OMG the Food: Pakoras – Onion, Vegetable, Black Lentil, Fenugreek & Spinach, and Mint & Green Onion

Good morning everyone,

We’re going to have some fun with a few pakoras today.  Pakoras are batter fried street food, common in Punjab and other states.  There is nothing healthy about them.  I’m not even going to pretend but they are a fun treat every once in a while.  We gave you the recipe for Paneer Pakoras in a previous post (recipe here) and today we’ll do Onion Pakora (the bestie’s favourite), Vegetable (potatoes and eggplant – my favourite), Black Lentil, Fenugreek and Spinach, and Mint and Green Onion.

You can serve these with any chutney you like (recipes here and here), ketchup (called tomato sauce in India), ranch dressing, or anything else you might want to dip with.  Or sprinkle with some chaat masala (available in most Indian markets) and enjoy plain.  Experiment and let me know what you like to dip your pakoras in.

Onion Pakoras

This recipe is adapted by one from Sanjeev Kapoor, which you can find here.  He’s absolutely an amazing chef.  We only had to adapt the recipe to conform with ingredients we can get here and you know, to kick up the heat a little.

Ingredients
3 medium red onions, sliced thinly
2 green chilies, chopped finely
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp coriander seed, ground
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp ajwain seeds
2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped finely
2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped finely
1 tbsp rice flour
5 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
Bran or canola oil for deep frying

Method
Heat the oil in a deep pan.  Put the onions in a bowl and separate them with your hands (or a spoon).  Add the chilies, turmeric, red chili powder, coriander seed, cumin, ajwain, mint, cilantro, and rice flour.  Mix thoroughly with your hands.  Don’t be afraid to crush the onions a little.  Add the besan.  Mix this in thoroughly with your hands.  Drop tablespoon sized pieces into the oil and fry until golden brown, turning with a slotted spoon.  Remove from oil to a plate lined with absorbent paper and serve hot with a chutney or two of your choice.

Vegetable Pakoras

I loves me some eggplant.  Seriously love it.  This recipe makes one of my favourite snacks but it’s fried so you know… moderation is key.

Ingredients
2 cups besan (chickpea flour, available in Indian markets and most Canadian supermarkets)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Water, for batter (about 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups)
16 eggplant slices, 1/4″ thick or so
16 potato slices, 1/4″ thick or so

Method
In a medium bowl, mix together besan, salt, chili powder and baking soda.  Slowly pour in 1 cup of the water, a little at a time and whisk until you have a batter that is a little thinner than pancake batter (not as thin as crepe batter though).  Set aside and let the baking soda work for 20 minutes.

In a deep fryer or pot with high sides, heat the oil until a drop of batter dropped into it rises immediately to the top.  Dip the eggplant and potato slices, one at a time, into the batter and carefully drop into the oil in batches.  Do not overcrowd the pot.  Fry each batch until golden brown.  Remove to a plate or shallow baking dish lined with absorbent paper.  Serve hot with one or two chutneys of your choice.

Tips:  I tried this with other vegetables and really didn’t enjoy sweet potato but cauliflower, broccoli, onion rings and even cabbage were tasty.

Black Lentil Pakora

Ingredients
1 cup urad dal (Indian black beans, available in Indian markets)
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp hot red chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric
Pinch of amchor (mango powder, available in some Canadian supermarkets and in Indian markets)

Method
Rinse the urad dal and pick out any stone or debris.  Soak the lentils overnight in enough water to cover.  Drain the lentils and place them in a food processor (You may have to do this in batches).  Add water and grind coarsely.  Transfer these to a bowl.  Add salt, chili powder, cumin powder and seeds, fennel, turmeric and amchor.  Mix well.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or pot with high sides.  The oil is ready when you insert a wooden chopstick into the oil, touching the bottom of the pan, and bubbles immediately rise at the bottom of the chopstick.  Using a tablespoon, drop small tablespoons full of the urad dal mixture into the oil.  Do not overcrowd the pot.  Fry until golden brown.  Remove to a plate or shallow baking dish lined with absorbent paper towel.  Serve hot with a chutnet or two of your choice.

Fenugreek and Spinach Pakoras

Ingredients
1 cup channa dal (available in some Canadian supermarkets and in Indian markets)
4 cups loosely packed spinach, chopped coarsely
1 cup fresh fenugreek leaves, chopped
1 cup grated cauliflower
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup potato, grated
3 green chilies, chopped finely
1/2 tsp amchor (mango powder, available in most Canadian supermarkets and in Indian markets)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
Bran or canola oil for deep frying
1 cup besan (chickpea flour, available in most Canadian supermarkets and in Indian markets)

Method
Rinse the channa dal and pick out any little stones or debris.  Rinse until the water runs clear.  Soak for 6 – 8 hours at room temperature in enough water to cover.  Drain the channa dal and grind coarsely in a food processor.  In a bowl add the channa dal, spinach, fenugreek, cauliflower, onion, potatoes, chili, amchor, salt, garam masala, coriander and cumin.  Mix well.  Add the besan flour and mix lightly with your fingers.  The mixture should hold together.  If not add a little more besan.

Heat the oil.  The oil is ready when you insert a wooden chopstick into the oil, touching the bottom of the pan, and bubbles immediately rise at the bottom of the chopstick.    Place small, packed tablespoonfuls gently into the oil and do not overcrowd the pot.  Fry until golden brown.  Remove to a plate or shallow baking pan lined with absorbent paper.  Serve hot with one or two chutneys of your choice.

Mint and Green Onion Parkoras

This is a variation on the onion pakora above, using ginger.  It’s flavour is much brighter because of the mint and ginger in the recipe.

Ingredients
2 cups thinly sliced green onions
2 cups mint leaves, chopped
1 thumb ginger, peeled and minced
2 – 3 green chilies, chopped finely
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ajwain seeds (available in Indian markets)
7 – 8 tbls besan (chickpea flour, available in most Canadian supermarkets and in Indian markets)
Bran or canola oil for deep frying

Method
In a bowl, mix together onions, mint, ginger, chilies, salt and ajwain .  Squeeze and mix together with your hands.  Set aside and allow to rest for 15 minutes or so, covering the bowl.  Sprinkle about half of the besan over the mixture and mix with your hands.  Add 1 tbsp of the besan at a time until the mixture holds together.

Heat the oil.  The oil is ready when you insert a wooden chopstick into the oil, touching the bottom of the pan, and bubbles immediately rise at the bottom of the chopstick.    Place small tablespoonfuls gently into the oil and do not overcrowd the pot.  Fry until golden brown.  Remove to a plate or shallow baking pan lined with absorbent paper.  Serve hot with one or two chutneys of your choice.

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