These pakoras are crazy good, and I made them very well seasoned. This is a large batch, making 10--serving 5-10 people as an appetizer; feel free to cut the batch in half. Omitting the jalapeno will remove the heat, but the other spices are definitely strong, so feel free to cut down on them as well. If you decide to make the chutney, it should be prepared first, and allowed to come to room temperature. I also served these with plain yogurt and a pinch of cilantro, but next time I would use Greek yogurt and make a raita (a seasoned yogurt with cucumber).
Looking to find ramps (wild leeks) or not sure of what you have? Check out my post on how to find, identify and ethically harvest ramps.
Tomato Onion Chutney
This should be made before the pakoras, and allowed to come to room temperature before serving
1 medium/large red onion, diced
3 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 star anise
3 green cardamon pods, smashed with a knife
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp seasoned rice or cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
- Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat. Add the anise, cardamon and fennel. Toast lightly, gently stirring the seasonings.
- Add enough oil to cook the onion. Then add the onion and cook over medium high heat until translucent and lightly caramelized.
- Add the diced tomatoes, lower the heat to medium, and cook until the tomatoes start to loose their structure, release their liquid and cook down into the onions. (About 4-5 minutes). Then stir in the vinegar, salt and sugar.
- Cook for another 4-5 minutes, until the liquid is mostly absorbed, and the dish has a good consistency. Then remove the star anise and cardamon pods, and set aside to cool. Serve at room temperature as a condiment.
Makes 10, serves 5-10 as an appetizer
4 cups thinly sliced ramp leaves
2 cups basan (chickpea or garbanzo bean) flour
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 jalapeno, innards removed and minced, optional (omit for less heat)
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp garam masala (I get mine here)
1 tsp mild or hot curry powder (I get mine here)
oil for frying
- Rinse the ramps and cilantro in a colander, add the minced peppers, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Toss to coat, then set aside for 10-15 minutes, and allow to drain.
This is the consistency you are looking for
- Heat frying oil to medium hot in a pan.
- Once the ramps and cilantro have sat for at least 10 minutes, stir them into the batter. If the mix looks too thin, add some more chickpea flour to thicken.
- With a wooden spoon, ladle out pakoras into the hot oil. I like to use a wooden spoon, because I get them about the size I want, but they are fairly thin so I can use less oil. Don't crowd them in the pan, and cook on each side till browned and crisp.
- Drain on paper towels and serve immediately, with chutney and yogurt or raita.