Spicy Urad Dal Lentil Pakoras


“The World is much smaller than what it used to be”… or so I keep hearing.  The number of conversations that seem to start with “Back in MY day…. blah blah blah”, seems to be growing daily… and even my brother (he’s only 18 months older than me) is getting in on the act.  What prompted this morning’s historic lamenting was the hour-long conversation I had with my Grandma in Jaipur on Skype! That’s right… I have a techno-Gran! No “Telegram” (what is that?) or faded blue-paper air-mail to keep in touch for us. My Gran is getting younger by the day, and is mos-def moving with the times!
Having said that… somethings never change. It still takes half an hour to get a decent connection, and the conversation still starts with the obligatory, and reassuringly loud “Haaalllllloooooo Monnneeeeee. Kaise hi tu? Vot time izit in UK?”
We caught up. She told me how her neighbour’s younglings were stealing mangos from the tree in the garden (as I said… some things never change-this is one of my favourite pastimes too!), and I relayed my trials of love, life and of course…food.
What a great way to start the day-what could top that? Well, very little in my book, but I did go on to make myself some Dal Pakoras and some cardamom chai. Bliss. If you haven’t tried them yet, well… get it sorted! Moreish, spiced and crunchy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside…yep, I’m going to eat some more before my brother gets hold of them!
Enjoy the recipe, and let me know what you think!
Spicy Urad Dal Pakoras
Serves 4
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  1. 1/2 cup of urad lentils ("split white washed urad" is the variety you will need)
  2. 4 tbsp water
  3. 3 green chillis (can vary according to your personal preference), roughly chopped
  4. 2" ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  5. Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
  6. 1 small onion, finely diced
  7. 3/4 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp paprika powder
  9. 1tsp coriander seeds, coarsely ground
  10. Pinch of asafoetida (optional)
  11. Oil for frying
  1. Soak urad lentils for 3-4 hours. Then wash well and rinse.
  2. Add ginger & chilli to a food processor and grind briefly until coarsely ground. Remove and place into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Now add the urad lentils to the food processor along with the water. Grind for a good 2-3 minutes until a thick, smooth paste forms. It should be similar to the consistency of humous. Empty into the mixing bowl containing the chills & ginger.
  4. To the bowl, add the fresh coriander, onions, salt, paprika, coriander seeds and asafoetida.
  5. Using one hand, mix the mixture for 2-3 minutes until all of the ingredients are well combined
  6. Heat oil in a pan on low/medium heat. Once hot, using your hand, drop medium sized balls of the mixture about 3" wide into the oil. If you prefer, you may use a tablespoon. Ensure you leave a little room between each pakora and that the pan is not too overcrowded.
  7. Once all of the pakoras rise to the top of the pan, turn them over using a metal slotted spoon. Allow to cook for a further 3-4 minutes. You should now begin to see the colour of the pakoras change so they are golden. Once you see this, turn each pakora over an continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  8. Once the pakoras are golden all the way around, remove from oil and drain on a kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  9. Serve hot with tamarind chutney or tomato ketchup!
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/



Spicy Vegetable Pakoras

Last month John Lewis got in touch to invite me to submit a recipe for their Delicious Magazine Hotpoint fridge competition. This competition is now live. I was asked to create a quick and easy recipe that can be made using ingredients and leftovers often found at the back of the fridge.

I came up with a recipe that’s a great way to use up leftover vegetables. It’s a simple recipe and makes a filling and delicious snack that tastes great with fresh, home made chutneys or as a side dish without being too heavy. In India, pakoras are particularly relished during the monsoon season with a hot cup of fragrant, cardamom chai. Living in Manchester, we’re lucky enough to experience a prolonged year round monsooon season, so I regularly indulge in making this appetising snack! This recipe is customisable and works well with whatever vegetables you may have leftover in your fridge…

Makes approx 20 pakoras

What we need:

120g gram flour (ground chickpea flour)
100g of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 small potatoes, diced
1/2 carrot, diced
1 Green birds-eye chilli, finely chopped
1-2 tsp salt (or according to taste)
1 tsp Paprika powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Garam masala powder
1 tsp Whole coriander seeds
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
Oil for frying

How we do:

  • Combine all of the vegetables with all of the spices & herbs in a large mixing bowl.
  •  Add the gram flour and gradually begin to sprinkle on the water until the mixture begins to bind together. Make sure the mixture does not become too wet-the vegetables should be evenly coated yet visible.
  • Tip: Make sure to sprinkle the water rather than pouring it into the batter to bind the ingredients together – this will ensure your pakoras are crispy and light.
  • Heat 10cms oil in a medium-sized deep frying pan or a small wok on medium heat. To check if the oil is hot enough, place one drop of batter into the oil. The batter should rise to the top but should not change colour immediately.
  • Fry small spoonfuls or clusters of the pakora mixtures in batches of 4-6 at a time for about 3-5 minutes until they are golden brown in colour.
  • Remove the pakoras from the oil with a slotted spoon. Drain off excess oil and place on paper towels. Serve hot with green coriander chutney or sweet tamarind sauce.


    To view John Lewis’ range of cookware products and fridges, check out their website here.