What’s not to love about chicken pakoras? Maunika’s crispy, spicy recipe coats tender bites of chicken thighs in garlic, chilli, fennel and chaat masala.
For the chicken
- 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 5cm/2in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild chilli powder)
- half a lemon, juice only
- 500g/1lb 2oz boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- chaat masala, to season
- salt, to taste
For the batter
- 80g/3oz gram flour
- 30g/1oz cornflour
Blend the garlic and ginger to a paste with a splash of water. Set aside.
Crush the fennel seeds and black pepper to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar. Combine with the kashmiri chilli powder, garlic and ginger paste, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the chicken, cover and marinate for 2 hours or overnight, in the fridge.
Pour the vegetable oil into a heavy-bottomed pan or a deep-fat fryer and heat to 180C, or until a cube of bread turns golden brown in 15 seconds. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
To make the batter, combine the gram flour and cornflour in a bowl and whisk in about 90ml/3fl oz water a little at a time. Pour the batter in with the chicken and coat all the pieces.
Deep-fry the chicken pakoras, in batches, for 5–6 minutes or until golden-brown and crispy. Drain the cooked pakoras on kitchen paper and sprinkle with chaat masala. Serve warm.