Fresh grape vine leaves are a rarity, unless you have a vine in your yard, or are surrounded by vineyards, or live in an Italian neighbourhood. If you can, grab some fresh ones (more than you need and freeze the rest). We have quite a number of recipes for them. If you can’t find them locally, you can purchase them preserved in water, salt and citric acid. They are available at most gourmet stores or Greek groceries.
In this recipe, the leaves are blanched, drained, finely shredded and folded into a spiced chickpea flour batter. The mixture is then poured into a sauté pan and shallow-fried into a large round cake that is golden brown, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is like making one pakora from the batter. You could of course, make individual pakoras the usual way.
This recipe is adapted from Lord Krishna’s Kitchen, a beautiful book full of Vedic cooking.
I made this recipe today using vine leaves that I froze last Autumn. It is so easy to freeze them, and it means you can make this pakora all through Winter as well as in Spring and Summer. These are straight out of the freezer:
The Huge Vine Leaf Pakora | Angoor Patta Pakora
2 cups sifted chickpea flour
1.5 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1 cup (85 g) shredded fresh, frozen or dry unsweetened coconut, lightly packed
0.5 tspn Indian chilli powder, or up to 1 tspn Kashmiri chilli powder
1 Tblspn cumin seeds
1 cup cold water
1 tspn eno or baking powder
170-230 g grapevine leaves, blanched for 5 minutes, rinsed, drained thoroughly and finely shredded
1 cup ghee or light vegetable oil (or use less – this amount is for shallow frying)
a few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves as garnish
Mix the sifted flour, salt, coconut, chilli powder, cumin seeds and asafoetida in a large bowl. Add the water and, working with a whisk, blend into a smooth, light batter. Add the eno or baking powder and vine leaves, and stir with a few swift strokes, until mixed.
Heat the ghee or vegetable oil in a 20-22 cm sauté pan over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking. Pour the batter into the oil (make 1 large or use half the batter to make 2 large pakora), quickly spreading it evenly to the edges of the pan, into a flat cake.
After 4-5 minutes, when one side is golden brown, lift the pakora with a wide spatula or two small spatulas and flip it over to brown the other side. When golden brown, transfer to paper towels to drain momentarily, then slip onto a serving tray. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot, cut into wedges. Serve accompany with a wedge of lemon and/or an Indian Green Chutney. Lovely with a cuppa tea.
recipe notes and alternatives
This can also be cooked like farinata – make the batter as described above, then cook in the oven as described in the link.
Or drop spoonfuls into hot oil and deep fry to make individual pakora.
A little finely chopped onion can be added to the batter.
I use half the batter at a time to make 2 large pakoras, and will halve the recipe if there are only 2 of us.
This is very addictive.