Sunday, 14 February 2010

Courgette Pakora

If you are like me and adore Indian food, you might understand the one issue that I have with it.

When entering an Indian restaurant I'm usually hungry on the verge of cannibalism. I scan the starters and mentally choose everything on there, before settling for one with a mound of popadoms and a pickle tray. I then proceed to eat it too fast that the next thing I know, I'm picking over the main course.

The point I'm trying to make is that I love Indian starters. Samosa, pakora, bhaji, aloo chaat, Seekh kebab; you name them, I devour them. So much so that I would actually prefer to just have a table full of them and nothing else.

So this week I turned my hand to transforming a few courgettes into pakora, that little bundle of Indian spiced batter and vegetable that crisps to perfection and pops perfectly into one's hungry gob. They could not be easier to make and the best thing about it is you can make a table full of them with ease using a variety of vegetables. Everything from onion, courgette, aubergine and carrot works. Just remember to get out as much water as you can before frying to ensure crispiness.

Courgette Pakora

Makes lots

3 courgette, grated
100g rice flour
Half tsp baking powder
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
Salt and pepper
Fresh coriander, chopped
Vegetable oil

1 - Put the grated courgette into a tea towel and squeeze thoroughly to get as much water out as possible.
2 - In a bowl, tip in the flour, spices and seasoning. Whisk in enough water to form a paste that's the consistency of double cream and coats the back of a spoon. So not too thick, not too thin. Stir in the courgette and fresh coriander.
3 - Heat up a deep frying pan with vegetable oil. Test a pakora out by dropping in a small teaspoon if the batter. If it immediately begins to fry and turns golden in a minute, the oil is hot enough. Taste for seasoning.
4 - Fry heaped teaspoons in batches, draining on kitchen paper. Serve with fresh coriander and an accompaniment of yoghurt, pickles and/or chutney.