Stinging nettle pakoras - spicy and healthy, vegan and gluten free savoury snacks

For Lily and Charlie who absolutely love these delicious snacks.

Adapted from the 'Chickweed pakoras" recipe from the River Cottage book "Hedgerow" by the inspirational John Wright.

These foraged treats go down a storm on our foraging courses as they are yummy, and the fact that they are both vegan and gluten free means they suit almost everyone. The boxes of pakoras we take on our forays disappear really quickly and there are never any left over.

Makes roughly 14


100g gram flour (chickpea flour, which is gluten free)
1 tbsp medium curry powder (add the amount that suits you if you prefer things hotter / milder)
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
50g washed and dried nettles (or any mix of nettles, hogweed, sea beet, fat hen or ground elder)
1 small onion or 10 three cornered leek flower stems
1 finely chopped garlic clove or 5 wild garlic leaves
Approximately 120ml cold water
Vegetable oil for shallow frying

  • Roughly chop the nettles (or whichever vegetables you are using) but be very careful not to sting yourself - rubber gloves are advisable.  Alternatively, you can use nettles that you have previously blanched in boiling water for a minute and then cooled rapidly in iced water (this deactivates the stinging hairs) - make sure you squeeze as much water as possible out of the nettles before you add them to the pakora mix. Save the liquid as you have just made nettle tea!
  • Mix the gram flour, curry powder, salt and baking powder together in a medium sized bowl, then slowly add the cold water until you have a paste the same consistency as ready made mustard. Add the vegetables and mix well to ensure everything has a good coating of the paste.
  • Add the oil to a heavy based frying pan - approximately 1-1.5cm deep, and heat. Once hot, spoon teaspoons of the mix into the oil but be careful not to overcrowd the pan or the temperature will drop.  Fry on one side for a couple of minutes or until they are starting to turn golden brown around the edges - you will see the pakoras puff up a little. Turn over and fry on the other side for another couple of minutes until golden brown all over.
  • Remove from the pan and place on some kitchen paper to catch any excess oil.  Continue to cook in small batches until all the batter is used up.
  • Serve at once or leave to go cold, they are delicious either way.  These bite sized snacks make a great picnic food.