L9: “The perfect snack: Pakoras”

Pakora 41

Pakora 1

Pakora 41
Served with a non-edible side of flower

Crispy, light and incredibly moreish, Pakoras are fried morsels of magic. Simple and the go-to snack of every Asian family, they are perfect for those days when you want something to satisfy your snack needs. I find them best on rainy days when the craving for something warming is strongest but they are just as delicious whatever the weather. Lace with mint chutney and you have the balance of fried and fresh ready to enjoy.

Serves 10-12 people

Ingredients:

 

  • 1½ large white potatoes
  • ½ large white onion
  • 125g fresh baby spinach
  • 1-2 jalapeno chilli’s
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • ½ tbsp Anardana (dried pomegranate powder)
  • 80 – 100g  leftover chicken (shredded)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 150g Besan (gram flour)
  • ½ tbsp Daniya (dried coriander powder)
  • ½ tbsp Jeera (cumin powder)
  • 1 cup of room temperature water
  1. This is a recipe that keeps things real easy, thinly slice your onions and potatoes (no peeling necessary) into round pieces. Keeping them thin ensures crispier pakoras and quicker cooking times.
  2. Depending on how hot you like your food, dice up 1-2 chillis and shred some leftover chicken. If you want to make this a veggie recipe for the original version, just leave out the chicken.
  3. Now pop everything into a bowl, pour the water and mix with your hands. I haven’t specified the exact amount of water but keep a cup of water at room temperature water and slowly add to the mixture. The besan will start to become paste-like and you want to keep adding until all your ingredients are engulfed in a thick batter.  Don’t be tempted to add more water or besan straight away, the more you mix the better things will bind together. If the batter is too thick, pakoras become more stodgy and heavy rather than light and crispy, too thin and they won’t bind together in the hot oil.
  4. Heat some oil to deep fry and spoon in your mix to bring your pakoras to life. It may be worth bringing a friend to help at this stage with one person adding the batter to hot oil and the other in charge of turning over the pakoras. Make sure your oil heated correctly to ensure maximum crispness for your pakoras. Test out your batter first, spoon in a tbsp of batter and it should stay together in the oil, if it splits apart – add more besan to your mix. Once you’ve tested and made any needed adjustments, be sure to not mix or turn over your pakoras straight away once they hit the oil, give the pakoras time to keep their shape. Check the bottom of the pakoras and they should be browning into a dark terracotta colour, turn over and remove once they are evenly coloured on both sides. Remove from the oil and leave to sit on some paper towels so the excess oil is removed.
  5. Although I have mentioned this before with the Chapli kebab recipe, Pakoras and mint chutney are like the most classic of combinations. Whip together the mint chutney. Simply grind together the mint, coriander, salt, natural yoghurt, chilli and ginger, garlic and chilli paste and water. This mix is packed with concentrated flavour so it’s up to you how much you want to dilute it with the live set yoghurt (this has a more sour flavour that works well with the mint but you can use natural if you prefer).
  6. Plate up and enjoy more than one!

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