I’m really hoping that the inclusion of yet another recipe with tofu will not lead some to say I am a “one trick pony” but of late I have started experimenting more with tofu, given its health properties and low calories. Pakoras are delectable, morsels of deep fried crispy bites, usually made of potato spinach, onion and spices. I wanted to get all of the taste of a pakora but make a healthier version. It’s not very often that I am pleased with a recipe at its first attempt, but I was really delighted with this!
Freezing – suitable
Serve with a sweet and sour tamarind chutney
300g firm tofu (drained of water – see recipe for tofu and purple sprouting broccoli) – cut into 1 cm cubes (I really like the texture of the Marks and Spencer version)
140g gram flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
60g spinach – finely chopped (freeze the rest)
½ heaped teaspoon minced garlic
½ heaped teaspoon minced ginger
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper/chilli powder or fresh minced green chilli
1 teaspoon chaat masala (available in supermarkets)
½ teaspoon carom seeds (optional)
1 small onion – chopped into thin slices
200ml warm water
125 ml vegetable oil
You will need a large frying pan, a sieve and medium-sized mixing bowl
1. Place a single layer of kitchen towel on a large plate, set aside.
2. Place all of the ingredients save the tofu and water in the mixing bowl, ensure all of the gram flour is evenly distributed and does not contain any lumps. This is best done with just the fingertips of one hand, alternatively you can use a large metal spoon.
3. Then add the tofu pieces, mix slowly and carefully – be very gentle, you don’t want the tofu pieces to break. Finally add the water, mix carefully again. You will end up with a pancake-like batter.
4. Place 100ml of the oil in the frying pan on a medium-high heat. Once the oil has heated (this should take no more than a couple of minutes at the most), slowly place a tablespoon of the mixture into the frying pan. Don’t worry about the shape – these pakoras have a rustic charm! I find it best to use my fingertips to do this, but you may prefer to do this with a spoon. Once the underside is a nice golden brown, turn them over. You want to ensure that all of the sides of the pakora are cooked. You may wish to only cook one pakora at first, and then taste it in case you want to add more spices or seasoning. Each batch should take a few minutes at the most. Drain well and place on the plate with the kitchen towel. Store in a warm place if eating them immediately.
5. You will probably need to do this in 3- 4 batches, depending on the size of your pan. Discard any stray small pieces of the pakora in the pan before you cook your next batch. You may need to add the remaining oil before you cook your third batch.
6. These pakoras freeze well, layer them between pieces of cereal packet paper. Defrost, and re-heat gently in a pan, until warmed through.
– this can be made well in advance, it keeps well for weeks in a jar in the fridge.
3 tablespoons of tamarind paste (available in supermarkets)
3 tablespoons of sugar
Salt and cayenne pepper/chilli powder to taste
60 ml water
Place all of the ingredients into a small pan, on a high heat. Stir so that the sugar is dissolved. Then remove from the heat. Add a pinch of salt and chilli powder, adjust seasoning to taste. Let it cool.