Aubergine & onion pakoras with roasted cumin salt

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Crisp, spicy and bursting with flavour, pakoras are a joy to eat. They are also very easy and as customisable as you want.

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New photos: Jan 2020

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.


Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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