Crispy, spicy and delicious, try these Glasgow style vegetable pakoras with pink pakora sauce.
Pakora is a delicious crispy snack that is popular across the whole of the Indian subcontinent. Although its origin isn’t certain, it’s often said to have come from Gujarat in Western India, where vegetable pakoras are widely enjoyed as a tea time snack. Pakora comes in many forms and the vegetables and spices used can vary greatly depending on taste and regional variations. Eaten alongside flavourful chutneys, it’s a spicy snack and street food and you’ll find versions of it all over the world.
Glasgow vegetable pakora
Pakora is a takeaway classic in Scotland, and so you’ll find it in every Indian restaurant, as well as on most kebab shop menus. Glasgow pakora is typically made up of finely sliced or chopped vegetables, and can be on the spicier side. An essential part of the Glasgow pakora experience is, of course, pink pakora sauce. This smooth sauce helps to cool down spicy pakora, as well as being deliciously tangy.
Ingredients For Vegetable Pakora
For this recipe I use a mix of vegetables commonly found in Glasgow pakora. You could also use carrot, cauliflower, peas etc.
- Vegetables: Onions, Potatoes and Spinach
- Aromatics: Garlic, Ginger, Green Chilli (optional), Fresh Coriander
- Spices, Dried Herbs, Seasoning and Lemon Juice: Cumin, Coriander, Garam Masala, Turmeric, Chilli Powder, Methi Leaves, Sea Salt, Lemon Juice
- Other Ingredients: Gram Flour, Plain Flour, Water, Oil For Deep Frying
How To Make Vegetable Pakora
Step 1: Vegetables
Wash, peel and finely slice or chop the onion, potato and spinach and transfer to a large bowl.
2: Aromatics, Herbs and Spices
Add the garlic, ginger, green chilli (optional), fresh coriander, cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, chilli powder, methi leaves, sea salt and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside for 1 hour. As a result of the sea salt, the vegetables will leach some water at this point. This means less water is required later, making the pakoras more flavourful.
Heat oil for deep frying to 170C. Add the gram flour, plain flour and water and mix thoroughly, adding a little more flour or water as needed until the pakora mix reaches the desired consistency. The mix should fall slowly off of a spoon, so adjust as necessary.
Carefully drop forkfuls of pakora batter into the hot oil and deep fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Fry again at 180C for a couple of minutes until the pakoras are even more crunchy and nicely coloured.
Arrange the vegetable pakoras in a serving bowl, garnish with fresh onion and fresh coriander and serve with a wedge of lemon. And, of course, the classic pink pakora sauce.
Add flour just before cooking: Adding the flour and letting the mix sit for too long can result it in becoming thin again and requiring more flour, resulting in stodgy pakora. Add the flour when your oil is almost hot enough to start frying the pakoras so that you don’t need to add any more than is needed.
Use chips: For ease, you can use a handful of frozen chips in place of the potato in this recipe. Just allow the chips to defrost for a little while, chop into small pieces and add to the mix.
Make ahead: Fry the pakoras until just coloured and set aside to cool completely, then set aside in the fridge for up to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Fry the pakoras again for a few minutes (you can fry them from frozen) until heated through and crispy.
I hope you’ll try this vegetable pakora recipe. If you do, let me know in the comments below how it went!
- 2 large onions finely sliced
- 1 medium potato finely sliced (see notes)
- 1 small handful fresh spinach leaves roughly chopped
- 1 small handful fresh coriander leaves and stalks finely chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon mild red chilli powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (methi)
- 1 teaspoon garlic ginger paste
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or lemon dressing
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- about 100g gram flour
- 3-4 tablespoons plain flour
- Oil for deep frying
- 1/2 small onion finely sliced
- 1 small handful fresh coriander leaves roughly chopped
In a large bowl, add the sliced onions, potatoes, spinach, fresh coriander, cumin seeds, cumin powder, coriander seeds, coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric, chilli powder, dried fenugreek leaves, garlic ginger paste, and fresh lemon juice. Mix well and set aside for 1 hour. During this time, the salt will draw water from the vegetables, reducing the amount of added water required; this increases the flavour of the finished pakoras.
After the pakora mix has rested for 1 hour, heat oil for deep frying to 170C/340F. If you're using a fryer with a basket, remove the basket before heating the oil as the pakoras will stick to the basket.
Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the prepared pakora mix, then slowly add the gram flour and plain flour. Mix well and add a little more water and flour as necessary until the pakora mix has a slightly thick consistency and slides off the back of a spoon. Using two forks, carefully slide one forkful of pakora mix at a time into the hot oil.
Fry the pakoras in batches for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, lift the pakoras out of the oil and transfer to a plate. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, or if you prefer at this stage they can be set aside to cool completely, ready to fry again when you choose.
To finish the vegetable pakoras, heat oil for deep frying to 180C/350F. Carefully drop the pakoras into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes until hot and crunchy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pakoras from the oil, drain off any excess oil and arrange the pakoras on a serving plate. Garnish with thinly sliced onion and fresh coriander and serve with a lemon wedge.
For ease, a handful of frozen chips can be used instead of the potato in this recipe. Remove the chips from the freezer and set aside at room temperature for a short time until they’re defrosted enough to be sliced thinly.
Do you like this vegetable pakora recipe? If so, buying a copy of my book might appeal to you! In The Indian Takeaway Secret you can find a host of restaurant and takeaway style recipes that you can make at home. You’ll learn how to make mushroom pakora, spiced onions, tandoori chicken, chapatis and more! You can buy The Indian Takeaway Secret in paperback or kindle form here.