Crisp, spicy and bursting with flavour, pakoras are a joy to eat. They are also very easy and as customisable as you want.
Pakoras are one of my favourite Indian snacks: I can seriously feast on these for ages – especially with a full-flavoured dip or chutney.
These are inspired by my dear friend Dipa, who I was so fortunate to have met and cooked alongside (literally!) all the way through to the final of Britain’s Best Home Cook: my pakoras might not be as good as hers, but I can still eat these by the plateful!
Serve with a simple chutney/dip and toasted cumin salt: the salt is simply toasted cumin mixed with coarse sea salt and put into a salt grinder.
And, of course, you can use a different variety of vegetables and spices: other favourites of mine include fennel bulb, potato, peas….
Aubergine & onion pakoras with roasted cumin salt: serves 6 generously
- 200g gram flour
- 1-2 green chillis, chopped – according to taste!
- about 2” fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 4 fat cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
- 3 teaspoons garam masala or tandoori masala powder
- 3 teaspoons ground coriander
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
- leaves from a few springs of mint, roughly chopped
- 1 medium to large aubergine, sliced into matchsticks or small pieces
- 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- juice of 1 lime
- about 150ml water
- oil for frying
(1) Preheat the oil to 180C. Mix the flour, spices and herbs in a large bowl and add the vegetables.
(2) Give everything a good stir and add the water, mixing well to give a thick batter that coats the vegetables. It should all hold together without being too runny: add more water if it seems too thick or more gram flour if it is too liquid.
(3) Deep-fry tablespoons of the mixture for 4-5 minutes or until crisp and a deep golden colour. Drain and serve. If you make them ahead, they reheat beautifully in the oven.