Pakora, also called pakoda, pakodi, fakkura, bhajiya, bhajji, bhaji or ponako, is a fried snack, originating from the Indian subcontinent. It is a popular snack across the Indian subcontinent, where it is served in restaurants and sold by street vendors
Love Food - Prempali's Pakoras
Prempali Kaur helps us to launch this new regular feature where we share our customers’ love of cooking and a favourite recipe for you to try.
Hello! Tell us a little bit about yourself please
My full name is Prempali Kaur but my family nickname is Betty, which comes from the word Behti – a cute name for a girl or daughter in Hindi. I grew up in London and now live in Hebburn with my three children. I work in catering which is handy because I get to work with food all day.
When did your love of cooking begin?
I learned to cook as a child and remember making my first meal when I was eight. I made dahl, a simple and delicious lentil stew and I was very proud of it! I cooked a lot growing up as I cared for my sick mum and my younger siblings. I learned quickly how cooking gave me a world of confidence and I found happiness through feeding others. I still feel the same and I’m never happier than when my kids tell me they love my food.
Is there anything you don’t like to cook?
Believe it or not, I only just learned to cook rice! I don’t know why but I just couldn’t get it right but recently it just clicked. I think I’ve got the temperature just right now. My mum used to joke “how will I ever get you married if you can’t cook rice?” because in my culture it’s considered really important that girls learn to cook before they are married!
Visualise your dream dinner date – what would you eat?
Persian cuisine. I discovered it recently and I love how they use salt and a little chilli to create subtle but incredible flavours. People misunderstand Indian food and think it always has to be spicy, which isn’t true, but I don’t help that rumour because I’ve always bombarded my food with spices! Since trying Persian food I’ve learned less can be more.
What have you picked to cook for us and why?
Pakoras. These lovely little snacks are really simple to make and smell amazing as they cook. They always bring a smile to people’s faces and are often served at birthdays and weddings so can make even an ordinary day feel a bit special.
This is a basic pakora recipe that you can add to with whatever you like. Try chicken, peppers, cauliflower, mushrooms – or whatever leftovers you have in the fridge. Kind of like an Indian bubble and squeak! Enjoy them with chutney as a snack or as a side dish with curry.
If you would like to try Prempali's Pakora recipe, below is the ingredients you will need and a step by step to follow.
2 baby aubergines
Gram flour (chickpea flour)
Quarter tin of chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt
1-2 chillies (optional)
Salt and pepper
Vegetable or sunflower oil
Chop the onions, potatoes and aubergines into small, thin pieces and place in a bowl
Add the gram flour, tomatoes and yoghurt
Stir to make a thick batter
Add salt, pepper, coriander and chillies (if using)
Heat oil in a wok or deep frying pan. You’ll need enough to almost cover the pakoras. Carefully place a few tablespoons of mixture in – each spoonful will become a pakora! Turn them carefully until golden brown
Remove carefully and let them rest in some kitchen roll.
Tip! Add more gram flour if the batter seems too watery, or a little water if too thick. The batter needs to be thick enough to bind the ingredients together and not be runny when spooned into the oil.
We’re looking for more of our fabulous home cooks to feature on these pages! If the kitchen is your happy place, we’d love to hear from you. We’re interested in all styles of cooking, diets and dishes. Drop us a line at email@example.com to get involved.