Bread Pakoras #spiceclubstaples

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 #SpiceClubStaples!

CV 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

Cook Time8 mins
Servings: 2 people
Author: monicasawhney

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240g) 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/hight 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!

Roasted Gosht Palak Lamb Spinach Curry

This slow roasted Lamb Gosht Palak was the star of the show at my recent Mughlai cookery class. Marinated lamb roasted in whole spices and a glorious caramelised rich masala. 3 words = melt in mouth. A dish fit for a Moghul King or Queen ????. When I posted a snap of this on instagram and facebook, I didn’t expect so many requests for the recipe. (I also didn’t realise the pool of green spinach would turn out to be so photogenic). Thankfully this dish tastes as good as it looks so enjoy the recipe. Pop a comment or share a photo of your recreation if you make it!

Roasted Gosht Palak Lamb Spinach Curry

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 850 g leg of lamb boneless cut into 2” chunks
  • 4 tbsp yoghurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala

To cook the lamb:

  • 5 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 green cardamoms crushed open
  • 1 black cardamom crushed open
  • 3 cms cinnamon stick
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 medium onions thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic grated
  • 3 ” ginger grated
  • 1 ½ tsp salt or according to taste
  • 6 tbsp tomato passata
  • 2 green chillies finely chopped
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 250 g fresh spinach

Instructions

  • • Place all the ingredients in the “marinade ingredients” list in a bowl. Mix together & cover. Ideally allow the lamb to marinate for 24 hours. If not, overnight is acceptable.
    • Pre-heat oven at 220*C. Heat ghee/oil in a pan. Once hot, add the bay leaves, green and black cardamoms, cinnamon stick and cloves. They should begin to splatter immediately.
    • Now add the onions and cook until translucent-this should take about 4-5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic at this point and cook on a medium heat for a further 10-12 minutes or until they turn fully golden brown.
    • Now add the tomato pasata along with the green chilli. Cook for a further minute. Reduce the heat and then add the salt and all of the dry spice powders and cook for 2 minutes.
    • Now add the marinated lamb to the pan. Cook on a medium/high heat, mixing continuously for 5 minutes or until it begins to seal.
    • Now transfer to an ovenproof pan. Add enough water so the lamb is completely covered and place in oven. After 30 minutes, give the lamb curry a mix and reduce temperature to 180*C and place a lid on top.
    • Bring half a cup of pan of water to the boil. Place the spinach in the pan and as soon as it is wilted (should take about 2 minutes) remove and drain using a sieve. Place in a food processor and blitz into a paste. 
    • Once the lamb has been cooking an hour, add the wilted spinach and then cook for a further 45-60 minutes or until the lamb is tender. (If you ever see that the lamb curry is looking a little dry, you can add some water). 
    • Remove from oven. Taste for salt/chilli and adjust accordingly. Finish with fresh coriander.

Notes

 Feel free to pick out the whole spices before serving.
If you want to slow roast, after the first 30 minutes, drop the temperature to 175c and cook for 3-4 hours (checking on it every 40 minutes or so).