Pakoras and bhajis

I think that most people who like Indian food like onion bhajis and pakoras. They are easy to make. The important thing is to use gram (chickpea) flour to make the batter.

The batter is simple. You mix the gram flour with a heaped teaspoon of powdered turmeric, another of garam masala, a teaspoon of salt and some baking powder, breaking up the lumps that gram flour always seems to form and then you add water, whisking it in to make a thick smooth batter, which you can leave to stand for a few hours.

At this point, I poured off half the batter for pakoras and kept the rest for onion bhajis.

For the pakoras I chopped up a couple of green chillies and added them to the batter, together with some parboiled cubes of carrot and potato, some defrosted frozen peas, some finely chopped and parboiled green beans, some chopped red pepper and a small handful of fresh curry leaves. This was all mixed together and left to stand until required.

The bhajis were even simpler. I just added a couple of thinly sliced red onions to the batter and stirred them in.

I deep fry my pakoras and bhajis in a wok, but you can use a saucepan. I don’t use a deep fat fryer, because you end up with little bits of batter in the oil and that means you’ll have to drain the oil through a sieve to remove them afterwards.

You need the oil to be hot, very hot really and you fry the batter a tablespoonful or so at a time. I always cook the first one on its own and then once I know the oil is hot enough, cook them four at a time, draining them on kitchen paper to remove excess oil. They cook pretty quickly, probably for no more than two minutes per batch.

Unlike the perfectly-shaped ones you are served in Indian restaurants, home-made ones are far mor randomly-shaped, but that hardly matters, because they taste great, either as part of an Indian meal with pickles and relishes or as a snack on their own.

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