Parsnip and ginger pakoras

Parsnip pakoras

Parsnips and ginger taste so wonderful together. So bright and sweet and fresh! Here they find themselves grated, thrown together in a sea of chickpea batter, and dunked unceremoniously in hot olive oil till they crisp up nicely. I was once again plagued by indecision on how exactly to spice the batter. Coriander, obviously, because it has it’s own distinctive bright sweetness. And I’d thought of adding cardamom, which I also think of as sweet, but I decided to add things that balance the sweetness rather than add to it. So a tiny bit of cumin and tumeric, earthy and pretty, a very small, very finely diced garlic clove, and a pinch of cayenne for heat. In the end a nice combination, with all the flavors blending to a harmonious whole, just as they should. This isn’t a traditional pakora batter – I added some white flour, and I used beer rather than water, to make it nice and bubbly. The pakoras turned out perfectly crispy on the outside, light and crunchy. The inside was a little denser and softer than it tends to be in restaurants, but it seemed like a nice contrast. I wanted the batter to be vegan, but I think if I’d added an egg, the inside would have been less dense. I’ll try it sometime and let you know!

Of course you have to have a dipping sauce with pakoras! I wanted something sweet/spicy/savory/tart, (don’t I always!) So I made a kind of smooth chutney of apricots, raisins, tamarind, shallots and garlic.

Here’s MF DOOM with Coriander.

2 cups peeled grated parsnips (about 4 small parsnips. I ended up adding one carrot, because I didn’t have enough parsnips!)
1 cube of ginger, about an inch square, grated
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 T olive oil.

Combine all these things, and spread them on a toaster tray or baking sheet. Toast or roast (at 425) for about 10 minutes, just till it starts to become the tiniest bit brown, and very fragrant.

3/4 cup chickpea flour (gram flour)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t coriander
pinch each, cumin, cayenne and tumeric
1/2 t. basil
about 1 1/2 cups beer
black pepper.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk in the beer. You want it to be a loose batter, like whipped cream maybe. It will thicken as it sits.

Leave in a warm place for 1/2 an hour to an hour, till it gets nice and bubbly.

Stir the parsnips into the batter. At this point, if you wanted to try it, you could add an egg to the mix.

Warm olive oil in a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. About 1/2 inch deep should do it. When the oil is hot enough to sizzle a crumb, drop the batter by teaspoonfuls into the oil. Let it cook for a few minutes, till it’s nice and brown and crispy, then turn it over and cook the other side. Drain on a towel or a slotted tray, and keep warm in a toaster oven or regular oven till you’re ready to eat.

Apricot tamarind chutney

8 dried apricots
1 T olive oil
1/2 t. tamarind concentrate
1 T golden raisins
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 small clove of garlic, finely diced
2 t. tomato paste
1 t. balsamic vinegar
1-2 T brown sugar
pinch ginger powder
salt and black pepper.
1 1/2 -2 cups water

Warm the olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the shallots, garlic, apricots, raisins and tamarind concentrate. Mix well. Stir in the sugar, vinegar, tomato paste and ginger. Mix well and warm through. Add the water, first one cup, then when that cooks off a bit, some more. You want the water to almost cover the apricots. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Process until smooth, and taste for salt, pepper and sweetness.

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One thought on “Parsnip and ginger pakoras

  1. I love parsnips and ginger, so I am hoping to try to make these. Not a lot of parsnips down here but I will keep an eye out.

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