Squash & Ginger Pakoras with Watercress Raita

Fiery ginger and sweet squash work so well together in these deep-fried Indian snacks. You could use other types of squash or pumpkin instead of the butternut if preferred, and any vegan yoghurt will work in place of the soya for the raita.

Easy recipeEasy Gluten free Wheat freeQuick meal Freezable recipeKid recipe
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Preparation time

15 min

Cook time

10 min

Total time



Indian and Indian Subcontinent


  • soups-starters
  • lunches
  • sides-light-meals-and-salads




For the raita

  • 250g/1 cup soya yoghurt
  • 50g/2 oz watercress leaves
  • 1 small green chilli (optional)
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • A few fresh mint leaves
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

For the pakoras

  • Oil, for frying
  • 160g/1¼ cups chickpea flour
  • 40g/⅓ cup cornflour
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 150ml/⅔ cup water
  • 500g/17½ oz butternut squash
  • 50g/2 oz fresh ginger
  • 1 small red onion
  • A few fresh coriander leaves


For the raita

  1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until fairly smooth, with a few green specks still visible. It can also be made by hand and left chunky; finely slice the leaves and chilli if using, crush the garlic to a purée with the back of a knife and some salt, then stir everything together.

For the pakoras

  1. Heat a deep fat fryer or a large saucepan of oil to around 180°c.
  2. First, make the batter: combine the flours, spices and salt before mixing in the water until smooth. Let it rest while you prepare the other ingredients.
  3. Peel the squash and cut each end off, then cut lengthways and remove all the seeds. I find a dessert spoon works best for this. Cut each half into 3 or 4 pieces so they can then be easily grated by hand or with a grating attachment in a food processor.
  4. Grate the ginger on a fine side of a grater or by using a microplane. Peel and finely slice the red onion.
  5. Now stir the grated ginger and squash, sliced red onion and coriander leaves into the batter. Use 2 spoons to form the pakoras and drop them carefully into the hot oil one by one. Fry until they are dark golden. You must fry the pakoras immediately after the vegetables have been added, otherwise they will leak water and the batter will become too thin. Drain the pakoras on kitchen paper and then serve warm with the watercress raita.

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