Monday, 4 March 2013

Celeriac Pakora

One of the very best things you can make with a rather tired looking vegetable (not that this celeriac looked anything less than perky), is dish of pakora. Pakora can of course be made from a variety of vegetables, see notes below, in this case I was thinking about my challenge to make good use of the celeriac I had been given and also what might go well with the celeriac & chick pea soup I had made click here for the recipe . Its nice to think that I am using largely the same ingredients, celeriac and chickpeas, in this case gram flour which is made from chickpeas. The brilliant thing about using gram flour in this way, is the fact that it eliminates the need for eggs. Gram flour naturally forms a cohesive batter when mixed with water.

To make these pakora you will need:
250g of finely sliced or shredded celeriac
1 large onion finely sliced
1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
200g of gram flour
150g of water
1 teaspoon of black onion seeds or nigella seeds
2 teaspoons of marigold bouillon powder or 1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of umami
1 teaspoon of sugar
oil for deep frying

Begin by preparing the celeriac, grating would render the celeriac to fine, so either shred them with a device for making fine julienne, or thinly slice then cut up into matchstick pieces. Finely slice the onion and add to the celeriac and chopped parsley in a large bowl. Add the seasoning and nigella seeds and leave for 30 minutes. The salt in the stock powder and the sugar which I use because gram flour can sometimes be a little bitter, will draw out some of the moisture. Add the gram flour and water and form into a paste. Leave for another 30 minutes before heating up a large pan to deep fry the pakora. I find a fork the easiest tool to lift out small clumps of the mixture and carefully dropping into the hot oil. Fry them for 2 or 3 minutes on each side before draining on absorbent kitchen towel.

Almost all vegetables, (I have never tried potatoes) work well in pakora, the batter holds even small things like peas together. They make an ideal gluten free dish, they also happen to be vegan.
When making pakora to have with Indian food I usually add grated ginger, chilli, cumin seeds and finely minced garlic. This basic recipe will enable you to experiment with many different ingredients.
These pakora can be shallow fried but they lose some of their lightness if they are not deep fried.

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