Chile Pakora with Cilantro-Mint Chutney

Ask Chef Paddy Rawal what inspires his cooking and he’ll tell you two things. “People eat with their eyes first, and spice is for flavor, not for heat.” His food is indeed eye-catching, colorful and bright, generous with herbs like cilantro and mint. His use of spices is a masterclass with everything from fenugreek leaves, chaat masala, carom seeds, coriander, and cumin making appearances. The result is food that is balanced and spiced impeccably. It’s also a food that’s as generous and welcoming as the chef himself.

Chile Pakora with Cilantro-Mint Chutney Recipe

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CHILE PAKORA:
4 cups vegetable oil
3 cups baby spinach, lightly packed and coarsely chopped
1 white onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup serrano chile, chopped
1 cup besan (chickpea flour)
2 tbsp rice flour
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
1 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp carom seeds*
Kosher salt

FOR THE CILANTRO-MINT CHUTNEY:
2 cups fresh cilantro, tightly packed
2 cups fresh mint, tightly packed
1 or 2 jalapeños
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. For the pakoras, pour the oil into a large, deep pan and place over medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the spinach, onion, chiles, chickpea flour, rice flour, ginger-garlic paste, fenugreek, chaat masala, garam masala, carom seeds, and salt to taste in a large bowl. Stir the mixture well. Stir in enough water, about half a cup or a little more, to make a thick batter.
  3. When the oil is hot, working in batches, use a spoon to scoop the mixture and drop it into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, 4-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with chaat masala.
  4. For the cilantro-mint chutney, in a food processor combine the cilantro, mint, jalapeño, lemon juice, and salt to taste and blend until smooth. Serve alongside the pakora.

*Note: Carom or ajwain seeds are a special Indian spice that is used very sparingly.

Chicken Malai Kebab with Mango Habanero Chutney Recipe

A delicious chicken kebab recipe made with serrano chiles, white boneless chicken chunks, and a creamy marinade.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CHICKEN MALAI KEBAB:
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup soft cream cheese
1 tbsp cracked black pepper
Salt to season
1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
1 tbsp oil
¼ cup chopped serrano chiles
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp nutmeg powder
½ tsp green cardamom powder
1 ½ lb boneless chicken breast, cut in 2 x 2-inch chunks

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients except the chicken. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Add the chicken pieces and thoroughly coat each piece. Marinade in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from the refrigerator, place the chicken on skewers, and lay on an ovenproof sheet.
  4. Preheat the oven to grill or convention-cook at 425 degrees. Once ready, place the tray in the oven.
  5. The chicken should take about 15 minutes at the most to cook (if using a thermometer, an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees). Flip the skewers halfway through cooking.

FOR THE MANGO HABANERO CHUTNEY:
25 fresh habanero chiles, stems removed
14 oz bottled mango chutney
2 tbsp lemon Juice
2 tsp rice vinegar
1 cup chopped green bell peppers
1 tsp chopped garlic
½ cup thinly sliced onion
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
½ cup chopped tomatoes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan big enough to hold the ingredients along with half a gallon of water.
  2. Let the water come to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium and boil for 10 minutes more.
  3. Let the ingredients cool down.
  4. Using a food processor, blend the mixture in batches and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.

Recipe by Chef Paddy Rawal of Raaga-Go / Story and Styling by Julia Platt Leonard / Support from Alex Hanna / Photography by Kate Russell

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