A HEALTHIER VERSION
I have a confession. Calling this a pakora in the traditional sense is a bit of a stretch because the word comes from India and actually means “fried snack”. Pakoras are delicious vegetarian fritters for a lack of better words. They are often created by combining chickpea flour with various spices to form a batter. Different versions use different vegetables ranging from onion to cauliflower to potatoes. Sometimes pakoras are also made with chicken or fish. These little balls of battered goodness are then deep fried and served with different sauces and chutneys.
I love them. A lot. But as you can imagine, the deep frying kind of defeats the health benefits of vegetables and ultimately I try to find ways to eat more vegetables in ways that I enjoy them because I am really a carnivore at heart. Then I tried baking them and, although they weren’t technically the same texture as a pakora they sure tasted good. At 16 calories a piece, you might as well try it. It might become your new favourite side vegetable.
The best part is it is pretty easy. Start with the batter. This is where you can experiment with flavours and this helps the vegetables bind. Combine 1 C of durum atta flour or chickpea flour with 1 tsp of garam masala, 1 tsp of curry powder, 1/2 tsp of salt and a pinch of black pepper. Coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger and turmeric can also be played around with here. Add 1.5 C of water. This will create a very thick batter. You want it thick because you want it to coat the vegetables and also, keep in mind that, vegetables release water when cooked. You also don’t want the batter too runny because you want your pakora crispy.
I had cabbage on hand so I thinly sliced up about 2 cups worth. I did the same with 1 medium onion and finally I added 2 cups of baby spinach. These were the vegetables I had and they worked well. You can try mixing it up with broccoli or cauliflower but using harder vegetables like potatoes and carrots (unless shredded) might need some adjustments as they might not soften enough.
Mix all the vegetables in the batter until they are fully coated and begin taking small handfuls (golf ball size) and placing them on a greased tray. Try to make sure your handful has some of each vegetable in it. If you are worried that the vegetables won’t bind, don’t worry. They will. Bake them at 500º for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, use tongs to flip the pakoras. You will notice they are binding much better now. As you flip them over you can take this opportunity to form them a little more. They won’t be perfect, even shapes but that is the beauty of pakora. Bake the other side for 10 more minutes and remove.
They will be slightly crispy yet soft on the inside. These are very light and the batter is simply for some flavour and holding the vegetables together. You have the option of adding another 1/2 C or full cup of the flour to the batter and appropriate water and spices accordingly if you prefer something more starchy. You can also simply reduce the vegetables by 1/2.
1 C durum atta flour blend
1.5 C water
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 healthy pinch black pepper
2 C cabbage
2 C baby spinach
2 C (1 medium) red onion
1. Julienne your red onion and cabbage to similar thin strips.
2. Add baby spinach and set aside.
3. Prepare the batter but mixing flour, garam masala, salt, pepper, and curry powder.
4. Quickly stir in water until a thick batter forms.
5. Toss the vegetables in the batter until they are all coated.
6. Grease a lined cookie sheet with coconut oil spray.
7. Use your hands to form little clumps of the veggie and batter mix.
8. Repeat until several pakoras have been formed on your tray.
9. Bake for 10 minutes in a 500º oven.
10. Flip and bake for 10 more minutes.
11. Repeat this process until the pakora mixture is done.
Calories Per Piece 16
Protein 0.6 g