This recipe was submitted to me by my sister in her attempts at discovering healthier ways of cooking foods that are traditionally deep-fried. Whenever we would visit a relative or fellow Bangladeshi’s home, out would come the frying pan! And along with it – a string of health problems!
So here goes: Just try out this small quantity to start with, then double the ingredients if it works! Your Feedback is greatly encouraged.
1 medium onion, finely sliced into half inch cubes
1 medium potato, finely sliced into half inch cubes.
1 green chilli, including seeds, finely sliced into rounds
generous sprinkle of salt
¼ tsp cumin seeds (optional)
small sprinkling chilli powder
2 cups Gram flour (made from chick peas, authentic name is ‘Besan’)
One handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
Tips: You could also add other vegetables such as a handful of chopped spinach leaves, half a courgette/zucchini or a little aubergine/eggplant finely sliced and ¼ cup dried orange lentils soaked overnight. Additional vegetables make this a very tasty appetizer or snack, even rolled up in chapatti or pitta with salad for lunch.
1. Preheat the oven to a medium heat, about 180 degrees including a baking sheet.
2. Combine all the vegetables (except green chilli) with the salt in a mixing bowl. Rub and squeeze the vegetables and salt together for a good 5 minutes, to encourage the moisture to be released. Add the spices and green chilli and mix together with a spoon.
3. Add the gram flour, mix through to coat evenly, then add 1 cup of tap water to start with. Keep mixing in. It should form a nice loose paste around the vegetables, If it is too thick, add a little more water. Stir in the fresh coriander and cumin seeds.
4. Get out the deep fryer, sorry!…..Use spray oil on the heated baking sheet to prevent the bhaji/pakora sticking to the tin. Spoon one dessertspoonful for each one, leaving at least an inch gap inbetween.
5. Use spray oil evenly over the top of each and then bake in the oven until golden brown. Break open one to see if cooked through. If not, return it to the oven on a lower heat for a little longer.
Recommendations: Enjoy with tamarind sauce, hot chilli sauce or plain yogurt mixed with a little mint sauce.
Recipe submitted by Shakila Ahmed