Cauliflower pakoras

I’m pretty sure cauliflower pakoras are a tried-and-tested staple of at least some Indian kitchens, but I’d never tried these before I made them myself, and it was really just one of those kitchen experiments that turned out to be worth sharing… 😉

Cauliflower, as it turns out, makes the best pakoras – the texture of the florets is perfect for holding onto a light batter, making these cook evenly to a crispy-crunchy finish and ensuring the cauliflower itself is cooked through by the time the batter is perfect.

A combination of crunchy batter, fragrant spices, and a deliciously sweet, tangy chutney ensures these pakoras will fly off the plate before they’ve even cooled enough to eat without burning! Pair these pakoras with nectarine chutney for yumminess, or persimmon chutney for a to-die-for palate pleaser, and you’ll have dinner guests begging for a space at the table.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get in the kitchen and get cracking…! 😉

Flavour: Savoury & slightly spiced

Serves: 4-6 as a snack or starter

Ingredients:

  • half a cauliflower
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 heaped teaspoon coriander seed
  • quarter teaspoon salt
  • half cup besan (chickpea) flour
  • half cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil

 

Directions:

  1. Break your cauliflower into large florets, big enough to be either 2 bites-worth, or one very large one
  2. Combine your cumin seed and coriander seed in a pestle and mortar, and grind to a coarse powder – this should be quick and easy, just a few seconds’ work
  3. Combine your cumin and coriander powder in a large mixing bowl with the salt and besan flour
  4. Gradually add water to your flour and spice mix until you have a thick but still runny batter – you may need a little more or less water than I’ve suggested, so go with your gut, not precise measurements
  5. Heat oil over maximum temperature in a non-stick wok or frying pan – you need the oil really hot before you cook the pakoras
  6. While your oil is heating, toss your cauliflower florets gently in the batter, being sure to coat each piece as evenly as possible
    • Amateur tip: I usually chuck it all in together and get my hands in there, as it does a better job of coating the cauliflower than trying to use a spoon or spatula, and there’s no need to go one-by-one to get this done well
  7. Pop a piece of battered cauliflower in the hot oil to test the cooking temperature – if it sizzles hard and fast, and you can turn it for even cooking after 10-15 seconds, then your oil is hot enough to cook your pakoras
  8. Fry off the rest of your cauliflower in batches so it doesn’t all stick together (I find that this amount of cauliflower will easily be done in 2 batches in a large wok)
  9. Drain your cauliflower pakoras on a large kitchen paper-covered plate, and pat them dry
  10. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately while piping hot and crunchy

I like to serve these with a sweet, tangy, slightly spiced chutney – mango is a great staple, but I really like nectarine chutney for this, and my absolute favourite, for its sheer sweet decadence, is persimmon chutney… 😛

 

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