My go-to order when we end up at an Indian restaurant is vegetable pakora and butter chicken, hold the cilantro on both! Love the flavors and the crunch. My daughter is excited about both because the pakora is like tempura except it doesn't have any wheat. It uses garbanzo bean flour instead.
I've been trying to re-create it and I think this version comes close. I found garbanzo bean flour at our local grocery store in the bulk food section, but our local grocery store is weird. It has a section that is almost like a mini health food store with all the gluten-free and dairy-free and "healthy" foods as well as a bulk food section. I love shopping there because I never know what I'm going to find.
You definitely want the garbanzo bean flour, not something coarser. I tried this with corn meal and it was a total no-go. If you have a grinder and want to make your own, you could if you can find dried garbanzos. My grinder is full of wheat so I didn't go there.
A word on the newari spice - I found this recipe and mixed it up. It's like a mild curry powder, sort of. My kids like it better than curry powder. Use what you've got and what you like in this recipe.
I just need to figure out how to make the plum chutney sauce they serve at the restaurant...
Anyway, on with the recipe.
1 c. garbanzo bean flour
1 c. milk or substitute milk (rice milk worked great)
2 t. newari spice mix or curry powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
3-4 c. fresh vegetables - okra, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, carrot, onion, potato, whatever you've got
oil for deep frying
Get your oil heating in a deep saucepan. You want it a medium hot temperature, similar to what you'd cook french fries or fritters.
Wash and trim the vegetables. Slice very thin for zucchini, carrot, potato, and similar vegetables. Cut cauliflower and broccoli into small pieces. Slice onion into thin strips. Wash and dry spinach. Set them aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat the egg until smooth. Stir in garbanzo bean flour, milk, spices, salt, and baking powder. Beat until smooth. It should be like a thin pancake batter. You can add a little more milk if it's too thick or more garbanzo bean flour if it's too thin. Dip one slice of something and test fry if you aren't sure. It should mostly coat the vegetable with a thin layer.
When you are happy with the thickness of the batter, add vegetables and stir gently to coat.
Drop into hot oil by smallish spoonfuls, you want enough surface area that the batter can get thoroughly cooked and the veggies will get tender. But don't worry about getting just one piece of veggie per spoonful. Several at once is just fine. Cook for 3-5 minutes, turning every minute or so, until nicely browned. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels for a few minutes.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. We used sweet chili sauce and pineapple habanero sauce. Like I said earlier, I'm still working on a recipe for the plum chutney sauce. The cilantro one ain't gonna happen at my house, not unless I'm dead and long gone. But if you like cilantro, feel free to add it to your dish at your house.