A Recipe from Rebecca: Nettle-Onion Pakoras with Wild Garlic Raita

May 4, 2023 by General Administrator

Now is the time of year to forage for nettles and wild garlic. There are lots of things you can do with nettles, but a nettle-onion pakora is one of the best uses. Serve them with a bit of raita made from yoghurt, Canalside coriander and a chiffonade of wild garlic, and perhaps a beer.  I hardly need to tell you to wear gloves whilst you collect your nettles, but it’s perhaps worth saying that the nettle tops are the best bits to use for this recipe. Once you blanch the nettles in hot water they will lose their sting, allowing you to enjoy their minerally, spinach-like taste. They combine perfectly with the nutty flavour of chickpea flour. If you can’t find any wild garlic, use double the amount of coriander instead.  
Nettle-Onion Pakoras with Wild Garlic Raita
Serves 4 as a snack or 2 as a main

100g natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon fresh Canalside coriander, chopped
1 tablespoon wild garlic leaves, chopped (or use double the amount of coriander instead)
1 pinch sea salt
1 medium Canalside white onion, peeled  
1 tablespoon lemon juice (or cider vinegar)
½ teaspoon salt
100g nettle tops
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
¼ Canalside dried chile (or more to taste), finely chopped
1 clove garlic, mashed to a paste with a little salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon fennel seeds or cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon baking powder
100g chickpea (gram) flour
Up to 100ml tap water  
Vegetable oil for frying
For the Raita

Mix all the ingredients together and set aside while you prepare the pakoras.
For the Pakoras
Slice the onion into fine strips, place in a small bowl, and mix with the lemon juice (or vinegar) and salt. Set aside and leave for at least 15 minutes, to allow the flavour to mellow.

Pour some boiling water into a large pan and (wearing gloves) plunge in the nettles. Blanch in the hot water for 60 seconds and then drain thoroughly. They will no longer sting. Let them cool a bit, and then, using your hands, squeeze out as much water as you can.
Roughly chop them and place them in a large bowl. Add the ginger, garlic, spices and baking powder to the nettle bowl, along with the onion and any accumulated liquid. Mix everything well.  Sift in the chickpea flour and slowly add water to make a sticky dough.

In a frying pan heat enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan over medium heat. Once it’s hot, drop in spoonfuls of the pakora batter, to make pakoras of your preferred size. We made 5 but you can make smaller ones if you like. Flatten the tops a bit with a fish slice and fry for about 2 minutes before turning over and frying the other side for another minute or so. As they cook remove them from the pan onto some paper towels to absorb any excess oil.  

Serve with the raita, and perhaps a small glass of beer.
Recipe adapted from The Foraging Course Company

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