Pakora

Crispy gluten free vegetarian fritters

A Pakora is the snack you are most likely to be offered when you turn up at a Punjabi family home unannounced.  So easy to throw together, I remember my Mum would have trays of them ready for us if I called her from the motorway to pop in on a surprise visit.  How she did it so quickly, I don’t know, but you would be handed a plate with Pakore on arrival and offered a dip of some sort, or, if no dip was available then good old Heinz ketchup. A mug of hot sweet masala cha followed, to wash them down with.  No cold drinks with oily snacks!! Gala khraab hojayega (you’ll end up with a sore throat according to my mother).   

She would throw together sliced onions, potatoes, spinach or cauliflower if she had it, and my favourite was always aubergine Pakore.  Nobody ever left her home hungry as Mum was a feeder – and both my sisters and I are followed in her footsteps.  Although times have changed considerably now and you’d be very lucky if you still get that treatment these days.  Sadly the culture is changing – and one has to accept the changes – albeit reluctantly – but you will never go hungry if you pop into my home.  Mi casa su casa….. 😊

Anyway, so back to these golden fried beauties.  Very easy to throw together, however the whole idea is that you want crunchy Pakore and not doughy oily ones.  If you follow my recipe to the letter, then I can promise you they will be just as amazing as mine.  Using part rice flour to add to the crunch, slicing the vegetables to the same size, not adding too much water to create the batter, and last but not least, draining directly onto a tray or plate instead of kitchen paper.  As always trust me on these things

 I serve mine with a choice of chutney or dip, a lovely sticky balsamic glaze and always with a sprinkle of chaat masala to finish.

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Ingredients – – simple and easy variation – serves 4

1 to 2 litres of oil for deep frying (vegetable or corn oil are good)

2 medium onions thinly sliced and soaked in cold water

4 small potatoes peeled and thinly sliced

2 handfuls of finely chopped spinach

1 handful of finely chopped coriander

Chopped green chillies to your taste (use red chilli powder if you prefer)

1 heaped cup of gram flour

Third of a cup of rice flour

1 tbsp crushed coriander seeds

1 tsp ajwain seeds (carom seeds)

Salt to taste (you will need more than usual as the batter just soaks it all up)

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli (just to give them a little colour)

1 tsp garam masala

1 tsp chaat masala to sprinkle on top before serving (optional)

Literally a splash of water

Method

  1. Tip all the sliced vegetables into a deep bowl, ensuring you drain the onions from the water first and put the oil on to a medium heat in a deep pan or wok
  2. Add all the dry ingredients and mix using your hands ensuring all the vegetables are coated with the gram flour, rice flour and the spices.  Squeeze them to get them to release their juices and you will see they start creating a sticky batter
  3. If your mixture is too sticky, loosen it slightly with a splash of cold water and stir thoroughly
  4. Drop a little spoon of the mixture into the hot oil, it should rise to the top quite quickly – if it does your oil is ready
  5. Now add spoonfuls of the mixture to the oil – try not to overcrowd the pan, and keep the pakoras moving in the oil – turn the heat down slightly
  6. Fry turning frequently for 5-6 minutes until they turn a beautiful golden colour
  7. Drain on a plate or tray and serve, sprinkled with chaat masala and a dip of your choice