem!
Vegetable Pakoras (adapted from The Essential Asian Cookbook)
makes 30 – 40 pakoras
- 2 medium red potatoes, cooked and cubed
- 4 – 5 cups cauliflower florets, chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cups (packed) baby spinach, chopped
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups chickpea flour
- 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 1/2 cups water
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- oil for frying
- Chop all your vegetables and set aside.
- Sift together the flours, baking soda, spices, and salt. Make a well in the centre, and add the water and lemon juice. Mix until you have a smooth, creamy batter. If it seems too thin, add extra chickpea flour (I had to do this).
- Add the vegetables and mix so everything is combined.
- Heat approximately 2 cm of oil in your frying pan over medium to medium-high heat. Drop tablespoonfuls of mixture into the pan, being sure to not over crowd (otherwise your heat will drop, and you’ll get overly greasy food). Fry until golden (2 – 3 min per side).
- Drain on paper towels. Keep in a warm oven until done frying, and serve warm with chutney or raita, or both!
Note – You want a thick batter to coat your vegetables so your pakoras stay together while frying, so you may need to adjust how much chickpea flour you add. Feel free to use any other vegetables you have on hand.
Carrot Pistachio Raita (adapted from The Essential Asian Cookbook)
serves 4 as a side dish/accompaniment
- 1/3 cup pistachios, chopped
- 1/3 cup sultanas
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 2 large carrots
- 3/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 – 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp chilli powder
- sea salt to taste
- Place pistachios, sultanas, and boiling water in a bowl and soak for 30 min. Drain and pat dry.
- Grate carrots into another bowl, then mix in yogurt and spices. Chill for 30 min.
- Stir pistachio mixture into carrot mixture, garnish with additional pistachios/sultanas and serve with meal.
Note – depending on your affinity to cardamom, you may want to only add 1/2 tsp. It is very strong, and can be overpowering, especially if you eat this raita on its own. When combined with other foods though, it is less noticeable.
I’d like to work on a baked pakora recipe now. This batter isn’t really suitable, as it’s too thin. Perhaps a combination of mashed chickpeas and chickpea flour would work? Thoughts?