Swiss Chard and Onion Pakoras

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.

INGREDIENTS

  • 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

DIRECTIONS

  1. Fill an 8-inch cast-iron skillet half-way up with oil. Heat the oil to 360-375ºF.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Turning once, fry until the pakoras are a pecan-brown. Drain on a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet.
  7. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.
  8. Serve with mint chutney, sriracha, mango chutney, ketchup chutney, ketchup, anything really.

This is my kitchen situation. Small space, but now that we’ve removed the microwave, it is a lot more functional. That cord off to the left? That’s my camera cord, as right now it is the only way to use my camera… I forgot my battery charger in the Yukon and sadly the cord only allows the camera to operate, it doesn’t charge it.

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