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Nick Nairn’s Vegetable Pakora & Spicy Dipping Sauce

“From our home kitchen in Bridge of Allan, these pakoras are mainly veg, just bound together with a bit of flour – you can use any mix of veg you happen to have in the fridge – and they are absolutely delicious!  I could eat them every day!

Huge thanks to the magnificent, gracious, elegant and beautiful Mrs Nairn for filming!”

Nick Nairn, official chef of the BIG dinner 2 

Nick Nairn is the official chef of the BIG dinner 2.  He has already inspired us with his video recipe for garam masala and his video made jointly with Paul Rankin on how to make Asian Scotch broth but he had to take a break when his and Julia’s restaurant, Nick’s in Bridge of Allan burned down in August.  They hope to re-open in Bridge of Allan at Easter, but in the meantime, you can visit Nick’s at Port of Menteith and also the Cook School and lifestyle shop there (

Nick Nairn’s Vegetable Pakora & Spicy Dipping Sauce

Ingredients (serves 2-4):

1 red onion finely chopped

1 handful of frozen peas

1 small bowl of broccoli or cauliflower florets

1 small bowl of chopped mushrooms

1 small bowl of diced potato (or chopped up frozen chips)

1 small bowl of courgettes, diced

1 large chili, finely chopped

4 rounded dessert spoons of ginger garlic paste (made by blending equal quantities of garlic cloves and root ginger with a little oil, salt and water)

1 teaspoon of ground turmeric

1 teaspoon of garam masala (watch Nick’s video on how to make this)

1 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds

1 teaspoon of Cashmere chili powder (quite mild)

A generous sprinkle of Maldon sea salt

1 small bunch of fresh coriander (including the stems) roughly chopped

2-3 large spoons of gram (chick pea) flour

1 litre of vegetable oil for deep frying

For the dipping sauce:

A small bowl of low fat yoghurt

A large squeeze of tomato ketchup

Srirachi chili sauce to taste

Squeeze of lemon juice

Pinch of salt


  1. Stir all of the prepared vegetables and chili together in a bowl.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger paste and stir through the vegetables.
  3. Add the spices, salt and coriander and stir again.
  4. Add the gram flour and massage through the vegetable and spice mix with your hands – only just enough flour to bind everything together so that it holds its shape – and then a splash of water – you need to watch the video!
  5. Taste and add more salt or spice if necessary and let the mixture rest for a minute or two.
  6. Heat the oil in a large pan to about 165 degrees C. (The oil should take up no more than a third of the pan.)
  7. Use a large spoon to put quite flat compacted spoonsful of the pakora mixture into the pan of hot oil until the pan is full – about 7 or 8 at a time.
  8. Check the temperature of the oil and keep it up at 140-165 degrees C, but no higher, and let the pakoras cook for about 4-5 minutes without moving them about too much, just enough to make sure they are not sticking to the bottom of the pan, and them once they are more set, you can stir them around until they are golden brown.
  9. To make the dipping sauce, just stir up all of the ingredients in a bowl and taste and adjust.

Serve hot with the dipping sauce.

You can make this in advance to stage 4 and keep the mixture in the fridge for 24 hours and you can store and reheat the pakoras after they have been cooked.

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