Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Tis the season to empty the fridge...

....of all the odds and ends in the vegetable drawer. I don't know about you, but with all of the celebrating going on at this time of year, my fridge becomes a repository for scraps of vegetables, not to mention sundry other unrecognizable leftovers wrapped in cling wrap.
Here's a great way to use whatever veggies you may have lurking in the corners.

We can turn this

into this;
Vegetable Pakoras with Minted Yoghurt.

I had some Squash, Golden Beet, Anaheim Chillies, Carrot, Ginger root, Shallots and Coriander/Cilantro from various other projects, so I did what I always do when I have leftovers like this, I toss them in the compost  turn it into Pakoras (or Bhajias), depending on which part of India you come from. You can fry leftover veggies in a batter, or in this case, the shredded veggies are mixed with Chick Pea flour (Besan) to form a light paste. They are usually served with a green yoghurt sauce, or a sweet Tamarind sauce. Here, the sauce is made with Mint and Coriander leaves, but more of that later.
You can use any green leaf veggies, Beet leaves, Swiss Chard, (in this case, Arugula or Rocket as it is known in the UK) as long as they are still tender. Fold up the leaves in a parcel and shred with a sharp knife until you have a bunch of thin ribbons (Chiffonade).

Take the seeds out of the Chilli and discard, being careful not to get any juice in your eyes, or any other tender parts of your body, then finely slice. Use only half unless you like the heat. These ones are not too hot, but you can substitute for Jalapenos if you prefer.

Do the same with the Shallot until they both look like this below.

Peel and grate the rest of your veggies, add a little salt to bring out the juices and add them all to a bowl. If you see any red, check your fingertips for missing parts.

Now at this point, you can add any seasoning you have available. If you have Garam Massala, use that. I make my own, shown here, and you can get a recipe off the internet (if not, write me and I'll send you mine). If non of these are available, you can use Curry Powder. Mix well with a fork and then leave to sit while you get the sauce and oil ready.


Put your Mint, Cilantro/Coriander and plain Yoghurt into a small food processor and blend. Add some lemon juice and season. I sometimes add some cucumber too. It's up to you. Set aside in the fridge until you serve the Pakoras

Add the Besan (chickpea flour), teaspoon by teaspoon until the mix holds together. Press it together with your fingers and either roll into small balls, or flatten into fritters. If they fall apart, add a little more flour.
Bring the oil up to about 350 F. If you don't have a thermometer, test by sticking your finger dropping a small piece into the hot fat. It should bubble and rise immediately to the surface. If too hot, they will burn before they are cooked.
Drop (very carefully) each one into the hot oil and keep turning, until a nice golden brown. Try one first to make sure the oil is not too hot. Cook in small batches, leaving time between each batch to bring the temp back up to the right level. They only take a few minutes, so don't walk away from the stove or start texting.
Use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the Pakoras and drain on kitchen paper before serving.

I have used skewers here to make  serving easy.  Drizzle (I hate that word) the sauce on the platter and serve some on the side.
Garnish with mint or cilantro, or anything else you might have lying around.

Enjoy for supper or appetizers for your Christmas party.


  1. I love this! Gorgeous photos. Entertaining writing. Interesting recipe. Thoughtful tips. Please keep writing!!

    1. That from a great writer is praise indeed.

  2. those pakoras are simply divine!... i'm making those this evening!

    1. I've made so many of your recipes, it's great to return the favour

  3. Love this recipe and those are my #1 favourite things to eat at an Indian restaurant. I will definitely be making these, thanks for the recipe and thanks for being so funny too.

  4. I want to do this.........friend gave me a load of spices they'd brought back from southern India for christmas now all I need is the chickpea flour and it's bargee time!!

    1. It should be easy to get in London with lots of little Indian corner shops.

  5. I am sooooooo going to do this! I have found a shop that sells chickpea flour. Locally!!!! Hope you have an amazingly successful 2013!

    Ali x

    1. Thanks Ali, If I do, it will be in large part due to you.xx

  6. Replies
    1. You should. It is an easy dish to make.


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