One summer, fresh out of our undergraduate degrees, I shared a brightly-lit apartment with one of my best friends, Sarah: vegetarian cook extraordinaire and dinner party wizard. She taught me how to make pakoras in our very narrow kitchen to the soundtrack of Al Green’s Greatest Hits, and we served them to guests with homemade chutney (recipe below) and minty-mango gin fizzes. I’ve been making them ever since. The crunchy seeds in these pakoras add the nutrients that an active vegetarian needs, but even more so, imitate the crisp and crunch of a real deep-fried pakora. They are unparalleled when cooked in Level Ground’s aromatic, flavour-rich coconut oil—I know of no satisfactory substitute for this. Serve hot and enjoy!
Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 20-25 minutes. Makes approx. 20 pakoras.
¼ cup coconut oil (+ lots more to add as needed for frying)
2 small yellow onions, chopped fine
1 medium-large bunch spinach, chopped or torn
¼ cup + 2 tbsp roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
1 cup chickpea flour
½ cup rice flour
½ tsp Level Ground turmeric
½ tsp cumin
1 large pinch chilli flakes or cayenne (add more if you love spice)
¼ heaping tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ cup water
Chop onions. (We chill ours before chopping to minimize crying!)
Chop or tear spinach until pieces are small—almost bite size.
If there are any other vegetables you’d like to add, do so now (finely chopped bell pepper, small pieces of cauliflower, or sprouted mung beans are all great options!)
Mix chickpea and rice flours with turmeric, cumin, chilli flakes, pepper, and salt.
Mix vegetables and dry ingredients together in one large bowl.
Add your roasted seeds. Mix.
Add water. Mix well with fork. Ingredients should clump easily. The flour should turn into a thick paste and hold the veggies and seeds together. Add more water if needed, 1 tbsp at a time.
Place paper towel on a large cooling rack. (You are preparing a place for your finished pakoras to sit and be salted after exiting frying pan.)
Add ¼ cup coconut oil to large frying pan, or more if your pan is larger. You are trying to imitate the effect of a deep fryer, as much as possible, so the more oil the merrier. (Though be careful of spitting oil!) Your oil should be thick—just under ¼ inch high. Heat oil to just under medium (4 on my oven).
Add heaping (really heaping) tablespoons of pakora mix to frying pan. Let fry for several minutes, until bottoms are a deep golden brown. Flip, and let fry on other side. Watch, checking bottoms every minute or so. (Don’t leave your pakoras’ side while frying! As the pan and oil gets
Prep time: 5 mins. Cook time: 15 mins + long rest while you make your pakoras.
1 chopped ripe mango
1 small handful raisins
1.5 tbsp chopped red onions pickled in apple cider vinegar
1 dash each of turmeric, cumin, cardamom, chilli, pepper, coriander seeds
½ tsp salt
1.5 tbsp honey (or sugar if vegan)
1 cup water
Place all chutney ingredients in small frying pan or saucepan, bring to boil over medium heat. Stir.
After a few minutes, lower heat to a simmer and let chutney sit covered for 10 min, checking occasionally and stirring if necessary. Do this until chutney reaches desired consistency (should be the viscosity of a compote, or a jam that hasn’t yet set).
Turn off heat and keep chutney covered, on the element you just turned off, until you’re ready to serve.
Five minutes before serving, turn heat to low for 3-5 minutes to warm up chutney.