Seasonal Veg Pakora

This flexible vegan pakora recipe is the best possible way to use up any vegetables lying around in your fridge. You can adapt to suit the seasons, and it's delicious as part of an Indian-inspired spread.

SpiceBox: 100 Curry House Favourites Made Vegan
A collection of curry house-inspired recipes for vegans
Packed with flavoursome, plant-based twists on popular classics
Including curries, dhals, biryanis, and street snacks

Introduction

On almost every city street in India, you’ll find a food vendor tending to giant karahi of floating pakoras in bubbling oil. The battered veg varies depending on what’s in season but soft, faster-cooking vegetables are preferable, such as onion, aubergine and spinach. I’ve listed seasonal veg and combinations that work well below. The harder the vegetable, the smaller you have to cut it. For root vegetables, grating works best.

Traditionally, just gram flour is used but I find adding rice flour and baking powder makes for a crisper batter at home.

 

Serves 4-6 as a starter/side

Ingredients

seasonal vegetables (see below for suggestions)
For the batter:
veg oil, around 1 litre for frying
100g gram flour
50g rice flour
½ tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp ajwain seeds (also called lovage or carom seeds; swap for fennel or nigella (black onion) seeds if you can’t find them)
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground turmeric
A thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
1 green chilli, thinly sliced
A small bunch of coriander (stalks included), finely chopped
2 tsp garam masala
salt

Essential kit

You will need: a large saucepan or wok, 5–7cm deep.

Instructions

Pour the oil into a large saucepan or wok – it needs to be 5–7cm deep – and place on a high heat.

Put the gram and rice flours into a bowl, along with the rest of the batter ingredients. Slowly pour in 500ml water and whisk until a batter is formed – you’re looking for the consistency of a thin pancake batter.

Test the oil to make sure it is the right temperature by dropping a piece of batter into it. It should fizzle and turn golden in around 30 seconds. If you have a thermometer to hand, the oil should be 180°C.

Drop a small handful of your chosen veg (see below) into the batter and make sure it’s evenly coated. Allow any excess batter to drip off, then gently drop the veg into the oil. Fry until golden on one side and then turn over, using a slotted spoon (they will take around 1 minute 20 seconds on each side).

When the pakora is golden on both sides, lift it out of the oil and drain it on a piece of kitchen paper. Season with a generous pinch of salt on both sides. Repeat until all your veg is cooked. You can cook two or three pieces at the same time, depending on the size of your pan and the veg.

These pakoras are amazing with Date and Tamarind Chutney (page 215 of SpiceBox) or Green Chutney (page 221 of SpiceBox).

Autumn/winter veg:

Cabbage, finely shredded

Brussels sprouts, finely shredded

Beetroot, grated raw, or cooked and sliced

Carrot, grated raw

Celeriac, grated raw

Butternut squash, roasted and sliced

Potatoes, boiled and sliced

Sweet potato, roasted and sliced

Cauliflower, cut into thin steaks

Kale, finely shredded

Leeks, thinly sliced

Onion, thinly sliced

Parsnips, grated raw, or roasted and sliced

Autumn/winter veg combos:

Grated apple and beetroot

Grated pear and celeriac

Sweet potato and sliced spring onion

Kale and potato

Brussels sprout and beetroot

Cauliflower and leek

Spring/summer veg:

Broccoli, thinly sliced

Sprouting broccoli

Spinach, roughly shredded or whole leaves

Watercress, roughly shredded or whole leaves

Asparagus

Aubergine, thinly sliced

Peppers, thinly sliced

Fennel, thinly sliced

Runner beans

Samphire

Sorrel

Chard

New potatoes, boiled and sliced

Spring/summer veg combos:

Fennel and spinach

Sorrel and onion

Broccoli and watercress

Chard and red pepper

New potato and watercress

New potato and sorrel

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