Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Spinach Pakoras with Royal Dip

I first had these delicious veggie fritters at a stand at the farmer’s market.  I’d never seen them before, but it was love at first bite!  I swore I’d have to find a way to make them at home – and I did!  Spinach Pakoras with Royal Dip are healthy, tasty, vegetarian and gluten-free too!  These Indian snacks are eaten with a minty yogurt dip and are a popular street food.

The only ingredient that may be a bit tough to find is chickpea flour.  Also called gram flour or besan flour, it’s just dried garbanzo beans ground powder-fine.  I made it at home, and while it took a bit of time because my food processor is wimpy, it worked very well!  If you do grind your own, you will need to sift it through a fine sieve, and return any pebbles to the food processor for a finer grind.  After that, it’s smooth sailing.  Bob's Red Mill has a really good packaged chickpea flour, and is available at most grocery stores.  If you’re lucky enough to have an Indian grocery store nearby, stop in and buy some chickpea flour – and whatever else catches your eye and tempts your nose!
Spinach Pakoras with Royal Dip

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon mint, finely minced
  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon  ground fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour (or use more chickpea flour, or use regular flour)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach or other hearty greens (mustard, collard, kale), chopped
  • 1/2 onion, cut into very thin strings
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup water (may use more or less)
  • oil for frying:  grapeseed, coconut, peanut, or vegetable oil
  1. Make the Royal Dip:  stir together the yogurt, garlic, cilantro, and mint.  Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Mix together the chickpea flour, curry powder, fennel, and rice flour in a large bowl.
  3. Mix in the spinach and onion. Stir to combine.
  4. Add about 3 tablespoons of water and stir.  Mix it all very well.  You don’t want a thin batter – you just want the flour to be wet and coating the veggies.  Add a bit of water until you make a thick batter.
  5. Heat the oil over a medium burner and drop the pakora batter in by the tablespoonful.  Try to flatten them out a bit so they are pancake-shaped as opposed to spherical.  Cook for about 3 minutes until crispy, then flip and cook the other side.
  6. Remove pakoras to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with a bit of salt.  Serve hot with the Royal Dip.