Green vegetable pakoras + coriander chutney

This recipe features in the May/June edition of Hampshire Life magazine with wine matches from The knackered Mother’s Wine Club.

I love incorporating fresh Hampshire produce into recipes from far flung places. These crispy little flavour bombs are packed full of early summer vegetables and are naturally vegan and gluten-free. Perfect as a nibble with drinks or as part of an Indian feast, I think they rival even the best takeaway onion bhajis. Gram flour and rice flour are widely available these days, but you can also make your own by whizzing dried chickpeas and uncooked long grain rice in a high speed blender for 3 minutes. Go gently when you add the water to the pakoras – the less you add, the crispier they will be.

Green vegetable pakoras + coriander chutney

Makes 16

For the pakoras:

  • 80 g spring onions, chopped
  • 80 g baby broad beans (podded weight)
  • 80 g peas (podded weight)
  • 50 g spinach leaves, washed, spun and shredded
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander stems, finely chopped (use the leaves for the chutney)
  • 6 curry leaves, chopped (optional)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 60 g chickpea flour (aka. besan or gram flour)
  • 60 g rice flour
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • sunflower oil for shallow frying

For the coriander chutney:

  • 30 g fresh coriander, leaves and thinner stems chopped (use the thicker stems for the pakoras)
  • 2 sprigs mint, stems discarded
  • 2 tbsp salted peanuts
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  1. First make the coriander chutney. Put all the chutney ingredients in a liquidiser or mini food processor with a big pinch of salt and blend with 2 tbsp of water until smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides as necessary. If it’s a bit too thick, add a little more water and blend again until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Put the spring onions in a mixing bowl with ½ tsp fine sea salt and scrunch together with your fingers or the back of a spoon to get the juices flowing. Add the beans, peas, spinach, coriander stems and curry leaves and mix well.
  3. Coarsely grind the fennel, cumin and coriander with a pestle and mortar, then add to the bowl with the turmeric, chickpea flour and rice flour. Mix well, then drizzle over the rapeseed oil and mix again. Sprinkle over 1 tbsp of water and stir it in – if you can squeeze the mixture into rough patties, it’s ready. If not, add another tbsp of water and try again.
  4. Add enough oil to a frying pan to come 1 cm up the side and set it over a medium-high heat. Drop a tiny bit of the mixture into the oil – if it rises bubbling to the surface, it’s hot enough. Fry the pakoras in two or three batches until crispy and brown, turning halfway through. This usually only takes a minute or two on each side.
  5. Drain on a double layer of kitchen paper, then serve straight away with the coriander chutney for dipping.

Hampshire vegetable producers:

Sunnyfields Totton, 02380 861266

Harroway Organic Gardens Whitchurch, 01256 895346

T & V Vegetable Gardens Alton, 07523 644245 find them at Hampshire Farmers’ Markets

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