Bengali Dal Pakoras

Yesterday’s live cookery class was a lot of fun. We headed over to the East of India and cooked up delicious Bengali style lentil pakoras.

Lentil pakoras are made all over India in a variety of ways. The types of lentil, spices and texture profiles are tweaked from region to region and they’re all absolutely delicious.

I made a couple of tweaks to the classic Bengali “Daler Bora” (sorry Bengalis – it’s the North Indian in me!) and hope you enjoy the recipe. If you are deep frying for the first time, have a look back at the live class as I broke down how to fry without fear! I also shared plenty of tips on how to ensure your pakoras are perfectly cooked on the inside and nice and crispy on the outside.

Do let me know how you get on with making these and how they turn out for you. Dipped into your favourite chutney or dipping sauce, they’re a hit with children and oldies alike!

Also, I am working on something *incredibly exciting*. I can’t say anything yet, however if you’re a spice lover and like the idea of mastering Indian cuisine you WILL want to sign up to my new exclusive mailing list. That way, you’ll be the first to know when I do make the grand reveal!

In the mean time, happy cooking! The next live is on 10th July! x

Bengali Lentil Pakoras

Servings 20 pakoras (approx)

Equipment

  • small wok or wide sauce pan
  • slotted spoon
  • Blender

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup approx 165g masoor/split red lentils washed 3-4 times & soaked for 2 hours in water
  • 2 cms ginger grated
  • 1 large clove garlic grated
  • 1-2 green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt or according to taste
  • 2 tsp whole coriander seeds coarsely crushed in a pestle and mortar (you can also use coriander powder)
  • 1/2 tsp amchur mango powder optional
  • 1/2-1 tsp chilli flakes according to taste
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
  • 1 small onion (90g) finely diced
  • Oil for deep frying sunflower/vegetable oils work well

Instructions
 

  • Soak the lentils in water for a couple of hours. Then rinse well and drain.
  • Measure 1/4 cup or 40-50mls of water and keep aside. Add the lentils to a blender along with half the amount of the water. Blend together. Then scrape down the sides of the blender jug and a little more water and blend again .You may need to repeat this once again.
  • Aim for the dal paste to be the consistency of a thick hummus. It can be a little grainy but should hold its form.You may need to adjust the water amount to achieve this so judge accordingly.
  • Heat oil in your pan (small wok work best) on low/medium heat.
  • Using a spatula, remove the lentil paste from the processor and add to a mixing bowl. Then add the ginger, chilli, salt, dry spices, fresh coriander and using your hand mix well. Finally, add the onions and mix again.
  • When the oil is hot, place 1 tablespoon of the batter into the oil. The pakora should come up to the top of the oil. Carefully shape and add more pakoras to the oil. Cook in small batched being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for a couple of minutes on a medium heat. Use your slotted spoon to gently turn them over every 10 seconds or so. When you see them turn light golden in colour, increase your heat setting to high and cook until fully golden. (It should take about 5 minutes in total).
  • Remove from oil with a slotted spoon. Allow the oil to drain off the pakoras fully. Then place on kitchen paper. Lower the heat and allow the oil to cool sightly before you do the next batch. Repeat and enjoy with your favourite dipping sauce!

Notes

Tip!
When making the dal paste, if you do find you have added too much water in error and it is too wet, you can add a little gram flour and a pinch of salt to help thicken. You should be able to spoon the mixture into a roundel.
 
 

Keralan Fried Chicken (or Cauliflower) #KFC

They say you shouldn’t mess with a classic and don’t get me wrong, the colonel’s recipe is good – I regularly crave it. But, in my very humble opinion..injecting the classic with some spice and heat takes it to another level! My Mum introduced me to the idea of an “Indian-ified” KFC. When my brother and I were kids, she used to make it for us on birthdays or special occasions.

I originally created my own version for a web series I did with Tastemade a little while back (video below!) a couple of years ago. It has wonderful Keralan/South Indian flavours which add depth, aroma & heat. The chicken is first marinated in coconut milk, curry leaves, ginger, chilli n garlic. Then coated in coconut & plain flour and deep fried until golden and crisp. It also works incredibly well with cauliflower if you want to make a veggy/vegan version!

I hope you like this recipe! Let me know your thoughts on on InstaTwitter or Facebook.

Oh and don’t forget to join me next Friday on 29th May for my next live cook-along class. Keep posted to my social media over the next few days to see what we will be making.

Happy cooking y’all x

Keralan Fried Chicken (KFC)

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken thighs skinless. Use cauliflower florets for a veggy/vegan version.
  • 200 ml coconut milk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 ” fresh ginger root
  • 2 birds eye green chillies
  • 4 stems fresh coriander washed
  • 2 stems curry leaves, de-stemmed & washed optional
  • 1 ½ – 2tsp salt according to taste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • sunflower/vegetable oil for deep frying
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 100 g coconut flour If you don’t have this, just use 200g plain flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp onion powder optional
  • 6 stems curry leaves washed, dried and de-stemmed for garnishing (optional)

Instructions
 

  • In a blender, blitz coconut milk, garlic, ginger, chillies, coriander and curry leaves and empty into a bowl. Add the chicken along with salt, garam masala, coriander powder, paprika and turmeric. Cover & refrigerate for as long as possible (24 hours is best) but at least a couple of hours.
  • Place the plain flour, coconut flour, salt, pepper, chilli flakes and onion powder in a shallow bowl and combine.
  • Allow the chicken to come to room temperature before cooking. Place enough oil in a pan so it is about 4-5" deep and place on a low/medium heat. I like to use a small-medium sized wok.
  • Now shake off any excess coconut milk marinade from the chicken and dredge each piece in the flour and evenly coat Then place the chicken piece back in the marinade, shake off any excess and dredge in the flour once again. (I like to use one hand for placing the chicken in the marinade and the other hand for placing the chicken in the flour as it is less messy this way!).
  • Very carefully place into a medium pan of oil at 180ºC. Repeat with the next piece. Cook 2 pieces at a time to keep the temperature from falling.
  • Cook for 8-9 minutes. Then use a pair of tongues to carefully turn each chicken piece once golden. Cook until golden brown on the other side. The chicken should be cooked and white in colour internally. You can also use a thermometer probe to check the internal temperature is 75 ºC.
  • Remove chicken pieces from oil using a slotted spoon and then place on a wire tray/rack to drain.
  • Now, place the curry leaves into the same hot oil. They may splatter slightly so be careful. Deep fry for 5-10 seconds. Remove and drain using a slotted spoon and then place on kitchen paper. Allow them to cool slightly until crisp, then crush the curry leaves with your hands and sprinkle over fried chicken.
  • Serve with your KFC with your favourite dipping sauce/Indian chutney!

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.
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