Seasonal Street Food Starter
I adore these pakoras for so many reasons; using hot to trot seasonal vegetables, using naturally gluten free gram flour for the batter, and accompanied by tasty chutneys, they are perfect nibbly bites for a street food inspired snack or a dinner party starter.
So, I’m year 2 of my natural chef career and have finally worked out how to tweak and develop recipes that can be used across a multitude of my projects; First recipe testing at home, shooting a simply styled photograph, then sharing it at a cooking class or yoga retreat before typing it up here. It’s saving me hours of time and has ultimately stopped me going into mass recipe development breakdown. Savvy huh? These vegetable pakoras were served as a starter at last weekend’s Stretching the City yoga retreat, and the recipe immediately requested. Happily for me it was already neatly typed up from the previous weekend’s street food cooking class at Made in Hackney enabling a quick turnaround on a request!
The vegetable pakoras are adapted from the stunning book Vegan Street Food – Foodie travels from India to Indonesia by Jackie Kearney as is the coriander chutney (whipped up in seconds in my new Froothie Blender). The original pakora recipe has a far more complex flavouring of spices and is also deep fried, so I decided for ease to simplify the flavours and also to pan fry them to lighten them up. I did find that the recipe required more flour and water for the batter when pan-frying to help them stick together (think chunky pancake mix). They are undeniably a different dish when not deep-fried but I rather enjoyed them like this. The coconut chutney is a free-style kitchen adventure of my own, a bit like a raita, though is clearly also inspired by this wonderful cuisine and book.
These vegetable pakoras are a cauliflower + cavolo nero cruciferous vegetable hit right now but later in the year, try swapping the cauliflower for broccoli, or the cavolo nero for spinach, you could even try including some green peas.
- ½ small cauliflower, broken into very small florets (finger tip sized)
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- ½ bunch cavolo nero ~ 70g, stems removed and finely chopped (chiffonade works well)
- 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
- 1 tbs cumin seeds
- 1 tbs fennel seeds
- 140g gram flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Handful fresh coriander roughly chopped
- coconut oil - for sauteeing veg and for frying the pakora
- 40g desiccated coconut
- 120mls coconut yoghurt (coconut collaborative brand is best consistency for this)
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 1 lime, juiced
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 large bunch fresh coriander leaf
- a few mint leaves
- 200mls canned coconut milk
- ½ red onion, roughly chopped
- 1-2 small green chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- tsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- Steam or parboil the cauliflower for 2-3 minutes till fork tender, then drain in a colander to leave cool while you prep the rest of the recipe.
- Heat ½ Tbs coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and saute the onion slices until softened, next add the sliced cavolo nero and chilli and cook for another 3 minutes till the cavolo has wilted. Set aside.
- Sift the gram flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Then toast the cumin and fennel seeds in a warm pan for 30 seconds as they release their aroma, before adding them into the gram flour along with the cooked cavolo nero mix, and the cooled cauliflower.
- Add 80mls water to the bowl of veg to make a thick paste, the batter should be thick and there should be enough to coat all the veg so that they stick together in the pan. If not, add more flour and or water as necessary. Finally add the coriander.
- Warm a large frying pan with a Tablespoon of coconut oil, then drop in around 2 tbs mixture at a time to form your Pakora. Repeat till there are 3-4 in the pan, do not overcrowd the pan as you won't be able to flip them otherwise. Cook for 3-4 minutes before flipping over to cook the other side. Remove, to a plate and start again with the rest of the batter. You may need to add more oil to the pan. If you are making a huge batch the ready ones can be kept in a ceramic dish or baking tray in the oven to keep warm.
- Serve warm as a platter or on individual serving plates with some green salad and a small pot of the chutneys.
- Mix all the ingredients together in a smalll bowl, and store in the fridge until ready to use. The desiccated coconut will soften the longer you leave it. Taste and adjust seasoning before serving. Will keep for up to 3 days, in fridge. Not best suited to freezing
- Put all of the ingredients into a blender (I used my Froothie) or food processor, and blitz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, lime juice or maple syrup if necessary. Will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Can be frozen
Want some more inspiration try these diverse Asian street food recipes from other UK bloggers.
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