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*

Masala Porridge

Covid-19 is here in the UK and we sadly have no idea for how long. The supermarket shelves are becoming empty. Panic buying is a very real thing. Oh and move over sterling, toilet paper is our new currency.

For those of you who are finding it difficult to source ingredients or are currently in isolation, I wanted to share a series of recipes consisting of my favourite simple recipes using store cupboard staples!

Today’s recipe is one I make at least twice a week. Cook it for breakfast, lunch or dinner – it’s quick, easy and you can pack it with as many veggies as you like.

 I love that it’s creamy, crunchy & spicy all in one. It’s also accidentally vegan, gluten free & oil free so tis a proper crowd pleaser. I like to top the porridge with mango pickle & some Greek yoghurt. My other half really likes a fried egg on top – but then I think he likes a fried egg on top of most things. Point is – get creative people!

This recipe asks for fresh coriander if you have it in. A nice little tip on keeping fresh herbs like coriander for longer, is to wash and dry them well (a salad spinner is best followed by patting dry with a tea towel). Then, finely chop with stems and pop in a freezer safe bag and then into the freezer. That way, you can add a handful to your cooking as and when you need!

If you’re on instagram, peep my “Masala Porridge” highlights to view a step by step tutorial on how to cook it.

For those in isolation who have any recipe requests or questions, please comment below. I am more than happy to help.

Take care y’all x

Masala Porridge

monicasawhney
Cook Time 8 mins
Servings 2 people

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup (approx 110g) porridge oats
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tomato diced diced
  • 1 small carrot finely diced (you can add whatever veg you like – broccoli, sweetcorn/peas/beans all work well)
  • 1 green birds eye chilli finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp double concentrate tomato puree (you can also use 2-3 tbsp passata)
  • 3/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp amchur/mango powder Or you can use a good squeeze of half a lime
  • handful fresh coriander roughly chopped (optional)
  • You wil also need water

Instructions
 

  • Heat a non-stick pan. Once hot, tip in the porridge oats followed by the cumin seeds.
  • Toast on a medium/high heat, stirring continuously.
  • After a minute or two, when you see the oats being to change colour and become slightly darker, add the tomatoes, carrots and chilli as well as the tomato puree. 
  • Now add enough water so everything is just covered. 
  • Now add salt, turmeric, paprika, garam masala and amchur/lime juice.Mix well.
  • Allow the porridge to thicken slightly and come to a boil. Reduce to low/medium heat and simmer for a further minute.
  • Sprinkle on fresh coriander and remove from heat. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly. 
  • Enjoy on its own or with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and your favourite pickle!

Spicy Chickpea Pancakes (Besan ka Puda)

Today is Shrove Tuesday – the day before Ash Wednesday and is chiefly celebrated by feasting on pancakes. Lots of them. My kind of celebration.

As a kid I used to enjoy the English crepe style pancakes topped with lemon and sugar. Simple, satisfying and delish. When I lived in the States whilst at uni, I was introduced to the American style pancakes. Soft and fluffy (with ridiculous toppings). Also delish.

There is another type of pancake that I also enjoy and that’s the Punjabi one aka Besan Ka Puda. Made from gram flour, spices, coriander & red onions – it’s spicy, crispy and soft all at the same time. And yes you guessed it – it also gets FULL MARKS on the delish scale. Served with a dollop of yoghurt alongside your favourite pickle and washed down with a cup of hot milky tea, it’s a real crowd and stomach pleaser. Here’s a delicious garlic dill zucchini pickles recipe you could pair with it. Want to know how to make it? Course you do! Scroll on down for the recipe. Ps. This pancake is accidentally gluten free & vegan (without tasting like it). Win win I say.

Spicy Chickpea Pancakes (Besan ka Puda)

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups (180g) gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 large handful fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp mango powder (amchur)
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing) optional
  • 2 cups water (same cups used to measure flour)
  • oil

Instructions
 

  • Add 1 tsp of oil in the non stick frying pan and spread over using a kitchen paper. Heat the frying pan on a medium/high heat setting. 
  • Place all ingredients apart from the oil into a large bowl. Whisk well for 1-2 minutes until ingredients have combined together to create a thin batter. Taste for salt and chilli before cooking and adjust accordingly.
  • Pour in 1 ladle of batter and tilt the pan so that the batter spreads all over the base. Reduce heat to low/medium then cook for 2 to 3minutes, or until it starts to come away from the sides. Brush the pancake with a little oil.
  • Once golden underneath, flip the pancake over and cook the other side for 2-3 minutes, or until cooked through.
  • The pancake should be slightly crispy on the edges and golden brown all over. Remove and serve with greek yoghurt and your favourite Indian pickles/chutneys. Repeat with the remaining batter.