Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light, combines family celebrations with delicious food. Deena Madhvani shares one of her favourite Diwali foods that also appeals to her picky child. Deena is a food writer who also runs cookery classes. Her recipes have influences from the world, with a strong Indian personality. You can find more of her recipes and meal ideas at Deena Kakaya.
Diwali is a full of light, smiles, colours, family and food. Typically we will visit house to house of family members to wish them seasons greetings and continue feasting together. In weather like this, a good pakora will warm up guests and fill the house with tasty aroma.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a pakora. Who can argue with a crisp, fluffy, deep and spicy ball of vegetables and flavours that are so punchy you can smell them in your hair? There is no charm like eating hot, slightly sweet and spicy pakora when the cold weather is kissing your cheeks and and your knees are lightly trembling under that Diwali sari.
I’ve been fuelling up my guests with pakora wraps. I’ve got loads of tortilla wraps in the house and the guests have effortlessly been chucking the pakora onto a tortilla, grabbing a fistful of salad and slathering on a dressing. Classy, aren’t we?
I don’t normally offer my toddler deep-fried treats, but it’s Diwali and everything in moderation. My little one asked for a pakora. I’m stunned he ate banana; he normally won’t touch it. If anything can tempt, this can.
Oil for deep frying
1/2 cup sweetcorn kernels
1 medium onion
1.5 bananas chopped into bite sized chunks
100g fenugreek leaves, finely chopped
1-2 green chilies
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
2 cups of gram flour
Approx 200ml water
1.5 tsp baking powder
1. Heat the oil in a deep pan whilst you prepare the batter
2. Combine the sweetcorn, onion, banana and fenugreek leaves in a large bowl and then sprinkle in the chilies, salt, turmeric, cumin seeds, lemon juice. Mix well and then combine in the garlic and ginger, and stir again.
3. Introduce the gram flour and combine with the spices and vegetables thoroughly before stirring in the water. You should look to achieve a batter that is thick and the texture of cake mixture. Stir in the baking powder and mix it through completely.
4. Check that the oil is hot by dropping in a small amount of batter and if it rises and sizzles then the batter oil is ready.
5. Gently drop into the hot oil generous pinches of batter, approximately the size of a baby plum tomato. When they achieve a golden brown colour, remove them with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper and serve hot and crisp.