Monday, June 21, 2010

Vegetable Pakoras with Cherry Chutney

We saw Danny Devito on the way to the farmers' market yesterday! It's always fun to see people from TV and movies in real life.

On the way home, we stopped at the Indian market for some chickpea flour and other assorted pantry supplies. A video tour of the store is available on You Tube.

We decided to enter another food contest at A + M blog (check it out here). This week's featured ingredient is cherries. We thought most entries would be something sweet, and so we decided to do something savory. Plus, here at City Share our goal is to present meal ideas. We landed on vegetable pakoras with cherry chutney. We've had lots of mango chutneys at Indian restaurants, and decided to adapt it for cherries. Cherries are bountiful these days and it fits our theme of seasonal food.

Vegetable pakoras are always a hit. I've taken them to lots of parties and people always ask me for the recipe. The great thing about them is that the basic recipe can be adapted to use up any vegetables on hand. This time around I used chopped turnips, turnip greens and onions. I steamed the greens to make sure they got cooked through. I have made them before with cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, kale, etc. We also made mint chutney to use up our wild mint from the week before. Pakoras are traditionally served as an appetizer, but they were so good that's all we ate last night, and we saved the "dinner" for lunches.

Vegetable Pakoras
1 C chickpea flour
1 t salt
1/2 t ground turmeric
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t garam masala
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 C water
3 C chopped vegetables

Mix the chickpea flour, salt, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala and garlic. Add the water and mix well. Mix in the vegetables. In a large straight-sided skillet, pour the oil to a depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium heat. Working in small batches, fry the mixture, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt to taste. Repeat with the remaining mixture.

Cherry Chutney
2 C cherries, pitted and chopped
1/2 C sugar
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3/4 C apple cider vinegar
2 t ginger, peeled and minced
1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, finely minced

Simmer the cherries and sugar until the cherries begin to break up (5-10 minutes). Mix in the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate for several hours before serving. If you want it to be chunkier, drain off some of the liquid.

Mint Chutney
juice of 1 lime
2 T agave nectar
1 C mint, packed
1 T water
1/2 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed, minced
1/4 t cayenne (or to taste)

Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender. Mix until smooth. Refrigerate for several hours before serving.

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