‘People often peel vegetables needlessly when just a good scrub will do,” says Victoria Glass, author of Too Good to Waste (Nourish Books, 2017). “Soft-skinned vegetables often don’t need peeling, but when my child started weaning, she’d turn her nose up at any peel whatsoever.” Glass ended up with a buildup of peelings in a plastic box, and, while they were great for stock, there were just too many to use up, so she began coming up with new ways of cooking with them. These vegetable peel pakoras became her favourite recipe.
Vegetable peel pakoras
Pakora recipes often instruct you to grate or finely chop vegetables anyway, which is a job saved if you use peelings and scraps otherwise destined for the food-waste bin. Collect scraps in a tub in the fridge or freezer until you have enough to make this recipe.
Like most batters, pakora batter is best made in advance, at least 30 minutes before and even a day or two ahead. To save and reuse the frying oil, leave it to cool down completely, strain through a fine sieve and cheesecloth into a container and store in a cool, dark place.
70g chickpea flour
30g rice flour (or 30g extra chickpea flour)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp nigella
½ tsp turmeric
Oil, for frying
6 sprigs fresh coriander, roughly chopped
300g vegetable scraps – for example, peelings, root greens, spring onion tops, etc
To serve (optional)
Raita, mango chutney and coriander sprigs
Measure the flours into a bowl and mix in the salt, cumin, nigella and turmeric. Whisk in 150ml water to make a batter the consistency of thick double cream, then leave to rest for at least 30 minutes; add more water, if need be, to get the right consistency.
Fill a wide saucepan no more than a third full with frying oil and put it on a medium heat. Test the temperature by dropping in a drip of batter: if it bubbles and rises to the surface almost immediately, the oil is ready.
Mix the coriander and vegetable scraps into the batter. Pick up a sixth of the pakora mix with a ladle and carefully drop it into the hot oil, then repeat with another ladle or two without crowding the pan. Fry for three minutes, then flip and fry for another three minutes, until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer the pakoras to a rack to drain, and keep warm while you fry the remaining pakora mix. Serve hot with raita and mango chutney.