Discovering pakora

Indian style fried food leads us straight to a playful, tasty, healthy dish. And gluten free too

09-05-2013
Aubergine pakora with an aubergine Russian salad,

Aubergine pakora with an aubergine Russian salad, a vegan and gluten-free dish by Simone Salvini. It draws from the Indian Ayurveda tradition and it is rich in taste and healthy nutrients

Today I present the ingredients and the method necessary to prepare what I believe is a playful, vegan and rich in nutrients dish. It unites taste, aesthetics and well-being thanks to the combination of the 6 macro-flavours of the Ayurveda tradition: acid, bitter, the astringency of legumes, the sweetness of the vegetables and of the mayonnaise, the saltiness and the spiciness of the aubergine, which is also highlighted by the addition of some chilli pepper.

In Hindi, the word Pakora has a very broad meaning: it usually indicates any kind of fried food made with a batter of chickpea flour. Therefore, it is highly recommended to those who are allergic to gluten. In India people often use ghee to fry; instead, we prefer to use some peanut oil. The last detail regards the mayonnaise which is made with soy milk and olive oil: to me it is a true surprise for the palate as it has no cholesterol but is full of flavour, and very suitable for this recipe.

Aubergine pakora with aubergine Russian salad


Recipe for 4 people

INGREDIENTS
for the Russian salad

2 large aubergines with a shiny skin
100 g of soy milk mayonnaise (see recipe)

The cover of Simone Salvini's latest book, dedicated to vegan pastry art (Mondadori, 191 pages, 19,90 euro)

The cover of Simone Salvini's latest book, dedicated to vegan pastry art (Mondadori, 191 pages, 19,90 euro)

for the pakora
200 g chickpea flour
300 g water
4 g salt
2 g chilli pepper
oil for frying

flowers
aromatic herbs
giant capers

for the soy mayonnaise with extra virgin olive oil
(basic recipe for vegan mayonnaise)
200 g natural soy milk (Provamel)
260 g corn oil
60 g extra virgin olive oil
20 g lemon juice
4 g salt
method for the mayonnaise
1) In a suitable glass, put the milk together with the lemon juice and salt. Blend for a few seconds using a hand blender.
2) Mix the oils in a glass and then pour them slowly on the milk, then blend at the highest speed until the mayonnaise is stabilised and soft. If necessary, add some more extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste, if necessary, and leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Simone Salvini, vegan chef

Simone Salvini, vegan chef

METHOD
1) Peel the aubergines using a peeler; with a sharp knife, cut out 8 rectangular shapes (10x3 cm) from the skins. Cover the skins with some wet paper and leave them in the fridge.
2) Put the chickpea flour and the salt in a metal bowl, gradually add the water and whisk the mixture so as to obtain a smooth batter. Leave it to rest at room temperature for a few hours.
3) Cut the aubergines into slices of the same size, remove any skin and cook them in boiling water (3 lt of water and 30 g of salt) for 8 minutes. Remove them from the water and drain them in a Chinois. Cut the slices into cubes of the same size and mix them with 100 g of vegan mayonnaise. Season to taste, if necessary.
4) Immerse the skins into the batter and fry them in the oil at 180°C for 3 minutes, turning them from time to time. Keep the, warm.
5) Place two parallel pakoras on the base of each - previously warmed up - plate, put a few tablespoons of aubergine Russian salad on top and then add the flowers, the aromatic herbs and the capers you had previously fried for 2 minutes.