We had a lovely dinner last night – homemade vegetable pakora from The Takeaway Secret (I’ve said this before, but it, and it’s successor More Takeaway Secrets are a brilliant cookbooks – if you like takeaway food, GO AND BUY THEM NOW! And, no, I haven’t been paid to write this, sadly).
I made the traditional mixed vegetable pakora pretty much as in the book, subbing peas for potatoes because I wanted to keep it fairly light on carbs since it’s not a very healthy meal anyway. For both the cauliflower and the mushrooms pakoras, I used the thinner, lighter batter from the chicken pakora recipe, dipping whole button mushrooms and medium-sized florets of cauliflower into it to make a veggie version instead.
We served the pakora with homemade pakora sauce and spiced onions (both again from The Takeaway Secret), along with shop bought naans and poppadoms. I do feel a bit guilty buying naans because I know how to make them – but I didn’t have time this weekend to do it along with the pakoras and the naans and poppadoms were on offer. So it’s totally OK. One of these days I’ll post my naan recipe though, it’s WAY better than shop bought.
Here’s the recipe for the mixed veggie pakora as a wee taster of how good the recipes from the book are – I will try and blog my ‘fake chicken’ cauliflower and mushroom pakoras later on. Oh and I had leftovers for lunch today and both types were so good cold the next day too!
Mixed Vegetable Pakora (serves 1-2)
- 150g frozen peas
- 1 onion, chopped
- large handful fresh spinach, finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds (used ground as that was all I had)
- 1/2-1tsp chilli powder (used 1/2 but wasn’t spicy enough for me)
- 1/2tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (didn’t have these so swapped for 1/2 tsp ground fenugreek)
- 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
- 1 tbsp natural yoghurt
- 2-3 tbsp water
- 8-10 tbsp gram/besan (chickpea) flour
- Oil, to deep fry
Mix everything together except the gram flour and water, then add the flour and water a little at a time, alternately, until the mix makes a thick paste. Season with a large pinch of salt.
Heat enough oil to deep dry the pakora in a decent-sized saucepan (a few inches deep anyway) on a medium heat – not too hot, or it burns before it cooks through. Drop small balls (I used a spoon to scoop them out) of batter into the oil and fry for around 5 minutes, or until browned and cooked through (I took one out and tested it). You’ll probably need to cook in batches – I did it in two.
Remove using a slotted spoon, pop onto some kitchen roll, and let the oil drain off a little. Serve with pakora sauce (recipe below) or any other goodies you want.
- 120ml natural yoghurt
- 2tsp mint sauce
- 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
- Couple of large pinches chilli powder (again wasn’t spicy enough with just one pinch)
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- A little milk, to dilute
Pretty easy this one – mix everything except the milk well, dilute with milk until thin enough for your liking (mixing well between each addition of milk), then season with salt as desired. This is exactly like takeaway sauce (a friend who worked in an Indian restaurant did tell me once about it being yoghurt and ketchup mixed together) and in spite of sounding like a really disgusting mixture, it’s delicious.