Nettle Pakora


Here’s a foraged pakora or bhaji recipe, from Tulsi in our bottling hall. It uses nettles which are high in fibre, potassium, vitamins a and c, and iron, and otherwise good for you in all sorts of ways. They’re common and easy to identify, even at night, as John from Forage London is fond of saying.  

Tulsi was a chef all his life, before joining our bottling line 2 years ago. Now cooking is more of a hobby. He likes trying new things, including foraged ingredients; his lavender and rhubarb syrup was a favourite. He’s also recently been getting into gardening, and painting with acrylics (still life).  His parents are Nepali, though he was born in Bangalore, and lived in Dubai before moving to Islay in 2005 just before his first son was born. He believes in going with the flow, “Or grow with the flow, I always say. Be optimistic.” 

Thanks Tulsi.

Nettle and Red Onion Bhaji

Prep and cooking Time: approximately 45 mins (makes around 20 pakoras)

Ingredients & Preparation:
 02 red onions medium size (160g‐180g after peeling)
 1.1/2 Tsp Salt
 1.1/2 Tbsp. vinegar (cider or malt) OR Lemon juice
 70g‐80g Nettle shoots (Soaked in a bowl of cold water for couple of minutes and strained, plus boil 3‐4 cups of water in a pan with 1/2 Tsp salt for blanching)
 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger grated or finely chopped OR ground ginger
 1 Tbsp. fresh Garlic pureed or finely chopped (optional)
 1 fresh chilli (finely chopped)
 Fresh Mint a handful( roughly chopped) use any kind, if you have in your garden
 Fresh Coriander a handful roughly chopped(optional)
 1 Tsp Cumin seeds
 1 Tsp Fennel seeds(optional)
 1 Tsp ground Turmeric
 1 Tsp red Chilli powder( can add ½ tsp more for extra hotness)
 2 Tsp full ground Coriander
 ½ Tsp Garam masala powder(or ground mixed spice)
 ½ Tsp Bicarbonate of soda
 100g Gram flour
 2 Tbsp. Rice flour(or corn flour)
 80ml tap water
 Oil for deep frying (thick bottomed small to medium size pan, do not fill the pan more than a third full)
 A small bowl of water for dipping

 Cut the Onions into halves & slice them slightly thick, transfer into a large bowl add salt and vinegar/lemon juice & mix it thoroughly with a large spoon or spatula. Set aside to macerate for 15‐20 minutes.(doesn’t matter even if its longer than said time)
 Blanch the Nettle for 30 seconds & strain it, immediately cool it under running cold tap water and strain. Again with a good squeeze, drain the extra moisture out & chop it roughly.
 Add all the chopped fresh ingredients and chopped Nettle into the bowl of macerated onion and give a good mix, followed by all the ground spices and bicarb‐soda. Gently continue mixing in stirring motion, now incorporate gram flour and rice flour. Then start adding water little at a time until everything comes together like a sticky dough mixture after a thorough mix. (Note: if it turns too wet nothing to worry just add little more of Gram flour or Rice flour to adjust)
 Heat the oil over a medium temperature.
 Dip your Fingers tip in a bowl of water, pick about 20g of mixture, roll into dumpling with fingers tips and lightly flatten with your thumb and carefully slide it into heated oil, 4‐5 pakoras at time, it bubbles and comes to surface then turn it with a slotted spoon until they are evenly browned both sides and crisp (about 3‐4mins). Drain on Kitchen paper and they are ready to serve. (Note: Alternatively, if you don’t want to use fingers for shaping the mixture, use two desert spoons as you make quenelle)



Here’s something else seasonal and surprising that you can do with nettles… The Botanist Instagram TV Steven Hanton Stinging Nettles >

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