Chicken Pakora with Plum Chutney — it’s tough to decide what should get top billing, the chicken or the chutney. Just look at the vibrant color of the cooked plums. But then again just look at that crispy chicken!
I knew after my Spinach and Onion Pakora that I wasn’t quite done with the whole pakora thing. Once I find something I like I have to obsess over it for a while. It’s just the way I am. For those of you who say you don’t like Indian food, I hope you’re slowly changing your mind. These little chicken nuggets are tender and so delicious. Leave out the hot peppers and serve them with ketchup or ranch dressing if you’re feeding kids. And I swear the chickpea flour batter alone is reason enough to try these; you may never go back to regular flour for fried foods again.
This Plum Chutney is completely different from the Green Chutney of the other day, and yet it’s equally intense and equally as beautiful. This is more of the classic thick, sweet and tangy sauce you’re probably used to. It’s got a hot kick from the Thai chilies, a fruity sweetness from the plums, and a tang from the vinegar and limes. You can use any plum variety you want; I used one I hadn’t seen before called Red Velvet. This would be a great use for those tiny green plums that are in the farmer’s markets right now, too. The tarter the fruit the better.
I guess I’m leading off with the chutney…
Plum Chutney with Thai Chili and Lime
makes 3 half-pint jars
2 lbs plums, pitted and rough chopped (weigh them after pitting and chopping)
1 cup sugar
1 doz tiny Thai chili peppers, finely sliced (any hot pepper will do)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
zest of 1 lime, finely shredded
juice of 2 limes
- Put all the ingredients in a heavy pot and stir to combine well.
- Cover and set aside for a hour.
- Bring to a boil and boil the mixture for about 30 to 40 minutes, until reduced and thickened. You can test the mixture for doneness by dropping a bit on a very cold plate, it should jell as it cools.
- Ladle into clean jars until 1/2 inch from the top. Screw on the lids (not too tightly) and set the jars upside down to cool.
There are so many ways to use this chutney once you’ve devoured all the Chicken Pakora. Try it as a condiment on a cheese plate, as a glaze on pork or chicken, on a ham and cheese or turkey sandwich, or the classic way, alongside a curry.
You can see I’m still using Elisa’s simple canning method of flipping the hot just-filled jars upside down to cool and seal themselves. So far I’ve made a sweet jam, a hot pepper jam, and now a chutney using this method and they’ve all been super easy and turned out perfectly.
The Chicken for the pakora gets marinated in a mixture of spices, peppers and citrus juice, and then quick fried in the silky chickpea batter. It’s so good I can’t stop thinking of other things worthy of the pekora treatment… maybe some shrimp, definitely eggplant, and cauliflower.
makes 4 small or 2 large portions
for the marinade
1 lb chicken tenders, sliced into bite sized pieces
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 lemon
for the batter
1 cup chickpea (or garbanzo) flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm water, (more or less)
vegetable oil for frying
- Put the chicken tenders in a bowl along with 1 tsp of the garam masala, the mustard seeds, hot pepper flakes, jalapeno, and citrus juices. Mix well and set aside to marinate for about an hour in the refrigerator.
- Mix the chickpea flour with the baking powder, garam masala, turmeric and salt. Add in the warm water until it forms a thick batter. It should be thick enough to coat the chicken without dripping off. Use more or less water as necessary.
- Put the chicken mixture into the batter and blend well.
- Heat about two inches of oil in a heavy pot until it reaches about 325. Scoop out the coated pieces of chicken with tongs and drop into the hot oil. Fry a few pieces at a time, for about 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the size of your pieces. They should be golden and cooked through. You may have to cut one open at first to determine that they are fully cooked. Remember they will continue to cook a bit after they are out of the pan from the residual heat.
- Drain on a paper towel. Serve hot with chutney on the side.
Notes: You don’t have to use a huge amount of oil to fry these. If you use a smaller pan you can get away with much less oil, just be sure you have at least an inch and a half or two of depth, and don’t fry too many at a time. I fried them in batches of about 4 or 5. These pakora were not particularly spicy despite the jalapeno and red pepper flakes.