Vegetable Pakoras, Indian-spiced fritters
Yield: 4 to 6 | Total time: 20 min
I love a good hot fritter and frying up vegetables seems just a little less guilt-ridden than, say, a whole chicken. Although I love a good fried bird. This recipe for pakoras is one I came up with for Sukhi's (it pairs well with their tomato chutney) and I thought it might be good as a small bite for Valentine's Day. The colors are bright with turmeric-laced batter; if you want a spicier version, add more jalapeño or serrano.
Besan or gram flour (also known as chick pea flour), which can be found in specialty and health food markets, is the base for these delicate fritters; adding a bit of cornstarch or rice flour makes them extra crispy. Other vegetables that work well include cooked potato and spinach. The carom and fenugreek leaves are optional but they are worth seeking out as they add a lovely herbaceous and fragrant component.
- 1 medium onion (about 1 1/2 cups), peeled, halved, and cut into half moons
- 1 small zucchini, coarsely grated
- 1 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 1 small green chili, such as Thai or jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 2 cups chick pea flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ajwain or carom seeds (optional)
- 2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves (optional), gently crushed between fingers to release fragrance
- 1 teaspoon salt
- About 1 1/2 cups water
- Canola oil, for shallow frying
- Garnishes: Fresh chopped cilantro, lime wedges, Sukhi’s Chutney, finishing salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon flake salt
1. Combine onion, zucchini, cauliflower, and green chili together in a small bowl; set aside.
2. Combine chick pea flour, cornstarch, turmeric, cardamom, cumin, carom and fenugreek leaves, if using, and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Slowly add water, mixing with a whisk to combine. Add more water as needed; mixture should be like pancake batter; set aside.
3. Pour oil to about 1/2 inch in a large cast iron skillet. Heat oil until shimmering and just before it starts to smoke. You can also use a deep-fry thermometer; let temperature rise to 350°. NOTE: To test if oil is ready, add a tiny bit of the batter into the oil. The batter should bubble and rise to the top.
Date Published: February 11, 2014
All recipes have been tested by the KimSunée.com Test Kitchens unless otherwise noted.