Category Archives: Vegetarian

Pakora (Deep Fried Vegetable Balls)

Pakora’s are a delicious fried little munchie that seems to be another Ramadan staple but of course it can be enjoyed all year round.  Oh! and this is soooo delicious with Laban Up.

The Pakora’s that I either bought or ate somewhere else were always hard and heavy feeling.  I played around with the ingredients and have come up with this lighter and crunchier version that is filled with more vegetables.  I hope you try it and like it!  It is very easy to make and I will provide you with 4 variations on what to put inside.

Pakora (Deep Fried Vegetable Balls)

Ingredients for batter:

3/4 cup chickpea (besam) flour (this can be found in an Indian grocery store)

1/4 cup corn meal or rice powder (I prefer using the corn meal though)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon red chili powder (or 1 heaping teaspoon Mexican-style chili powder)

1 teaspoon tumeric powder

1 egg

1/2 cup water

In a medium size bowl, mix all these ingredients together.

Ingredients for vegetable variations:

Variation #1:  

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped cilentro

1-2 finely chopped green chilies (it is up to you on the heat…deseed if you want)

Variation #2:

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoon finely chopped cilentro

8 oz uncooked potato, shredded

1 green chili finely chopped (optional)

Variation #3

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons of finely chopped cilentro

1 small raw carrot, shredded

1 small raw zucchini, shredded

1 small raw potato, shredded

Variation #4

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cups of small okra (okra zero) or 1 cup sliced okra

Cooking Directions:

Once you have chosen which vegetable variation you will use just add it to the batter.  Mix it very well.  It should be thick like in the 2nd picture below.

You can fry it now or you can place this in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (not necessary) but I like for the flavors to blend together and also I like to prepare it in advance so I can fry it 45 minutes before Iftar (breaking our fast during Ramadan).

If you let the mixture settle in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, you will notice that it has become a little runny…no worries…this is how turns out if you let it sit for a while.  You will need to add a little bit more of the chickpea flour and the cornmeal.  You can add an additional 3 tablespoons of chickepea flour and 1 tablespoon of corn meal at a time. It will be 1/4 cup total addition.

Go ahead and heat up enough oil (I like to use corn oil or canola oil) in a wok or  deep-sided frying pan.  Turn the heat down to medium-high.

Drop by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil.

Gently fry the pakoras until they get a nice golden brown color.  Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.

This recipe will make around 24 pakoras.

I like to serve this with 1 cup of yogurt and 1 packet of salad dressing mix (basil & thyme).  It is sooooo yummmy!   

Enjoy!

edited (07-27-2012): to add the variation #4 and to fix up the wording of the recipe.

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Herbed Lentil and Bulghur Salad

I found this recipe the other day via SparkPeople.com.  I am trying to get my family and I to eat more healthier foods so now I am on the look out for recipes that I know everyone in the family will eat.

I made this two days ago and it was so good.  It is like a tabbouli salad but with more fresh herbs, and the addition of brown lentils, a little more veggies, and some walnuts.  My husband and I really liked the salad…the kiddos…well three out of four ate it and liked it.  I will definitely make it again.

Here’s the recipe:

Herbed Lentil and Bulghur Salad (makes 4 to 8 servings)

Ingredients:

1 cup of brown lentils

2 cups of water (for cooking the lentils)

1 cup of bulghur

2 cups of boiling water (for soaking the bulghur)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

3 tablespoons of fresh mint, chopped

3 tablespoons of fresh dill, chopped

3 -4 green onions, chopped

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1 stalk of celery, chopped

1/4 cup roasted walnuts, roughly chopped (or if you prefer roasted pine nuts or roasted slivers of almonds)

1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives or sliced pimento olives

1/4 cup of lite feta cheese , used to top the salad with

chopped tomatoes for topping

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Wash and rinse the brown lentils.  Add to a pot  with the 2 cups of water.  Partially cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Drain and place into a large bowl.

While the lentils are cooking, soak the bulghur wheat in a bowl with the 2 cups of boiling water.  When the lentils are done cooking drain and remove as much of the water from the bulghur and then add to the lentils.

In a small frying pan, heat the olive oil and add the minced garlic.  Cook for just a couple of seconds and then add to the lentils and bulghur.

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the feta cheese and tomato, and then add salt and pepper to taste.  I really don’t think it needs additional salt because of the olives.  The tomatoes and feta will be used to top the salad when you serve it.  Just put about a tablespoon of the feta cheese on top of the salad and as much as the chopped tomatoes as you want.

Yummm, this is just soooo good!  I am going to make some more for lunch today!  Oh, and I want to add that this would go really well with some grilled chicken breast.

Enjoy!