Inspired by my afternoon’s foraging with Edible Eastside at the weekend, I strolled around the garden yesterday with a new eye. Actually, a properly new eye would really be quite nice. Mine is decidedly wonky. My newly opened eyes were scouring the garden for edible weeds, the likes of which Pam pointed out. I am sure there were loads. But I could not find them. I was about to give up when I spied the most enormous crop of chickweed. Can you call chickweed a crop? I think most gardeners call it a nuisance. The Captain uses far less savoury words for it. But my heart soared at its lush verdant presence We had found some nice samples along the towpath on Saturday but this was soft and green and bushy and bursting with health making the towpath version look positively paltry in comparison.
I have been wanting to make John Wright’s Chickweed Pakoras, from his Hedgerow River Cottage Handbook, ever since I first bought the book back in the spring but have not managed to get my act together to do so. Yesterday was the perfect opportunity. My youngest turned eighteen on Sunday. He received a DIY Curry Kit as a gift and was planning to treat the Captain and I to Chicken Timitar Masala so my find could not have happened at a better time.
Living in a large multicultural city made getting hold of gram flour a simple matter of visiting my local supermarket. Asian stores will stock it if it is not that simple for you. 50g a chickweed is approximately a couple of handfuls.
1tbsp medium curry powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
About 120ml water
50g Chickweed, washed, dried and roughly chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
Vegetable oil for shallow-frying
Mix the flour, curry powder, baking powder and salt together in a bowl, then slowly stir in enough water to form a paste the consistency of mustard. Mix in the Chickweed, onion and garlic, stirring until they are well coated in the pasted.
Heat a thin layer of oil in a heavy based frying pan. When hot, spoon in heaped desssertspoonfuls of the pakora mix to form little cakes, spacing them well apart. Cover with a lid and cook over a medium heat for about 5 mins until crisp and golden brown on one side. Turn the cakes over to brown the other side. Drain on kitchen paper and serve at once.