Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Cauliflower Pakoras; great finger food for kids

Cauliflower pakoras are something I'd never made before until recently, but as part of my 7 a day challenge I made some vegetable pakoras using peas and loved them.  When I moved house a few days back and restocked my cupboards (including buying some gram flour), the helpful assistant in the shop suggested cauliflower was pretty good and, in fact her favourite.  She also said that fresh spinach was, in her opinion much better in Indian food than frozen.

Cauliflower pakoras
I always like a bit of advice when it comes to cooking so I gave it a go.  The jury is out in the spinach.  In my opinion frozen is just as good but the great thing about baby spinach is you can use it as a salad vegetable or cook with it and it just so happened I had some in my fridge so I went with it.
Traditionally I don't think the cauliflower is precooked but although I don't like soggy cauliflower, I'm not overly keen on cauliflower which bites back either so I partially precooked mine.
Caulflower pakoras - serves 2-3
7 Small cauliflower florets
30g, 1oz Fresh spinach, finely shredded
100g, 3.5oz Gram flour (chickpea flour, garbanzo bean flour, besan)
2 tsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp Madras curry paste (or more if cooking for adults if liked)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp Baking powder (use gluten free if avoiding gluten)
75 - 150ml Cold water
Oil for frying

Part cook the cauliflower by boiling for approx 4 minutes so still firm but almost cooked.  Cut into halves.

Heat up approx 1 inch of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan.  Never leave hot oil unattended.
Mix the flour, curry paste, lime and baking powder with enough water to make a batter like consistency.

Add in the spinach then add in the cauliflower.  Try a drop of batter in the oil, if it sizzles immediately, put a coated piece of cauliflower and see how it cooks.  If it browns too quickly but the batter is still runny inside, lower the heat.  If it takes a long time and seems greasy, increase the heat.

Cook in batches of 3-4.  Leave to drain on kitchen roll then serve as a starter, a side dish or as I did for my son with some rice cooked with peas and some mango chutney mixed with plain yogurt to dip.
Reheating:  Once cooked, keep in the fridge and either eat cold (although they do go a bit soft) or much better, reheat in a preheated 180oC / 350F oven for approx 6-10 minutes or until warmed through and crisp.  It's almost worth making extra to have the leftovers with no effort the next day!


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