I’ve been having some big cravings for pakoras lately. I am not sure why I’ve wanted them so bad, they aren’t something that we’ve every regularly eaten, and I’ve never made them before, but this week I made it my mission to cook some up! Veggie pakoras can have a lot of different add-ins, often spinach is an ingredient, onion as well. As usual, I didn’t have spinach on hand but had a handful of delicious swiss chard, and knew that this would be an easy substitution. These pakoras pack a little heat, so feel free to tone down the spice. A lot of extra spice can be had with some good mint chutney, make it yourself if you dare (I will be daring to do this later, today I used store-bought… I know, I know, Stacey, get it together).
Swiss Chard and Onion Pakoras
Adapted from here.
- 2 cups Chickpea Flour (aka Besan or Gram Flour)
- 1 tbsp crushed red pepper (use half if you are spice-averse)
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp garam masala (make your own, essentially it is my Amazing Curry spice mix, minus the salt and the chilli powder)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 green chili pepper, thinly sliced (use half if you are spice-averse)
- ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 large yellow onion (or 1 medium onion, my onions were massive), sliced into 1/8inch crescents (cut in half, chop off ends, cut along ribs to create thin, but not too thin, slices)
- 4-6 leaves of Swiss chard, fold the leaves in half lengthwise, cut off stem, and slice into 1/4-inch thick, 2-inch long strips.
- 1 cup warm water
- Grapeseed oil (or another mild-flavoured oil), for deep frying
- Fill an 8-inch cast-iron skillet half-way up with oil. Heat the oil to 360-375ºF.
- In a large bowl, toss together the chickpea flour, red chili flakes, garam masala, salt, baking powder, sliced chilli pepper, cilantro, Swiss chard, and sliced onion.
- Slowly add in the water, while mixing with a wooden spoon or your hands. Vigorously mix for a couple of seconds. The batter will be thick, and air bubbles should be evident, if not, give it another vigorous stir.
- If you don’t have a thermometer that goes to 360°F, don’t fret. Put the end of a wooden spoon into the oil, if there are a lot of bubbles forming around the end, and coming towards the surface, you are ready to fry.
- When the oil is ready, carefully place heaping tablespoons of batter into the pot. Don’t do more than three, or four at a time. If you overcrowd the pan, you will lower the temperature of the oil significantly and your pakoras wont fry, but absorb the oil. Greasy pakoras are no good.
- Turning once, fry until the pakoras are a pecan-brown. Drain on a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet.
- Repeat with the remainder of the batter.
- Serve with mint chutney, sriracha, mango chutney, ketchup chutney, ketchup, anything really.