Leftover turkey pakoras

Indian family festivities are an impressive logistical operation. Fitting in the entirety of ‘the family’ involves travelling around the country paying a visit to anyone who is at least twice removed. It doesn’t matter that the festivity is Christmas and that we’re Hindus –  we do turkey, trimmings, trees and all.

In order to squeeze everyone in, I ended up celebrating Christmas with mum and dad yesterday (22nd December) and today the fridge is groaning with leftover turkey and friends – which I could not entertain eating again (too many memories) without turning them into something else. Pakoras. Delightful crunchy bites of pure joy.  Perfect for an afternoon snack when stomachs are rumbling on Boxing Day.

No offence, Christmas Dinner, but sometimes the best meals are made up of leftovers.


Leftover Turkey Pakoras

Makes 25 pakora (you can easily double this recipe)

  • 300g leftover turkey, chopped into 2cm bits
  • 120g chickpea flour (also known as besan)
  • 60g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain seeds)
  • 1 ½ ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 200ml fizzy water
  • Oil for frying

In a bowl add the flours, coriander, chilli powder, salt, pepper, ajwain seeds and garam masala. Mix very well. Slowly add the fizzy water, stirring, until the batter takes on the consistency of double cream. Add the chopped turkey, mix, and leave to one side.

Heat up your oil in a suitable pan – I use a ‘kadai’ which looks a bit like a wok, but any deep sided pan will do. Heat on a medium heat and test to see if it’s ready after a few minutes by adding a tiny bit of batter into the oil. If it sizzles and floats straight away, it’s ready. Prepare a plate with some kitchen paper to put the fried pakora on and arm yourself with a draining/ slotted spoon.

Take around a tablespoon of the mixture, with one hand and drop it into the oil, close to the surface so it doesn’t splash. Leave to cook for around 2 minutes and turn, cook for another two minutes. It should be the colour of a tan leather handbag/ shoes when done and crunchy on the outside. Drain and put on the kitchen paper. Try this one, adjust any of the spices as you wish then repeat, frying a few at a time – say 4 or 5 until they’re all done.

Serve with a wedge of lemon and any leftover chutney in the fridge.