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Light Meals, Sides & Soups + Condiments & Staples
Carrot & Nigella Seed Pakoras + Spicy Cucumber Raita

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Carrot and Nigella Seed Pakoras 

 

These pakoras are the ultimate snack comfort food and a family favourite in our house. They are deliciously crispy and perfect when dipped into my Spicy cucumber raita, or as a side to dahl. The carrot adds sweetness while the smokey garam masala is offset by the exotic pop of flavour from the nigella seeds. 

The nigella seeds give the pakoras their moreish unique flavour – it is a spice worth having on hand to add interest to your Indian dishes. Sometimes known as black caraway or black cumin the seeds have a myriad of health benefits, in fact it is said you will live a long happy life if you regularly consume them. If you can’t source nigella seeds and you really want to make this recipe, try substituting them with cumin seeds or black mustard seeds. The pakoras will taste different but still be delicious. 

The great thing about this recipe is that you could change it up and instead of using carrot, you can use whatever vegetable or combination of vegetables are in season - just make sure you have two cups of grated vegetables in total. Good combos include: zucchini and potato - popular in my house and a good way to use up the zucchini glut, pumpkin and finely shredded silverbeet - beautiful and earthy, and kale pakoras - light and crisp and a sure-fire way to get your children eating kale. Cauliflower and cabbage are a nice winter combination, but make sure you cut the cauliflower into small pieces, so it cooks at the same time as the shredded cabbage. Use your imagination with what you have growing in your garden at the time. 

I like to fry these pakoras in a good amount of oil to help them get them nice and crisp, but feel free to use less oil if you are watching your fat intake. Keep in mind however that they will take a bit longer to cook through and may not be as crispy. 

**Mix the batter up just prior to frying. This will ensure that not too much liquid comes out of the vegetables which will give your batter a better consistency. 

 

Makes 18-20  

Ingredients 

  • 4 – 5 carrots, grated (2 cups grated in total) 

  • ½ onion, grated 

  • 1 cup chickpea flour (besan) 

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 

  • 1 teaspoon salt 

  • ½ teaspoon nigella seeds 

  • 1 ½ teaspoon garam masala 

  • ½ cup cold water 

  • Rice bran oil for frying 

 

Method 

  1. Place the grated carrot and onion into a bowl. Sieve the chickpea flour and baking powder into the bowl over the grated vegetables and add the salt, nigella seeds, garam masala and cold water. Mix well with a fork until combined - it might seem like you haven't added enough water but don't be tempted to add more. Just keep mixing and it will come together. 

  2. Set up a wire rack over an oven tray on the bench in preparation of draining the cooked pakoras. 

  3. Generously coat the bottom of a large frying pan with rice bran oil. Heat the pan on high until a little bit of batter dropped into the oil sizzles and rises straight away.  

  4. Turn the heat down to medium high and spoon the batter into the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. As each spoonful is dropped in move the fritter around the pan slightly for a few seconds – this will prevent them from sticking to the bottom. Fry for a couple of minutes on each side until cooked through and golden brown. Once the pakoras are cooked immediately place on the wire rack to drain and start the cooking process again until they are all fried. 

  5. Lightly salt the pakoras and serve with my Spicy cucumber raita, or on the side of a hearty dahl with a good chutney. 

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Spicy Cucumber Raita

 

The combination of cool yoghurt and cucumber with the warmth of the chili and the earthy flavour from the cumin seed results in a moreish raita, best served with a fresh batch of pakoras and a spicy dahl. 

Makes 1 1/4 cups

 

Ingredients 

  • ½ cucumber, grated 

  • 1 tsp whole cumin seed 

  • ¾ cup unsweetened Greek yoghurt 

  • ½ tsp minced fresh chili 

  • Juice of ½ a small lemon 

  • Pinch of salt 

 

Method 

  1. Heat the cumin seeds in a small dry pan and cook for a minute or so until lightly toasted, making sure they don’t burn. Remove from the heat. 

  2. Place the yoghurt, cucumber, chili and lemon juice into a serving bowl, and add a good pinch of salt. 

  3. Add the toasted cumin seeds and mix well. 

  4. Taste and adjust the salt if needed. 

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Spicy Cucumber

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