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Root Vegetable Pakoras

If you’ve never had a pakora, they’re not a far stretch from a fritter.  Pakoras are an Indian snack, also known as Bajji in some parts of the country.  Veggies are folded into a spiced batter, made with  chickpea flour, making these completely gluten free and vegan.  I would venture to say most vegetables grown on the farm could be made into a pakora.  I’m using purple top turnips and kohlrabi, with big peels of onions. Any root vegetable with a high water content will work, like turnips, kohlrabi, radishes, daikon radish, etc. To use harder roots like parsnip and carrot, shave them into thin shreds with a vegetable peeler.

Root Vegetable Pakoras

The batter comes together easily, just a whisk of the dry ingredients together, then water is slowly added.  Let the batter sit to thicken up while the you blanch the vegetables.

Root Vegetable Pakora

pakoracRoot vegetables are very firm when raw, so to be sure they would cook through I first boiled them for ten minutes.  The onions I put in raw and they were perfectly cooked.  For softer vegetables you can skip the boiling.  I have used broccoli, green tomatoes, and greens all without cooking with fantastic results.  Save this recipe to try new combinations  throughout the the CSA Share season!

I deep fried these, but if that’s not your thing, they can be treated more like a fragile fritter and carefully pan fried.  I recently acquired a Candy/Deep Fry Thermometer, which helped with the frying.  I like this particular one because it has a rest so it doesn’t slip into the pan.

I served these with a simple lemon yogurt sauce, but can’t wait until summer to try them with cucumber raita!

Turnip and Kohlrabi Pakoras

2 1/2 cups peeled and diced root vegetables
1 large onion, cut into eighths and separated into large petals
2 cups chickpea flour
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1  1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup water, or more if necessary to make batter smooth
Oil for frying

Whisk together dry ingredients.  Chickpea flour, garam masala, ground coriander, turmeric, salt, and baking powder.  Add 1/2 cup water, stir to combine.  Add remaining water, 1/4 cup at a time until batter has consistency of thick cake batter.  Add a little more water if necessary to get the right consistency.  Let batter sit for ten minutes.

Boil root vegetables.  Ten minutes or until just softened.

Drain vegetables.  Rinse with cold water to cool down.  Use a dish towel or paper towels to press any excess water out.  Fold vegetables into batter until evenly combined.

Heat  one – two inches of oil to 360°F. Fry batter by the tablespoon full in small batches.  Take care not to overcrowd the pan.  Remove with a slotted spoon.  I cooked mine about 1 minute per side.  Drain on paper towels if desired.  Serve with yogurt sauce.

Lemon Yogurt Sauce

1 cup plain greek yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
1 garlic clove minced
salt + pepper to taste

Combine yogurt, lemon juice and zest, and garlic.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with fritters.

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