Fish Pakora

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Ingredients

100g gram flour, sifted

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of carom seeds (this is a very pungent spice, less is more, adds a lovely flavour to fish dishes)

1tsp crushed red chilli flakes

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 inch ginger, finely minced

1 green chill, finely minced

1tsp garam masala

Handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped  or for a change fresh dill, rarely used in Pakistani cooking, I usually add a little to saag

Pack of frozen or fresh cod fillets (between 400-500g, you can use haddock or Pollock if you prefer)

Oil for cooking

Method

Heat oil to 375 degrees. if oil is too hot, fish will remain raw in middle, if it is too cold, the fish will stew and not fry, the batter may go soggy/greasy and fall apart in oil

If using frozen fish thaw as instructed on packet, use kitchen paper and press firmly to remove excess moisture from the fish, cut into 1 inch chunks and set aside

Combine all the remaining ingredients and add enough water to form a medium consistency which should coat the fish. If batter is too thin it will fall apart in oil

Dip each piece into the batter, coating evenly and drop carefully into oil

Deep fry in batches, until golden brown, about 3 minutes or until fish floats to surface. Allow the batter to cook before turning the fish pakora carefully

Taste the first batch for seasoning/salt and make adjustments if required

Drain on kitchen paper

Serve with lemon cut into wedges

 

 

 

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Fruit Chaat

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A juicy spiced fruit salad, made most frequently during the month of Ramadan. Great way to use up ripe fruit.

Serves 6

Ingredients 

4 apples (any sweet variety)

4 medium bananas

1 small pomegranate

1 guava (white or pink, although pink is harder to find in UK)

1 naval orange

Cup of grapes (white, red or black, I add all 3)

 

The 6 main fruits are listed above but I like to add the following too:

1 mango (Pakistani variety  as they tend to be sweeter)

1-2 Peaches (orange flesh)

You can add other fruits such as blueberries and strawberries, soft summer fruits work the best. Soft medjoul dates chopped into small pieces work really well in this chaat.

1tsp sugar (fruit in the UK is never sweet enough, the sugar adds sweetness and macerates the fruit, making it juicier)

1/4 tsp chaat masala (I use the Lazeez brand)

Squeeze of lemon (stops fruit turning brown)

 

Method

Peel and chop apples into small pieces (the apples are always peeled), add to bowl

Peel and slice bananas, add to bowl

Top and tail the pomegranate, cut into half. Hold each half over bowl with seeds facing down. using a large spoon hit the top of pomegranate firmly, the seeds will pop out easily.

Top and tail the guava, use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds (we cant digest them), chop into small pieces and add to bowl.

My mum leaves the seeds in when she makes this as some of the pulp is lost when scooping them out. When guavas are not in season, pink tinned guava can be used, scoop out the seeds and chop, the flavour is not as good but at least it adds colour to the chaat.  Fresh pink guava is not readily available here in the UK which is a shame!

Using a sharp serrated knife, top and tail the naval orange, cut away the rest of the skin, with the pith and cut out segments.  Squeeze out juice from remainder of orange.

Slice grapes lengthways, add to bowl along with sugar, chaat masala and lemon juice.

If you are adding mango peel with a vegetable peeler if firm and chop into pieces, for peaches the skin can be left on.

Stir well and serve with Vanilla ice cream, mango kulfi or fresh cream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chana Chaat

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A spicy, juicy chickpea salad with the addition of sweet potato and tamarind.

Ingredients

1 white flesh sweet potato  (approx 350g)

1 medium white potato

2 tins of chickpeas

2 baby cucumbers OR 1/2 full size cucumber

10 baby plum/ cherry tomatoes OR 1 medium tomato

1/2 red onion

1/4 cup tamarind sauce (I used the shop brought one by East End, will post home made version soon)

1tsp chaat  masala

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1tsp crushed chilli flakes

1tbsp chopped coriander

1/2 tsp dried mint

Half a lemon

Salt to taste

Method

Make cuts in potatoes and cook in microwave for approximately 5 minutes or until softened. Peel and cut into chunks. Add to bowl.

Wash and drain chickpeas, add to a bowl.

If using baby cucumbers, slice lengthways and cut into pieces. If using large cucumber, peel, cut lengthways, scoop out seeds and slice.

