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/

 

 

 

 

 

Bhindi Dopiyaza – Spiced Okra & Onions

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Lady fingers, okra, bhindi. Whatever you call them…they tend to split the opinion polls! Some love them. Some hate them-well they think hate them…I am of the opinion that they just haven’t had them cooked well yet!  I am (obviously) a fan and a huge one at that. Okra tends to get a bad rep for it’s slimy texture but with the right recipe, this dish will become a favourite and a firm part of your culinary repetoire.

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Containing high levels of vitamin A & B and folic acid, okra is super healthy and quick to make. Layered with heat, tang and slight sweetness, bhindi dopiyaza is perfect gobbled up with buttery chapatis.

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Bhindi Dopiyaza
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  3. 1 tsp nigella seeds
  4. 500g okra
  5. 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  6. 2 birds eye chillis, finely chopped
  7. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  8. pinch of sugar
  9. 1 tsp garam masala
  10. 1/2 tsp paprika
  11. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  12. 1 tsp amchur (sun-dried mango powder)
  13. 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
  14. handful of chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a non stick pan. Now add the cumin and nigella seeds.
  2. When they begin to sizzle, place the onions, chillis and okra in the pan and add salt. Mix well and cook on medium heat for approx 5 minutes, mixing every couple of minutes. You will see slime strands at this point.
  3. Reduce heat low and place lid on pan and cook for 5-7 minutes, mixing it every couple of minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the slime strands begin to reduce and eventually disappear.
  5. Now add the spices and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and coriander and mix. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Mix well and remove from heat.
Notes
  1. It's important to cook out the okras until the slime strands disappear. Slightly overcooked okra is perfect for this type of dish!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Indian Spicy Masala Porridge

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It’s been a busy start to the New Year! My other half and I decided it would be a good idea to begin 2016 by completing a job that had been collecting dust at the bottom of our “To Do” list for a little while. A task we had been putting off for months… redecorating the house. 

What followed were multiple trips to various DIY stores to pick everything from masking tape and sanding paper to paint brushes and light fittings. Annoyingly, we scrutinised over every detail. The combination of being indecisive and new to the situation did not help either. It also meant we learnt LOTS along the way. For example did you know that skirting board comes in more than one size – and that you should probably check you have the right size before cutting it. Who knew?! (Ps. If anyone needs some 14cm skirting board please holler… my shed will thank you). 

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If you have ever had work done in your home, you will know two things very well: 1) How disruptive it can be to your everyday routine… and… 2)How quickly dust becomes your arch enemy-it gets everywhere! We cleared most things into our guest room and kitchen which meant that cooking, was well… a royal pain in the bottom. It also meant that during that time, I often defaulted to cooking dishes that were stress free and quick and easy to make. That brings me to today’s recipe! (Excellent segue skills, I know). Spicy masala porridge is my go to dish when I’m craving something filling & comforting and it should be yours too. It also gets bonus points for only taking 10 minutes to make! It’s creamy & crunchy and topped with some mango pickle and plain yoghurt, it’s a real crowd pleaser. So much so that the dating website Match.com featured this recipe on their website! (Check it out here).

Ps. I am now very pleased to say that our decorating is now complete and we have now settled back into our fresher & somewhat newer looking, home (yay!). 

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Indian Spicy Masala Porridge
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (240g) of porridge oats
  2. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  3. 2 ½ cups water
  4. 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  5. 1 tomato diced, diced into ½ cm pieces
  6. 1 small carrot, diced into ½ cm pieces
  7. 2 broccoli florets, cut into small chunks
  8. 1 green birds eye chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  9. 1tsp salt or according to taste
  10. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  11. ¼ tsp paprika
  12. ¼ tsp garam masala
  13. 1/4 tsp amchur/mango powder (optional)
  14. handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat a non-stick pan and add the porridge oats and cumin.
  2. Toast on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously.
  3. When you see the oats being to change colour and become slightly darker, add the water immediately.
  4. Increase the heat to high and add the onions, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and chilli.
  5. Mix well. Now add salt, turmeric, paprika, garam masala and amchur.
  6. Allow the porridge to thicken and come to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle on fresh coriander and remove from heat.
  8. Enjoy on its own or with a dollop of yoghurt and mango pickle!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/