Cauliflower pakoras with raita

Cauliflower pakoras with raita

A Year at Otter Farm
Mark Diacono

I could eat these pakoras every day, they are so good. The batter works equally well coating Romanesco, calabrese, sliced onions and most root veg. I usually eat them with the minty, poppy seed raita, below, and/or sweet chilli dipping sauce.


Quantity Ingredient
1 medium cauliflower
3 onions
140g chickpea flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon salt
100ml water
sunflower oil, for deep-frying

For the raita

Quantity Ingredient
300ml natural yoghurt
a handful mint leaves, finely shredded
2 teaspoons poppy seeds

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
a good sprinkling of coriander microleaves
or 1/2 handful coriander, finely chopped


  1. For the raita, combine the yoghurt, mint and poppy seeds in a bowl.
  2. Remove and discard the outer leaves and stalk from the cauliflower, then cut it into 1cm pieces. Finely slice the onions.
  3. To make the batter, sift the flour, bicarbonate soda, ground spices and salt together into a large bowl. Add most of the water and mix into the flour with your fingertips, adding more of the water a little at a time, if needed, to form a thickish batter (think pricey emulsion).
  4. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a suitable large, deep, heavy pan (it should fill no more than one-third of the pan) to about 170°C. To test the temperature, drop a small cube of bread into the oil – it should fizz and brown in around a minute.
  5. Toss the onions and cauliflower together in a bowl. Add the batter and turn the vegetables to coat well.
  6. You will need to cook the pakoras in batches to ensure you don’t crowd the pan; I usually cook three at a time. Carefully ease a spoonful of the mixture into the hot oil. When it begins to cook, add a couple more. Turn the pakoras occasionally so that they cook and colour evenly. This should take 7–10 minutes. When they are golden brown and cooked through, lift them out with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper to drain. Keep hot while you cook the rest.
  7. Sprinkle the pakoras with a little sea salt, pepper and coriander, and serve with the minty raita.
River Cottage
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