If using baby plum/cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters. If using medium tomato, cut into small chunks.

Dice the red onion, add to bowl along with the cucumber and tomatoes.

Add the tamarind sauce, chaat masala, cumin, red chilli, coriander and mint to the bowl.  (The tamarind contains chillies and spices already, its not necessary to add more but I think the extra cumin and chilli adds a bit of a kick.

Mix thoroughly and taste. Add juice of half a lemon and salt to taste.

You can add extra chaat masala and chilli if you prefer your chaat hot.

I like to drizzle extra tamarind sauce on top before serving.

The chaat is good served with samosas and dhai (yoghurt) pallay (lentil fritters). Recipes coming soon.

 

 

 

 

Pakoray

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Pakoray or onion bhajis as some people call them are spicy vegetable and gram flour fritters which are great in winter, served with a cup of tea.  They can be made with onions but I added potatoes and spinach as that’s the way mother taught me.  The batter will make around 40 pakoray.

Ingredients

2 medium onions

1 medium potato

Bunch of spinach brought from Asian grocer

OR packet of baby spinach from supermarket (small pack 150g)

1tsp salt

2tsp crushed red chilli flakes (I buy chilli flakes and grind in the nutribullet)

1tsp cumin seeds

2tsp ground coriander

50g coriander

1tsp crushed green chillies

2 cups gram flour (besan)

150ml warm water

Oil for frying

 

Method

Peel onions, cut into half, slice finely.

Peel potato, cut into 4 wedges and slice into thin pieces

Wash and roughly chop spinach.

Add the vegetables to a bowl along with all the other ingredients and mix well.

The batter should be a medium consistency, if it is too thick it won’t cook in the centre. If it is too runny it will separate in to bits. So if the batter looks too thick add a little water and mix thoroughly before adding anymore.  If the batter is too runny add a little gram flour.

Heat oil to 180 degrees C, if you don’t have a thermometer then test the oil by dropping a teaspoon of batter into it.  If the oil starts to bubble straight away it is ready.

If the oil isn’t hot enough the bhajis will ‘stew’, absorb too much oil and start to fall apart. If the oil is too hot they will cook on the outside and remain raw on the inside.

Use either a table spoon to carefully drop batter mix into the oil or use your finger tips to pick up a small amount and use your thumb to push the batter into the oil. Be careful not to touch the oil.  Remove the bhaji from oil, drain on kitchen paper and taste.  If you require extra salt and chilli at this point you can add to the batter and mix thoroughly.

Keep dropping the batter in to oil be careful not to crowd the pan as they wont cook properly.

Fry bhajis until golden brown on medium -high heat, turning occasionally to allow even cooking.

Once cooked, remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Pakoray are best served hot with mint yoghurt and ketchup, when I was a kid I used to mix the two.

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot Cupcakes with orange cream cheese frosting

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These carrot cupcakes are moist, sweet and spicy and are topped with a yummy orange cream cheese frosting. If you are making for the kids, leave out the raisins and walnuts. Makes 12

INGREDIENTS

For the cupcakes:

150g self-raising flour

2tsp baking powder

2tsp cinnamon

1tsp ground ginger

175g light brown sugar

50g chopped walnuts

50g raisins

150g carrots, peeled and grated

150ml sunflower oil

2 large eggs, beaten

2tbsp fresh orange juice

For the topping:

2oog full fat soft cheese

100g icing sugar

1 orange zest

1tbsp orange juice

Method Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin cases. Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, sugar, raisins, walnuts, carrots and mix well. In a jug combine the sunflower oil, eggs and orange juice and mix. Fold into the dry ingredients. Pour the cake mix into the jug {easier than spooning) and fill 3/4 of the muffin cases. Bake in centre of oven for 25 minutes, or until they have risen and are springy to touch. Leave to stand in the tin for 10 minutes, then turnout onto a wire cooling rack. In a bowl, combine ingredients for the topping until you have a medium consistency. Use either a pallet knife or piping bag to ice the cupcakes. You can decorate the cupcakes with shop brought sugar carrots, walnuts, homemade marzipan carrots or candied carrots.

A sandwich cake can be made instead of cupcakes. Grease and line two 8 inch cake tins, divide the mix equally. Cook for 25- 30 minutes or until springy to the touch.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Sandwich the layers with half the icing and spread the rest over the top.