Pakora are Indian snacks made with vegetables and sometimes chicken or other meats. These are deep fried in a batter most commonly made with Besan (chick-pea flour), and, usually, with added spices. Vegetable Pakora are the most common type and the vegetables can either be a single vegetable in chunks, or one can use a variety of different veggies that are shredded and mixed before being dunked in the batter. These same snacks, especially the variety with shredded or chopped vegetables, are also known as ‘Bhaji’, but this word also refers to another totally different type of Indian dish so I have elected to call my experiment by the more common name, Pakora.
My Pakora are made using whole Tindora which I introduced in an earlier ‘Foodstuffs’ post here. Pakora are usually served with a dipping sauce, sometimes piquant, sometimes mild. I have stuffed my Pakora with a spicy filling so I made a ‘cool’ dip with cucumber dressing and chives. The finished dish is served on sliced cucumber and garnished with chive and ‘threads’ of dried chilli.
I used only six medium size Tindora as it was just me alone at home. Clockwise from the top-left the ingredients are:
- Crushed red Chilli and ground Turmeric;
- Batter made from Chick-pea flour and water;
- The Tindora;
- Salt, Nigella (Kalonji), Crushed Cumin seed; and,
- Patak’s Chilli Pickle (for stuffing the Tindora)
I first mixed all the spices and salt into the batter.
I slit the Tindora in half lengthwise, stopping just before the end. Using a spoon, I stuffed the inside with a little bit of the Chilli pickle and then dipped each Tindora into the batter. I deep-fried them in vegetable oil in a small saucepan with the heat turned to about medium. I wanted the Tindora to be cooked soft without having the batter too brown. I then plated them as you see above. A more traditional cooling dip would probably be made with yoghurt in India but I am not a fan so I used a commercial cucumber salad dressing with added chives (not shown in the ingredients). The chill shreds I used for garnish can be found in most Korean groceries.
These weren’t too bad on the whole. The Tindora was great in batter but I thought that the Chilli pickle was a bit overpowering and slightly harsh. Next time I think I may use a stuffing made of minced onion, garlic and ginger and save the Chilli pickle to mix into the dipping sauce.