Bread Pakoras

How are we all doing? Ready for another #spiceclubstaple? I’m sharing another favourite of mine – bread pakoras. It’s a dish that completely transforms the staple. It’s also great for using up bread that is possibly heading towards it’s best before date.

If you really want to make these but can’t source bread right now (I am sadly still seeing social media posts of empty supermarket bakery aisles), you can use slices of potatoes or aubergine or even spinach leaves instead!

This recipe uses a batter made from gram flour (a lot of us have this in the cupboard but don’t ever get round to using it!) As it’s made from chickpeas (ie. gluten free friendly), it’s deliciously nutty and is amazing when deep fried. If you don’t deep fry a lot, I suggest that you use a small sauce pan or a small wok so you don’t have to use too much oil. Also a wee tip – once you’re done frying, cool the oil and then drain into a jar. You can fry with this same oil a good 3/4 times again until it begins to change in colour/smell.

Interestingly – bread pakoras are actually a Punjabi speciality. I grew up on them (as did plenty of other Punjabi kids) and we used to dunk them in tomato ketchup and coriander & mint chutney. Crispy & spicy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside – these are the pakoras of dreams people.

Enjoy and don’t forget to send me photos of your recreations via social media! Peep the recipe (& the video below!) to see how I made them.

Bread Pakoras

Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 4 slices white bread (you can use brown too)
  • 1 cup (approx. 90g) gram flour
  • 1 tsp salt or according to taste
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp paprika powder
  • ¼ – ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds coarsely crushed
  • ¼ tsp mango powder/amchur optional
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida powder optional
  • Handful fresh coriander finely chopped (optional)
  • You wil also need:

You will also need:

  • Water
  • Oil for deep frying sunflower/vegetable oil works well

Instructions
 

  • Place oil in a pan (a small wok or saucepan works well) until it is about 4” deep and heat on a medium heat setting. Cut the bread slices into square quarters or in triangle halves NB. The quarters are probably easier to handle compared to triangles – if this is your first time making these!).
  • Sift the gram flour into a bowl and then add the salt and all of the spices along with the fresh coriander. Gradually add the water and whisk until a smooth yet thick batter forms. It should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter and should be able to coat the back of a spoon. If the batter is too thin, it won’t create a nice layer of coating when fried. (If you do add too much water, you can fix this by adding a little more gram flour – don’t forget to add a little more seasoning if you do this).
  • Test the temperature of the oil by placing a small piece of bread /crust into the oil. It should sizzle and come up to the surface within 5 seconds. If it sits at the bottom of the pan, the oil is too cold so continue to heat the oil.
  • Keep your bowl of batter right next to the wok with oil. Now, fully dip a piece of bread in the batter ensuring it is covered evenly and carefully place into the hot oil. Repeat with a few more pieces being careful not to overcrowd the pan. (You will need to cook this in batches). 
  • Fry on medium heat until the pakora becomes golden brown on one side. Flip it over and cook the other side until golden. For extra crispy pakoras, increase temperature to high for the last 45 seconds. It should take 3-4 minutes for the pakoras to fully cook. Using a slotted spoon, remove pakoras from oil and drain well. Once the oil has stopped dripping completely, only then place on kitchen paper. Adjust the temperature of you oil so it is back to a medium heat and then repeat with the remaining bread.
  • Enjoy with you tomato ketchup or your favourite dipping sauces!
    *If you want to get fancy, you can spread your favourite chutney/sauce on one side of the bread pieces before dipping in the batter, for an extra hit of flavour*

Chicken Kathi Roll (Eggless)

The chicken kathi roll or simply “chicken roll” as it’s known as in Kolkata (the birth place of this mouth watering treat) is my favourite street food snack. Ever. When you try it, you’ll know why. The classic chicken roll combo features a soft paratha layered with a fried egg, spicy chicken pieces traditionally cooked in a tandoor and red onion slices pickled in lime. Tastegasm much? (That is a word in the dictionary by the way. Well, The Urban Dictionary – but a dictionary nonetheless). On my first trip to Kolkata I ate loads of these and dragged my family to Nizam’s – the restaurant that “invented” the Kathi Roll. I can’t verify that fact, though what is certain is that their rolls were unbelievable.

When I returned home I was itching to recreate them. The kathi roll purists may note I have made a tweak to the classic (omitting the fried egg to make it slightly lighter) but my recipe still packs a punch and leaves you wanting more. Promise! 

