Monday 15 May 2017

Cauliflower Pakoras with Moong Daal Batter.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

A head of cauliflower and a batch of pakoras are two things that go hand in hand at my house.
My dad will bring home the cauliflower for one reason and one reason only - to make pakoras out of it.
But, our traditional pakora recipe, using cauliflower, potato, onion and peas can make a lot of pakoras. And, I sometimes felt that the cauliflower got lost amongst all those vegetables.
So when I spent April cooking my way through this book, I came across a pakora recipe that celebrated the humble cauliflower. Living in England, we are blessed with the biggest and best cauliflowers that are grown here so naturally should celebrate them as often as we can.
These pakoras are like the cauliflower version of chicken nuggets. They're bite sized and will disappear faster than you can fry them. Which is just how it should be with deep fried foods. They're always best piping hot and crisp.
The batter is a little different though. Moong daal is soaked until soft before being blended up to make the batter. Spices are added, the cauliflower is dunked in and fried until golden. Enjoy them hot sprinkled with chaat masala with lemon to squeeze over and your favourite sauces to dip. The humble cauliflower never tasted so good.

A Simple List of Ingredients:
1. Moong Daal
2. Water
3. Salt
4. Red Chilli Powder
5. Cumin Seeds
6. Ground Coriander
7. Chaat Masala
8. Ground Turmeric
9. Fresh Coriander
10. Cauliflower
11. Vegetable Oil

Bismillah, let's begin!

We start with the moong daal. I get mine from the local Asian store and in English, they're called split green gram.

Place 150g Moong Daal into a deep bowl.

Wash the daal really well under running water.

Cover the daal with plenty of water and leave to soak for at least 3 hours or overnight. I left mine overnight.

When you're ready to make the pakoras, prepare the cauliflower. I used 1/2 Cauliflower.

Slice the cauliflower up into large florets.

Then, thinly slice the florets.

Like these! They don't have to be perfect so don't stress too much!

Pop the sliced florets into a bowl until needed.

I like to save these little cauliflower scraps to either make pakoras with any leftover batter or to use for something else.

Next, let's blend up the soaked daal. Drain the daal really well. Because it has been soaking, it will be soft and easy to blend up. These pakoras have no flour in them and so, our daal will be the batter.

I used a jug blender but any will do.

Add in the drained daal.

Along with 2 tablespoons of Water.

Blend up the daal. You may be tempted to add more water but it's better not to. Let the machine do the work and only add a little water, if it's really needed.

Blend the daal until really smooth.

Scrape the blended daal into a mixing bowl.

Then, add in 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Salt. Or as much salt as you want.

More spices! Starting with 1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder.

2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds

2 teaspoons Ground Coriander

Then, chaat masala!

Throw in 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala.

And, 1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric.

Finally, fresh coriander.

Add in a small handful of Fresh Coriander, finely chopped.

Stir everything until well combined.

The cauliflower is ready and so is the batter. Let's fry!

Heat enough Vegetable Oil in a deep pan over a medium heat to deep fry.

Once the oil is hot, dip each piece of cauliflower individually in the batter.

Roll it round to get a thin batter on the cauliflower.

Carefully drop into the hot oil.

Fry the pakoras in batches over a medium heat for around 4-5 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Remove with a slotted spoon.

Drain the pakoras on paper towels and sprinkle with Chaat Masala. Carry on frying the rest.

Serve the pakoras with lemon wedges to squeeze over and your favourite sauces to dip!

These pakoras are really addictive and will not last long. The daal batter makes a nice change from the usual gram flour. A definite one for your upcoming Iftars!

Cauliflower Pakoras with Moong Daal Batter.

Prep Time: A few hours or overnight + 30 minutes.
Cook Time: About 5 minutes per batch.
Serves: About 4 people as a snack.


150g Moong Daal
Water, as needed
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder
2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds
2 teaspoons Ground Coriander
1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
Small handful Fresh Coriander, finely chopped
1/2 Cauliflower, sliced into thin florets
Vegetable Oil, to deep fry

Soak the daal:
Wash the daal. Place in a deep bowl and cover with lots of water. Soak for at least 3 hours and up to overnight.

Blend the daal:
Drain the daal really well. Place it into a blender and add 2 tablespoons of water. Blend until really smooth. Add extra water, only if it's really needed.

Make the pakora batter:
Scrape the blended daal into a mixing bowl. Add in the salt, red chilli powder, cumin seeds, ground coriander, chaat masala, ground turmeric and fresh coriander. Stir well to combine.

Fry the pakoras:
Heat enough vegetable oil to deep fry over a medium heat. Dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter to form a thin coating. Fry the pakoras in batches in the hot oil for around 4-5 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Remove and drain on paper towels. Continue making the rest.

Sprinkle the hot pakoras with more chaat masala. Serve immediately with lemon wedges to squeeze and your favourite sauces to dip.

Recipe Notes

  • I prefer to individually dip the cauliflower pieces in the batter so that I don't add too many pieces at once.

{adapted from summaya usmani}

Keep me in your duas please, and enjoy your cauliflower pakoras!

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast
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