“People often peel vegetables unnecessarily when a good wash is enough,” says Victoria Glass, author of Too Good to Waste (Nourish Books, 2017). “Smooth-skinned vegetables often don’t need peeling, but when my daughter started weaning, she would turn up her nose at any peel.” Glass ended up with a backlog of shells in a plastic box, and while they were great for storage, there were too many to use, so she began to come up with new ways to cook with them. These vegetable peel pakoras became her favorite recipe.
Vegetable Skin Pakoras
Pakora’s recipes often tell you to grate or finely chop the vegetables anyway, which is work saved if you use the peelings and scraps meant for the trash. Collect leftovers in a tub in the fridge or freezer until you have enough to make this recipe.
Like most batters, it’s best to make pakora batter ahead of time, at least 30 minutes in advance and even a day or two in advance. To save and reuse frying oil, let cool completely, strain through a fine strainer and cheesecloth into a container, and store in a cool, dark place.
70 g chickpea flour
30 g of rice flour (or 30g extra chickpea flour)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon nigella
½ teaspoon turmeric
6 sprigs of fresh cilantrocoarsely chopped
300g of vegetables waste – for example, skins, green roots, spring onion heads, etc.
To serve (optional)
Raita, mango chutney and coriander sprigs
Measure the flours into a bowl and mix together the salt, cumin, nigella and turmeric. Whisk in 150ml of water to make a batter with the consistency of heavy double cream, then let stand for at least 30 minutes; add more water, if necessary, to get the right consistency.
Fill a wide saucepan no more than one-third full with frying oil and place over medium heat. Test the temperature by dropping a bit of the batter: if it bubbles and rises to the top almost immediately, the oil is ready.
Mix cilantro and vegetable scraps into the batter. Scoop up a sixth of the pakora mixture with a ladle and carefully drop it into the hot oil, then repeat with another ladle or two without filling the pan. Fry for three minutes, then flip and fry for another three minutes, until golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pakoras to a wire rack to drain and keep warm while you fry the remaining pakora mixture. Serve hot with raita and mango chutney.