Warm monsoon rains with their sultry aftermath were always a reason to cook up these crispy vegetable chickpea batter pakoras (crispy dumplings) when I was growing up in Pakistan. A true essence of summer rains and homely comfort when washed down with a cup of Cardamom milky tea or 'chai'. You can use any vegetable you like! Even cheese works! —Sumayya Usmani
chickpea flour / gram flour
rice flour (not ground rice)
dry roasted cumin seeds
red chilli powder / cayenne
Tap water to make the batter
Enough vegetable oil to fry the pakoras
slices of aubergines, halved
okra, sliced into 4 pieces horizontally
a red onion, cut into thin rings
To garnish: 1 tsp finely chopped mint leaves 1 green chilli, sliced thinly 1 tsp chaat masala (optional, can be found in most South Asian shop, a tangy spice blend)
Whip up the batter ingredients into a thick batter by adding water slowly.
Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan (use as much as you like, I prefer to shallow fry). Keep the oil on medium heat.
Dip each slice of vegetable in the batter until coated evenly, dip into hot oil and fry either side until light brown.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve garnished with chopped mint leaves and sliced green chilli and chaat masala (You can also substitute chaat masala with a sprinkling of red chilli powder and ground cumin)
Sumayya is a food writer and cookery teacher who grew up in Pakistan, but has now found home in Glasgow. Sumayya is passionate about sharing the flavours of her homeland with a view to highlight Pakistani cuisine as a distinct one. The author or two cookbooks: Summers Under The Tamarind Tree (Frances Lincoln) and Mountain Berries and Desert Spice (Frances Lincoln, out April 2017), her writing reminisces about food and memories growing up in Pakistan. She writes for many publications, appears on television, and co-presents BBC Kitchen Cafe weekly, on BBC Radio Scotland.