Pakora are Indian fritters, commonly served as a snack or an appetizer. They’re made from a mixture of vegetables, mainly potatoes, onions and greens, deeply flavored with a combination of spices, and then they’re deep-fried to crunchy, golden perfection. We learned how to make them from scratch (along with a creamy yogurt dipping sauce) from Falafel Shack‘s owner, Amer Chaudhry, who suggested using local kale and swiss chard from Bending Bridge Farm. Bending Bridge is a certified organic farm, located on 12 acres in Fort Loudon, PA (in Franklin County, about 14 miles west of Chambersburg, where Falafel Shack is located). Bending Bridge grows gorgeous produce, including abundant leafy greens. Choose local veggies for the yogurt salad to enjoy a Pennsylvania version of this tasty Indian treat.
Falafel Shack’s Pakora with Yogurt Salad
|Prep Time||Cook Time||Total Time|
|25 min||15 min||40 min|
- 1 small local cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 local red onion, chopped
- 2 local tomatoes, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (32-ounce) container organic plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon lightly toasted cumin seeds
- Ground sumac, to taste.
- Place all of the vegetables into a large bowl. Add the yogurt, salt, pepper and spices (all except sumac) and mix well.
- Put the yogurt salad in a medium sized dish and garnish with a few pinches of sumac.
- Allow to marinate while you prepare the pakora.
Ajwain is a spice commonly found in traditional Indian cuisine. It is part of the same family of plants as caraway, cumin and fennel. It has an aroma similar to thyme and a bitter, pungent flavor, not unlike anise and oregano. Look for it in Indian markets or online.
Besan, also known as gram or chickpea flour, is made from ground chickpeas. It is a common ingredient in Indian, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Nepali, Pakistani and Sri Lankan cuisines. It is high in carbohydrates, fiber and protein, and it is naturally gluten-free. Look for it in Indian markets, health food stores or online.
- 1 local potato, thinly sliced
- 2 local jalapeños, thinly sliced
- 2 local onions, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch local, organic kale, chopped
- 1 bunch local, organic swiss chard, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
- 2 cups besan (chickpea flour)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/4 heaping teaspoon ajwain
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup dry fenugreek leaves (crushed by hand)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup water
- Canola oil for deep frying
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until a thick vegetable batter is formed.
- Heat a few inches of oil in a wok to 350° and take spoonful of the batter and deep-fry until light gold color. Do not overcrowd the wok (may need to work in batches).
- Carefully drain the fried pakoras on a paper towel and allow to cool. Serve with yogurt salad for dipping.
- Recipe: Amer Choudhry of Falafel Shack
- Photo: Dish Works