Monday 20 January 2014

Cauliflower Pakora with Mango Raita

Around here, we are big fans of "two day meals", dishes that you prepare in large quantities and then eat two nights in a row. Yes, if you are really clever, you freeze the other half so it doesn't feel so much like leftovers, but we just aren't that organized most of the time. And it's kind of nice to have a break from cooking the next day after cooking a meal that size.

The night before these photos were taken my husband made a large curry, complete with naan. As we would just be heating up the leftovers the next day, I saw a cauliflower in the fridge and decided to try making a starter/side dish that would go well with the spices of our dinner. I had a recipe in my Veg Every Day cookbook for cauliflower pakora, so I thought I'd give it a bash as I had pretty much everything on the list of ingredients and it looked simple enough. 

One of our local corner shops used to sell little pakoras and samosas for hungry intoxicated people, but alas they have just shut and have posted a big sign in their window blaming the new local supermarket for their closure. I am sad to have lost a local business that supplied me with cheap large bags of spices, but I do wish they hadn't been so darned rude to their customers. Every time I went in I wanted to shout GET OFF THE PHONE or LOOK AT YOUR CUSTOMER, NOT THE TV. Instead I just quietly purchased my goods and muttered to myself. 

Ho hum, back to cooking things...

First I chopped some fresh coriander and added it with some mango chutney to some plain yoghurt. My kids pronounce yoghurt the American way - I have real trouble with the British pronunciation - it's hard enough adding that weird h in there.

Then I stirred it together and set it aside to let the flavours get to know each other.

Then in another bowl I put the flour, some baking powder, some salt, and some spices (coriander, cumin, and turmeric). The recipe asked for a bit more heat in the form of cayenne, but I didn't have any.

All those got whisked together to make sure they were well blended.

Then I gradually added water until it was a fairly thick consistency - like double cream he suggested.

In went the cauliflower.

It'll look better in a minute, trust me.

In small batches I fried them in a bit of oil, just a couple minutes on one side...

Then flipped them over and around a bit more afterwards if I thought they needed it.

Slowly I built up a pile.

A very good smelling pile.

Until it was time to serve up!

They were pretty good, though I might play with the spices to make them even more tasty.

Cauliflower Pakora with Mango Raita from Veg Every Day

  • 1 medium-large cauliflower (800g), trimmed and cut into small florets, no more than 2cm across in any direction.
  • Sunflower oil, for frying
For the batter
  • 150g chickpea flour (go to your local Indian store)
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 2 t ground cumin
  • 2 t ground coriander
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • A good shake of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t fine sea salt
For the mango raita
  • 6 heaped T full-fat yoghurt
  • handful of chopped coriander
  • 2 tsp mango chutney
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. For the raita mix all the ingredients together seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Put in the fridge.
  2. For the batter, put the gram flour, baking powder, ground spices and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine and get rid of any lumps. Slowly whisk in 175ml of icy cold water – you are looking for a batter with the consistency of double cream
  3. Add the florets into the batter and turn them to make sure they are thoroughly coated.
  4. Heat about 1cm depth of oil in a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough to turn a cube of white bread light golden brown in 30-40 seconds, start cooking the pakoras, a few at a time so you don’t crowd the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, until crisp and golden brown on the base, then turn over and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  5. Drain the pakoras on kitchen paper, then serve piping hot with the raita for dipping

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