Chicken Kathi Roll Recipe
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 4 Lachha Parathas (Recipe: http://spicediary.com/2017/11/lachha-parataha-punjabi-layered-flatbreads/)
To make the chicken
  1. 6 skinlesss boneless thighs, (approx. 750g) cut into 1” chunks
  2. 4 heaped tbsp yoghurt
  3. 2“ ginger, grated
  4. 3 garlic cloves, grated
  5. 2 tbsp oil
  6. 1 ½ tsp salt or according to taste
  7. 1 tsp garam masala
  8. ½ tsp haldi
  9. ½ tsp paprika
  10. ½ tsp coriander powder
  11. ½ tsp cumin powder
  12. ½ tsp chilli powder or according to taste
  13. 2 tsp tandoori powder (optional)
You will also need
  1. 2 tbsp mustard oil (you can use a normal cooking oil instead)
  2. 1 large onion, finely chopped
Red Onion Salad
  1. 2 red onions, very thinly sliced
  2. 1 birds eye chilli, finely chopped
  3. Juice of 1 ½ limes
  4. ¼ tsp sugar
Instructions
  1. Turn on your grill at the highest temperature setting & line a baking tray. Place all of the “to make the chicken” ingredients in a bowl & mix well.
  2. Scatter the chicken pieces on the baking tray & place in the grill for 12-14 minutes or until fully cooked and remove from grill. (The chicken should be white all the way through).
  3. Heat mustard oil in a pan. Add the onions & cook until light golden. Then add the grilled chicken & mix. Sautee for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Check for salt and adjust accordingly.
  4. To make the salad, combine all ingredients together in a bowl. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Taste for sweetness/sourness and adjust accordingly.
  5. To assemble the kathi roll, place a paratha on a plate, top with chicken and onion salad (as pictured) and roll up in foil.
Notes
  1. You can use paneer, red onions and green peppers instead of chicken to prepare vegetarian kathi rolls!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Lachha Paratha – Punjabi Layered Flatbreads

Although lachha parathas are a popular North Indian bread, the first time I ever tried them was in the South of India! I was very young but it was such a memorable meal. We had been on the road for 4 hours traveling from Chennai to Pondicherry when hunger struck. It was late but we found a roadside “dhabba” restaurant looking like it was about to close up. Being in the south we (naturally) asked (begged) for the dosa menu but alas, as it was closing time, we were told all they could prepare for us were lachha parathas and raita.

A few minutes later we had plates of crispy, buttery & flakey parathas before us and we devoured them as if we hadn’t eaten in days. To sum up how I felt, if it was possible, I would have inserted all variations of smiley emojis here. You get the drift. They were sensational.

Mum had never made them at home before but everything changed when we returned! They’re perfect for mopping up curries, as a base for wraps and rolls or even on their own with some raita and pickles. Try them and let me know what you think!

Lachha Parathas
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups (approx. 135g) plain flour plus extra flour for dusting
  2. 1 tbsp oil or melted ghee
  3. 1 cup water approx.
  4. Oil and ghee/melted butter for cooking
Instructions
  1. Place the flour and oil/melted ghee in a mixing bowl. Rub the oil/ghee into the flour with your hand so they are well incorporated. Now add the water gradually and begin to combine the flour and water to make a rough dough. It should be soft but not sticky. Cover with cling film and rest for 20 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, grease your hand with oil and knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until the dough is pliable and smooth. (If it is too sticky, you can add a little dry flour and if it seems to stiff or dry, add a little water and re-knead). It should be soft, smooth and springy.
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan and fill a wide deep bowl with plain flour.
  4. Divide the dough into 6 smooth round balls.
  5. Press one dough ball in the flour and then turn it over and press the other side. Using a rolling pin, begin to roll out so the dough ball forms a disc approx 7-8" wide.
  6. Now, generously spread ghee or oil over the surface and sprinkle on some dry plain flour.
  7. Start making small pleat-like folds, about ½ inch wide, starting from one side of the circle and working toward the other side. The more pleats you make, the more layers the paratha will have. You will end up with a long narrow strip.
  8. Stretch it out slightly. Now roll up the strip like a Danish swirl.
  9. Tuck in the end. Press flat and press both sides into the dry flour.
  10. Now begin to roll out until 7-8 inches wide. Dust off any excess flour by clapping the paratha between your hands.
  11. Place the paratha on the hot pan. When it changes colour and small bubbles begin to appear, turn it over and cook the other side. Lightly brush the surface with oil and turn it over.
  12. Repeat on other side and cook until your paratha is golden and crispy. Remove from heat. You can finish by brushing with butter or leave it as it is.
  13. Repeat with the remaining dough balls.
Notes
  1. If you're making them to serve on their own with raita/pickles, you can add a pinch of salt when making the dough.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/