This recipe is a compilation and adaptation of the Mixed Vegetable Pakoras recipe from Manjula’s Kitchen, my favorite food website, and Chubby’s Peckish Pakoras, a recipe from Tarquin Hall’s Case of the Love Commandos, the latest in his series of delightful and engaging novels set in New Delhi featuring Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Detective. The basic recipe and instructions are from Manjula’s Kitchen while the spice combination and cooking method are from Tarquin Hall.
Traditionally, pakoras a deep fried for extra crispiness. These are baked in a hot oven. They may not be as crispy as deep fried pakoras, but they are healthy and delicious and easy to make. Vegan too, of course!
1 1/2 cups besan (gram flour)
1/8 teaspoon asfetida (hing powder)
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (to taste)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon amchoor (mango powder)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds)
1 cup potatoes, grated with a box grater or food processor, or peeled and cut into tiny cubes (if grating the potatoes, squeeze out extra moisture before adding to the rest of the vegetables)
1 cup cauliflower, cut into very small pieces
1 1/2 cup spinach leaves, rinsed, dried, and chopped
1 cup cabbage, shredded
1-2 green chilies, finely chopped (to taste)
3 teaspoons oil, plus more for the pan
You can use any combination of vegetables you like, including onions, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers, etc. And, you can vary the shape of the vegetables. Use small cubes, grate the vegetables, or cut them into thin julienne strips. Just be sure that the pieces are small enough so that they cook quickly.
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Oil a baking sheet and set aside.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
Combine all the vegetables in a large bowl and mix well. Mix in the olive oil.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the vegetables. Mix in a few tablespoons at a time until everything is well incorporated.
Set the pakora batter aside for 15 minutes, mixing once or twice during that time. The vegetables will release water and the mixture will become sticky. If it seems too dry, add water, one teaspoon at a time and mix well.
Put tablespoons of the pakora mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, flattening them out like disks.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges and undersides are nice and brown. If the pakoras are sticking, they need more time before flipping. Flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve hot with cilantro chutney.
Note: An earlier version of this recipe had the oven at 500 degrees. After making these pakoras many times with different vegetables, I have lowered the temperature to 375 and now bake them for a few minutes longer.