We’re eight days into the Covid-19 lockdown and there’s been very little sun in Johannesburg for the last three. In-between remembering to take Vitamin D supplements and draping laundry all over the lounge to dry, a craving for something fried and crispy gained an increasing urgency. I remembered the spinach pakoras a neighbour brought over once upon a time pre-lockdown. They were more spinach than batter and I loved their satisfyingly crunchy mouthfeel. I googled a few recipes to replicate and adapted them to what I had on hand.

Crunchy Spinach Pakora

  • 4 to 5 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 de-seeded and chopped green chillies
  • 1 cup chana (gram) flour
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1/3 cup self-raising flour
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon roughly ground anise or fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
  • chopped fresh mint to taste
  • chopped fresh coriander to taste

Mix all the ingredients together. Add a little water at a time to bind the pakora mix. You don’t want a runny batter, just enough for the spinach to clump together. Heat your oil. When ready, use an ice cream scoop or tablespoon to portion out the batter. Fry and drain. Serve immediately. If there are any leftovers, revive them by heating in an air fryer or the oven before eating. These are delicious with a squeeze of lemon and a tamarind or coriander chutney.

Tip: to make these completely gluten-free, replace the self-raising flour with the equivalent in gram flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.