Theses pakoras go really well with a curry as a side dish or starter with a raita (yoghurt based dip) and are also perfect for when you have the munchies but don’t want to blow your diet. You can also freeze them for a rainy day.
You will need to get some gram flour which is made from chick peas. Most supermarkets sell it. It helps to stick all the ingredients together and is a good source of protein. You can also make another version of my pakora recipe using some cooked, drained spinach, peas and onions instead of lentils which taste amazing too (photo below). Feel free to vary the amounts and types of spices you use depending on your own personal taste.
My Mum started cooking Indian food in the 70’s and I just got hooked on it. This was a time of Martinis (shaken not stirred), cheese fondues, prawn cocktails and black forrest gateaux. It was quite fashionable in the 70’s to host dinner parties at home, sadly a dying trend today with our hectic lifestyles. There was always a Tupperware party going on somewhere or a “Progressive Party” where neighbours ate a different course in a different house and were seen strolling down the street for their next dish, Babysham glass in one hand. I’ve still actually got one of my parent’s original retro Babysham glasses!
My parents both loved Indian takeaways, so my Mum started experimenting with making her own Indian curries and side dishes at home. I remember her first madras curry was made using a recipe from Woman’s Own and it turned out so hot it blew our heads off! It was full of whole spices and my Dad kept curiously picking out cloves, cardamom pods and bits of cinnamon bark, not quite sure why they were in his dinner.
She then bought the Pebble Mill Indian Cookbook, which I still have a copy of today and started making some really delicious Indian food. I’ve used this recipe book many times and it’s got some great food in there.
My sister and I were always allowed to try everything before their friends arrived. There was usually a main curry bubbling away in the slow cooker and lots of unusual looking side dishes like sliced bananas in coconut and chopped onions with chilli powder, all laid out ceremoniously on a very tidy looking table. We would just pile our plates up before the guests arrived then eat our Indian picnics in bed in our pyjamas! I have loved cooking and eating Indian food even since.
So here I am today, a self confessed Indian food addict and I love experimenting with new flavours. I have tweaked my Pakora recipe method by baking them rather than deep frying so they are healthier than the traditional version, but still taste great. This makes them perfect for Weight Watchers, at just 1 Smart Point each.
You can serve with mango chutney or a simple raita made from plain yogurt and cucumber plus a glass of Babysham to be truly retro!
I hope you enjoy my recipe.
Lentil Pakora Recipe
Simmer red lentils until cooked (10 min approx ). Watch them as overcooking can turn it into soup!
Drain the lentils and mix with finely chopped onion, peppers, fresh garlic, garam masala, turmeric, cumin seeds , onion granules and garlic granules. Add a pinch of salt and mix well.
Next add a few tablespoons of gram (chick pea) flour plus enough cold water to make a soft sticky mixture. Mix again to combine.
Cook at 220C / 200C Fan for around 20 min until firm and golden brown.
Tasty eaten hot or cold. Enjoy x