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*

Fish Pakoras

Fish pakoras are my absolute favourite, so I was really excited to see that you guys totally agree – you voted to see a recipe for these in last month’s Twitter poll. I apologise it has taken me a little longer than usual to get this out to you, but I’ve been super busy setting up the The Spice Club’s new cookery classes in Birmingham (Eeek… can’t wait!). 

I appreciate the last couple of posts have focused on “deep fried goodness” – clearly a sign that my body is going into hibernation mode, but I couldn’t resist. I really hope you enjoy these delightful morsels of deliciousness.  Let me know what you think! Tweet/facebook/insta me….heck linkedin me if you must. I love feedback. 

Fish Pakoras
Serves 2
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Fish marination
  1. 250g boneless fish fillets, cut into bitesize chunks (cod/hake/basa work well)
  2. 3/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  3. 1/4 tsp turmeric
  4. Juice of half lemon
  5. 2 birds eye green chillies, finely chopped
  6. 2 cloves garlic minced/grated
  7. 1 cm ginger, minced/grated (optional)
For the batter/coating
  1. 1 tsp chilli powder or according to taste
  2. 1/2 tsp ajwain/carom seeds (optional)
  3. 1 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed
  4. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 3/4 tsp tandoori masala (optional)
  6. 4 tbsp gram flour
  7. 1 tbsp rice flour/cornflour
  8. 2 tbsp yoghurt (greek style preferable)
You will also need
  1. Oil for deep frying (sunflower/veg oil work well)
Instructions
  1. Place all the "fish marination" ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Leave aside for 20 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a pan (a small wok type pan works best) on a low heat setting.
  3. To this bowl, now add the "batter" ingredients and gently combine everything together (it is best to use your hand to do this). Every piece of fish should be well coated in a thick paste like batter. (You may need to adjust the amount of gram flour or yoghurt to achieve this thick paste consistency).
  4. Increase the heat of the oil pan and test the temperature of the oil by adding in a small piece of fish/batter. It should take about 5 seconds for it to rise from the bottom of the pan to the top.
  5. Now carefully add the fish pieces to the oil. Cook in batches and do not overcrowd the pan.
  6. Fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Each piece should be crisp and golden all over.
  7. Remove from oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/
 

INDIAN SCOTCH EGGS

When it comes to Diwali, I love to greet my guests with a table laden with finger food and snacks. The aim of the evening is to feed them until they’re so full they have to roll home, so I have to start in the night the right way!
As part of my Diwali feast this year, I will be making a fusion dish that brings a spicy twist to a quintessential British snack – the Scotch Egg. Replacing the traditional meat covering with spicy potatoes, the Indian scotch egg is a mouth watering variation on the classic. The first time I tried these was in Kolkata and it blew my mind. The flavour, the heat, the concept…I was transported to a place of pure bliss!

Though the list of ingredients runs slightly on the longer side, I thankfully have an Asda* near me where I can do all my shopping in one go. With all the ingredients in place, let’s get cooking.  Remember, you can make this simple yet sumptuous starter for Diwali in a jiffy and without spending a fortune. Just pop into your nearest Asda and make the most of their Diwali offers! 

*Although I have been sponsored to write this post, I am an actual Asda customer and can genuinely vouch for the variety of Indian products at their stores. 

Dimer Devil | Indian Scotch Eggs
Yields 5
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Ingredients
  1. 5 small/medium eggs
Potato coating
  1. 2 large potatoes (approx 450g potatoes), boiled, peeled & mashed with a fork
  2. Salt to taste
  3. ½ tsp chili powder
  4. ½ tsp garam masala
  5. ½ tsp coriander powder
  6. 1 birds eye green chilli, finely chopped
  7. Small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  8. 4 tbsp oil
  9. 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  10. 1 tsp garlic paste
  11. 1 tsp ginger paste
Coating
  1. 1 egg for egg wash, beaten with 2 tbsp of water
  2. 2 slices of bread made intro crumbs/100g panko breadcrumbs seasoned with salt
You will also need
  1. Sunflower oil for deep frying
How to
  1. 1. Place eggs in pan full of water and bring to boil. Set timer for 7 minutes. Remove eggs from heat and immediately place in a bowl of cold water. Once cooled, carefully peel them.
  2. 2. Place the potatoes, dry spices, chilli and coriander in a bowl and mix well.
  3. 3. Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions, ginger and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until light golden. Now add the mashed potato and mix to incorporate everything.. Continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Taste for salt & adjust if you need to.
  4. 4. Once cool, divide mixture into 5 balls. Next, wrap each potato ball evenly around each egg.
  5. 5. Then place the eggs and breadcrumbs into 2 separate plates.
  6. 6. Dip a potato wrapped egg into the beaten egg, followed by the breadcrumbs.
  7. 7. Carefully place into a pan filled halfway with of oil at 160ºC (medium heat). Repeat with the next egg. Cook a couple at a time for 4-5 minutes or until crisp and golden all over. Remove and drain on a wire tray/kitchen paper.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/