Curry for change recipe and video! Black eye bean pakora in coconut kadhi

18 Sep

This is a post that is different to the posts you may be accustomed to seeing from me. Yes there is a recipe, but there is something different.

I was asked a few months ago to share a recipe for the Curry for Change competition, held in conjunction with Natco for the Find your Feet charity. I, like many of you out there get a lot of emails each day but this one caught my attention and held it. I used to be one of those people that was so preoccupied with life that charitable stuff was scheduled in for particular times of the year yet always on the agenda. Since having my boy, my emotional equilibrium has, well, shifted. If you have followed my blog (I thank you once again if you have been) then you will know that during the past few years I have found myself quite lost, confused and in search of that, ‘lifeline’. I have gone without so many aspects of previous life that I felt had defined me, but I can not pretend to know what it is like for people who go without the basics of life; food.

The rawness of the truth for me is that I needed to feel that ‘I CAN’. That I can make a difference for myself, that I can be productive by myself, that I can voice myself once again. It has taken me a few years to find my feet again, and I am trying to imagine how someone who does not have the support, systems, means, facilities, access and options that I have, would find their feet.

So, my recipe was one of the winning recipes for this challenge, as selected by Vivek Singh and I am delighted to share it with you all today. The recipe is for black eye bean pakora in coconut kadhi. This is a sumptuous and soothing dish, filling and versatile and you can make the components ahead of a dinner party and then throw them together at the last minute. The pakora are deep and nutty and full of texture. The little gram flour fritters are lightly spiced and sit in a tangy, spicy and hot yogurt based soup/curry that is tempered with whole spices such as cloves, cinnamon, curry leaves, cumin seeds and ginger. I have used coconut powder to give it a light and fragrant touch. This is perfect for the season and easy to do.

pakora kadhi 1

When our own lives are filled with good food, it’s hard to imagine that one in eight people around the world will go to bed hungry tonight. 

The Find your Feet charity works to support families in Asia and Africa to not got hungry. Not by feeding them, but my helping them find their feet. They support and encourage families to innovate, using their own resources more productively, trying new seeds, making compost and diversifying their crops.

This means they can produce a variety of nutritious foods to eat throughout the year so that they never go hungry and to earn an income by selling the excess.

They provide them with training and support to start village saving and loan schemes so they can borrow a little capital to start a small business.

This allows them to sell their surplus vegetables or eggs or start a small local shop which enables them to become more self-reliant and provide a better future for their family.

They empower women so that they have the confidence to speak out and take a stand on issues that affect them, such as accessing better healthcare for their children or clean water for their village. This in turn enables them to demand what is rightfully theirs. 

Life is so short.

So, what can you do?


Well you could hold a curry event at your home or at a friends and ask each person to make a charitable contribution. You cook up a few dishes (you could use this recipe as one) and enjoy yourselves. For every penny your curry event raises, Nacto will match it. The person that raises the most will win a class with Atul Kochhar at his esteemed restaurant, Benares in Mayfair.


Here is my recipe and the video that I did, showing how to cook this recipe, for Curry for change.




For the pakora

60g black eyed beans, pre-soaked overnight

50g finely chopped fenugreek leaves

1 tsp. minced ginger

Salt to taste

½ tsp. chilli powder (or to taste)

