One of my favorite parts of entertaining is cooking up delicious dishes for my guests. And I absolutely adore preparing finger food. It gives everyone the opportunity to sample a variety of goodies without having to over indulge. It’s also great if you have a selection of guests that have different tastes and dietary needs. You can easily whip up a good mix of treats for the meat lovers, the vegetarians, the gluten free eaters, etc.
If you aren’t familiar with Pakora it is, simply put, a fritter that is common in India. It is usually a vegetarian dish and if you are careful with ingredients can easily be gluten free as well. Paneer, which I have used in my Pakora, is a firm, fresh, Indian cheese. It is pretty easy to find (I bought mine at Walmart) but if you do have a hard time finding it you can try substituting it with another firm cheese like feta or, if you want a vegan dish you can use tofu.
Pakora and Paneer are both very mild in flavour which gives you a perfect opportunity to punch it up with some authentic Indian flavours like curry and chutney. For this recipe I used Patak’s Mild Curry Paste but if you like things with a little more zip you easily switch it up with the hot paste. The Patak’s Sweet Mango Chutney – either on its own or mixed with a little plain yogurt makes the perfect Pakora dipping sauce.
- 6 ounces (154 grams) of paneer
- 1 heaping tablespoon of Patak's Curry Paste
- ¾ cup of shredded zucchini
- ½ cup of shredded potato
- ¼ cup of diced onion
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped green chillies
- 2 cups of gram (chickpea) flour
- ½ cup of rice flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- a pinch of turmeric
- 1 cup of water
- Cut the paneer into 1 inch cubes.
- Place the paneer cubes in a small bowl and toss with the curry paste
- Cover and set in the fridge while you prepare the pakora batter.
- Mix together the gram flours, rice flours, baking soda and turmeric.
- Mix in the water until just combined.
- Gently squeeze out some of the water in your shredded vegetables. They don't need to be bone dry but you want to take out some of the moisture.
- Stir the veggies into the batter.
- You want a nice thick, almost pasty, batter here that is going to hold up when fried. If it seems a little too thin just add a little more gram or rice flour.
- Get your curry covered paneer from the fridge.
- Heat up your deep fryer or a large pot of vegetable oil until the oil reaches 375 degrees.
- Take a paneer cube and drop it in the batter. Roll it around until it is completely covered in batter.
- Drop into the preheated oil and cook on each side for about 2 minutes or until golden brown. Depending on the size of your fryer/pot you can do 3 or 4 at a time.
- Remove from the oil and place in a small bowl lined with paper towel.
- If you end up with more batter than cheese the pakora is tasty on it's own. Just drop by heaping teaspoon into the oil and cook like you did above.
- Serve with Patak's Sweet Mango Chutney either straight up or mixed ½ and ½ with plain yogurt.
Disclosure: I am part of the Patak’s Canada ambassador program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions are this blog are my own.