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Pakoras are such a treat on a rainy day
5:00am Wednesday 20th June 2012 in Leisure
Food blogger and cook Padmaja Kochera taught herself to cook using her family’s cookbooks when she moved to the UK in 2005.
She appeared on Britain’s Best Dish and won the Step up to the Plate show in 2008. Padmaja, who lives in Southend, teaches south Indian cooking classes at Braxted Park Cookery School, Witham.
MY father’s red and green pepper and potato pakoras is my favourite family recipe.
My dad, Dr Prasad Koti, is a busy doctor and when we were growing up in south India, he didn’t have a lot of spare time.
But when he did, dad would be in the kitchen with me and his four other children cooking pakoras.
Some of us would be chopping up the vegetables, some making the batter and dad would deep fry them.
When they were cooked we would all sit down and eat them together. They were our ultimate comfort food, eaten when we were all there as a family and on rainy days. They conjure up memories of my dad and us growing up in India.
Since moving to the UK with my husband Prabhakar, and having my son Noel, I cook this recipe more and more.
Partly because of the memories it brings back – but also because there are quite a few more rainy days! To me, it is a bonding ritual as much as it is the food, and that’s why I enjoy cooking with my husband and son.
It is a very simple and delicious recipe – but it’s not the same without my dad’s special ingredient of ajwain seed, which you can find at most supermarkets.”
HOW TO MAKE THEM
1) Take one cup of gram (chickpea) flour (per two peppers or two potatoes), a tablespoon of rice flour, half a teaspoon of chilli powder, a pinch of salt and a pinch of baking powder and stir together.
2) Add in my father’s special ingredient, ajwain seeds, which give a tangy flavour.
3) Add two tablespoons of water to create a smooth batter.
4) You can use any vegetables you like, but I like peppers and potato for my pakoras.
5) Dig the vegetables in the batter and deep fry in vegetable oil until golden – cook the potato pakoras for around two minutes either side so they are cooked through.
Padmaja’s next class at Braxted Cookjery School is on Tuesday, August 7. It costs £135 per person a full day of cooking. For details, visit www.cookwithpadmaja.com or www.braxtedparkcookery.co.uk
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