Tuesday 12 September 2017

Fresh Methi Pakoras with Green Chutney.

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

The perfect vegan starter or snack!
And, even though no one round here is remotely vegan, these fresh methi pakoras dunked into a spicy green chutney disappear dangerously fast every time I make them.
The star is of course, fresh methi - fenugreek in English. We usually buy ours from the local Asian cash and carry as its bitter leaves go really well in a potato curry.
Today however, I'm sharing the recipe for how to put fresh methi into pakoras. I first made them a few months back when we had too much methi in the house and didn't know what to do with it. You see, because it's a fresh green, it goes limp very quickly and is best used on the day it's bought.
The pakoras were a success. Our pakoras are usually packed full of potatoes, peas and onions so it was a lovely change to make the humble methi a star on its own. The almost bite-sized pakoras are made even better when dunked into a fresh and spicy green chutney packed full of coriander, mint and chillies and flavoured with lemon, black salt and tangy chaat masala. 

I can think of nothing better than these pakoras on a stormy September day. Be sure to fry them on a high heat though. On my second attempt with them, I fried them on a smaller gas hob, and they turned out hard as rocks. My advice? Test one out, get the oil temperature right, don't overcrowd the pan and you'll be in business.

A Simple List of Ingredients:
1. Gram Flour (Besan)
2. Green Chillies
3. Fresh Methi Leaves (Fenugreek)
4. Salt
5. Bicarbonate of Soda
6. Ground Turmeric
7. Water
8. Vegetable Oil

For the Green Chutney:
1. Fresh Coriander
2. Fresh Mint Leaves
3. Green Chillies
4. Salt
5. Chaat Masala
6. Black Salt
7. Lemon Juice
8. Water

Bismillah, let's begin!

This pakora batter is one of the easiest because everything happens in this one bowl. Let's start by putting in 130g Gram Flour (Besan).

For spice, 3 finely chopped or crushed Green Chillies. Add more or less, if you like.

Next, the methi. This is fresh fenugreek and has previously featured in the classic aloo methi curry. Here, I used 40g (about 3/4 bunch) Fresh Methi Leaves.

Pick the leaves off the bitter stems. We won't be using the stems.

Then, chop up the leaves and wash well.

Add them to your mixing bowl.

Next, salt for seasoning and bicarbonate of soda to help the pakoras puff up as they fry.

I threw in 1 teaspoon Salt.

And, 1/4 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda.

Finally, for flavour and colour: 1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric.

Stir everything up!

You could add other vegetables like potatoes and onions at this point but we wanted a simple methi pakora.

Next, pour in Water, as needed. I started with 4 tablespoons and then added as I needed.

Start mixing up and adding more water, if you need it.

What we're looking for is a pakora batter that is thinner than bread dough yet thicker than pancake batter.

Another key point is that the batter should not drip off your spoon when you pick up a spoonful.

Now that the batter is ready, heat up Vegetable Oil in a deep pan or wok to deep fry.

When the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon of it into the batter. 

Stir it in to combine and we're ready to fry.

Add a heaped teaspoonful (mini ice cream scoop in my case) to the hot oil.

Continue dropping them in until ...

... a pan full! Fry them over a relatively high heat to get them puffy. If the oil temperature is too low, they'll be hard in the middle. I learnt that the hard way.

Fry the pakoras until they're golden brown and puffed.

Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon.

And, drain on paper towels until you're ready to eat.

To serve with the pakoras, I made a spicy green chutney.

To make it, all you do is blend together the following ingredients until smooth:
60g (2 cups) Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped
10g (1/2 cup) Fresh Mint Leaves
4 Green Chillies, sliced (or to taste)
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
1/4 teaspoon Black Salt
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
60ml Water

Place the pakoras onto a platter, the chutney into a small bowl and serve!

These vegan pakoras will disappear in no time. They're very moreish so you've been warned!

Paired with the spicy green chutney, they make the perfect starter before any meal. Enjoy!

Fresh Methi Pakoras with Green Chutney.

Prep Time: About 20 minutes.
Cook Time: About 10 minutes.
Serves: Makes about 14 medium pakoras.


For the Fresh Methi Pakoras
130g Gram Flour (Besan)
3 Green Chillies, finely chopped or crushed
40g (about 3/4 bunch) Fresh Methi Leaves (Fenugreek), picked, chopped and washed
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric
Water, as needed
Vegetable Oil, to deep-fry

For the Green Chutney
60g (2 cups) Fresh Coriander, roughly chopped
10g (1/2 cup) Fresh Mint Leaves
4 Green Chillies, sliced (or to taste)
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon Chaat Masala
1/4 teaspoon Black Salt
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
60ml Water

Mix up the pakora batter:
Into a mixing bowl, place the gram flour, green chillies, fresh methi, salt, bicarbonate of soda and ground turmeric. Mix well. Add in enough water to make a batter that is thinner than a bread dough but thicker than a pancake batter. I started with 4 tablespoons water and continued from there. The batter is correct when you can pick up a spoonful and it doesn't run down the sides of the spoon.

Fry the pakoras:
Heat the vegetable oil in a deep pan to deep fry over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, add 1 teaspoon of the hot oil to the batter and stir in. Then, drop heaped teaspoonfuls (I used a mini ice cream scoop) of the batter into the oil. Fry, in batches, over a high heat until they are puffed and golden brown. Do not overcrowd the pan as this will result in them being hard. Drain on paper towels.

Make the green chutney:
Blend all the ingredients until smooth. Add more salt, lemon juice and green chillies, if needed.

Serve the pakoras once they've drained. They are lovely dipped into the spicy green chutney.

{adapted from food 52)

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

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

Spice Enthusiast
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