My kale is starting to flower, so it was time to finish it off. This hot weather will bring cabbage moths and aphids around anyhow. It has been really hardy and trouble free, and has borne really well for months now. I’ve used it regularly at least a couple of times a week – such a lot of food from such a small area. It works well in soups and stews, pasta and noodle dishes, stuffed and baked and very lightly steamed. And it’s given me a big dose of a huge range of vitamins and minerals and some important anti-cancer phytochemicals all winter. I’m sad to see it go!
But the chooks will love the stalks and older leaves, and I’ve picked all the younger, nicer leaves for this Tuesday Night Vego Challenge. On hot evenings like we have been having lately, a platter of finger food and a cold beer on the verandah is the perfect dinner.
This recipe made plenty for two of us for dinner. It isn’t exactly diet food, but the kale doesn’t absorb as much oil as you might think, and with dipping sauce and accompaniments it’s not too high fat. We like the batter with a bit of spiciness, but you can reduce the ginger, turmeric and chili if you want a milder version.
Make the batter first so it gets 10 minutes or so to sit, then the dipping sauce so it gets a few minutes for the flavours to meld. Then last of all, mix in the kale and fry the pakora.
Use a whisk or a fork to mix together to a smooth batter like a pancake batter:
- 1 cup besan (bean flour – from any wholefoods store)
- two-thirds of a cup water
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- pinch of chili powder or dried chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon grated turmeric (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- ¼ cup finely chopped coriander, stems and leaves, and if you have them roots as well
- pinch salt
Let the batter sit, and go on to make the dipping sauce.
Use a food processor or blender to blend together
- ¾ cup plain yoghurt
- big handful of coriander leaves
- big handful of mint leaves
- pinch salt
Let the dipping sauce sit for the flavours to meld and go on to make the pakora.
Heat up a pan with about half an inch (1.5 cm) of oil. You want it medium hot. I use either avocado oil or light olive oil for frying like this, because they have fairly high smoke points. Light olive oil is light flavoured, not light fat, and it’s light flavoured because it’s highly refined to remove the aromatics. But it makes it better for frying because it means it heats to a much higher temperature without producing any unhealthy by-products. Avocado oil has a very high smoke point, and it’s locally grown in my region, but it is a bit expensive.
Stir into the batter
- 1½ cups (packed) of kale shredded into 3cm or so pieces.
- 1 small onion finely diced
Stir so that all the kale is well coated in batter.
Drop dessertspoons full of batter coated kale into the hot oil. Fry for around 3 minutes each side until they are crisp and golden. Drain on brown paper.
I serve on a platter as finger food for sharing, with the dipping sauce and some raw vegetables (cherry tomatoes, snow peas, celery) to dip too.