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FRIDAY NIGHT DINNERS. Cauliflower, shallot & coriander pakora w/ fresh 'chucumber' Indian spiced salsa

I have made this recipe 1000 times or more. It's super easy and the cauliflower can be substituted for many other vegetables (such as cubes or roasted butternut squash or shredded cabbage).

It's essential to get the seasoning right - the balance of salt, pepper and enough acidity from the lime juice - so if you have time, cook off a small test fritter first to check your seasoning before cooking them all.

Makes around 8 large fritters for 16 - 20 canapé sized ones.

Core ingredients

500g cauliflower, chopped into small florets.
A 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped, stalks & all
A pinch of chilli flakes
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 banana shallots, very finely sliced into half moons (or one medium white onions)
The zest and juice of a lime
100g plain or gram flour (gram flour to be used if wanting to keep this gluten free)
1 egg, beaten
Sea salt & black pepper (be generous)
Vegetable or ground nut oil for shallow frying

For the chucumber

1 red onion, finely chopped

1 small cucumber (or 200g) finely cubed

3 tablespoons coriander, chopped
1 small red chilli, seeds removed, very finely chopped – adjust how much you use to your taste and the heat of the chilli
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon mild flavoured oil, I use rapeseed oil
A pinch of caster sugar
Salt & pepper
2 teaspoons chaat masala (see note below)

Note on chaat masala. If you haven’t got this at home you can make a spice mix out of things you have in your cupboard. Ideally we would toast and grind the spices ourselves but if that’s not possible you can use a variation on the following: Cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, raw mango powder, salt & pepper, asafetida powder, ginger powder, powdered mint


Making the fritters & chucumber

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190c.
  2. For the chucumber - put all ingredients in a bowl and toss well, set aside for the flavours to develop.
  3. Toss the cauliflower florets in a little oil, salt & pepper and dried chilli flakes, then roast in a hot oven for just 8 minutes until a little softened. Set aside to cool.
  4. Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the ginger and garlic over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Drop into a bowl with the cauliflower then add all the other fritter ingredients. Stir together until everything is incorporated with no lumps in the ‘batter’. *Note.* The ratio of flour to egg may very depending on how wet some of the other ingredients are. Juicy limes, onions etc. can mean you may need a little more flour. The batter should coat the ingredients nicely without being too runny.
  5. Pour vegetable oil into a pan – 1.5cm depth – and heat. When hot, spoon in fritter sized portions of the batter mix (approx 8cm diameter) and cook for around 2-3 mins on both sides until golden. Don't overcrowd the pan, cook them off in batches. Drain on some kitchen paper.
  6. Serve with the chucumber on the side and a little yoghurt or raita if you prefer.


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