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.
 
 

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/
 

Pyaaz Pakoras | Onion Bhajis

The Pakora… it’s as much of a favourite in restaurants, as it is at home. It’s so versatile – a great starter, a spicy canapé, a party nibble… but for me, as it is for most of my family, the pakora is the perfect comfort food. It belongs in the same class as the “onesie”, hot chocolate and mince pies! So it’s not a surprise that this recipe is such a favourite at my cookery classes.

You can make a pakora from basically anything – it’s an excellent way to recycle your left over veggies (and use up pesky things like broccoli stalks!). Crispy on the outside, steaming hot, spicy and fluffy on the inside – onion pakoras (or to be authentic… “pyaaz pakoras”) are my absolute favourite when I’m cold and in need of an internal hug.

So if you need an alternative for your mince pie this winter… try this – you will not regret it.

 

Pyaaz Pakoras | Onion Bhajis
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 onion, thinly sliced (paper thin long slices)
  2. 1 small potato, peeled and very finely diced
  3. 1 birds eye green chilli, finely chopped
  4. 1⁄2 tsp salt or according to taste
  5. 2 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed in a pestle & morta
  6. 1⁄2 tsp paprika
  7. 1⁄4 tsp turmeric
  8. Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
  9. 1 measuring cup of gram flour
  10. Water to bind
  11. Sunflower/vegetable oil for deep frying
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients apart from the gram flour, water and oil into a bowl. Mix well so everything is incorporated. Now add in the gram flour and mix well.
  2. Gradually add enough water to bind the vegetables with the gram flour. You should be able to form clumps of the mixture with your hand/a spoon. If you find the mixture is not clumping - add more gram flour. Taste the mixture and adjust salt/chilli accordingly.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan (a small wok works best for this & you will need about 3-4" oil). Once the oil is hot, carefully place clusters of the pakora mixture into the hot oil (if you're confident, you can use your hands to do this or to feel more comfortable, use a tablespoon).
  4. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry on medium heat until the pakoras are golden-brown all over. It should take about 3-5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the remainder of the pakora mixture.
Notes
  1. To test the temperature of the oil, place a little cluster of the batter into the oil. It should take about 5-6 seconds to rise to the top of the pan. If it comes straight up, it is too hot. Take the oil off he heat and allow to cool. If it stays at the bottom, continue to heat the oil.
  2. You may need to adjust the temperature of your pan as you begin to fry the pakoras as the temperature of the oil will drop. As a general rule it should take 3-5 minutes to ensure they are golden and cooked all the way through.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/