1 tsp. amchur powder or the juice of ½ lemon

100ml water

100g gram flour

One medium onion, diced

1 tsp. cumin seeds

Oil for deep frying

For the coconut kadhi

400g plain, natural yoghurt

100g coconut milk powder

650ml water

2 tbsp. gram flour

Salt to taste

2-3 green chillies slit open

1 small stick of cinnamon

2-3 cloves

5-6 curry leaves

1 tsp. minced ginger

2 tbsp. cooking oil


  1. You will need to pre-cook the black eyed beans for about 25=30 minutes until they are tender, then drain any liquid
  2. Heat the oil for deep frying whilst you make the batter for the pakora
  3. To make the pakora firstly lightly mash the black eyed beans. Don’t puree them but with your fingers give them a tender squeeze. The reason for this is to avoid them rolling out of the batter and popping in the oil on their own.
  4. Combine the lightly mashed black eyed beans. Then add the onions, fenugreek leaves and all the dry ingredients and mix them all well before adding all the wet ingredients and mix it all again.
  5. Drop a small amount of batter into the oil to check if the batter sizzles and rises. If it does, then drop in small amounts (roughly 3-4cm sized pieces) into the oil and deep fry until they are crispy and golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon, releasing any excess oil, onto kitchen paper.
  6. Turn your attention to making the Kadhi. Mix the coconut milk powder, yoghurt and gram flour to a smooth paste and leave it to side whilst you make the tempering.
  7. In a deep pan, heat the oil and then add the cumin seeds, chillies, curry leaves, cloves and cinnamon. Let them sizzle and then add the minced ginger before you sauté for under a minute, but don’t let the Kadhi brown.
  8. Pour in the yoghurt mixture and the water and bring it all to a simmer before adding salt.
  9. Cook the Kadhi for 7-8 minutes, and then add the pakora and cook for a further 2-3 minutes before serving with hot and steaming rice.

black eyed bean pakora in coconut kadhi

18 Responses to “Curry for change recipe and video! Black eye bean pakora in coconut kadhi”

  1. simplyvegetarian777 September 18, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    What a creativity Deena! Just awesome! I might give it a try.
    Kudos to you for doing that charity event!

  2. Katie @ Whole Nourishment September 19, 2014 at 9:13 am #

    Deena, congratulations on this being the winning recipe! I am not surprised because it looks divine with both the sweetness and spice. And I can’t wait to watch your video (a quick trip is preventing me from doing so right now). I don’t doubt becoming a mother makes it a challenging process to rediscover your identity, though it seems like you’ve been successful. It’s a challenge but a good one at that because if we didn’t have these sort of checkpoints in our life, we’d never feel like we were improving and developing as a person.

    • Deena Kakaya September 19, 2014 at 10:29 am #

      You know Katie, a few years ago I thought that that was it. Everyone close to me kept telling me that the turbulence was an opportunity for me to be even better. Xx

      • Katie @ Whole Nourishment September 22, 2014 at 11:32 am #

        Deena, I loved watching your cooking video. You have such a lovely, warm, and calming presence on camera and it certainly shows your talent presenting and teaching. Well done!

        • Deena Kakaya September 22, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

          Ah Katie, I read your message several times because it is just so lovely, thank you cx

  3. themuffinmyth September 19, 2014 at 10:14 am #

    What a great charity! Pakoras are one of my favourite thing but I’ve been a bit timid to try them on my own, so this recipe is a tremendous help. I’m sure they’re not as intimidating as they seem, and once I do it I’ll probably be converted for life. Let’s see!

    • Deena Kakaya September 19, 2014 at 10:30 am #

      You are right, they look more challenging than they are, it’s all easy peasy and easily rectified if the batter isn’t a happy consistency; more water or gram flour x

  4. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche September 19, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    This recipe looks amazing – love the video!

  5. recipesfromapantry September 20, 2014 at 9:33 am #

    Great recipe for a great cause Deena. To often we are too busy to stop and do thins that make a huge difference to others.

    • Deena Kakaya September 20, 2014 at 9:39 am #

      Yes me included Bintu, felt good to do this. Thanks so much x

  6. Lisa September 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    Sounds wonderful Deena. I always adore your style.

    • Deena Kakaya September 22, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

      Lisa, you flatter me. I’m so pleased that you like it and that you like it and that you took the time to tell me x

  7. kellie anderson September 22, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    Congratulations on your deserved win – this looks absolutely terrific on all levels.And I like to hear about charities such as Find Your Feet, which seems in this case to capture the spirit of the phrase “if you give a man a fish you feed him for one day; show him how to catch fish and you feed him for life.” Very worthy and so happy that you are able to publicise it with this recipe and your social media wizardry 🙂

    • Deena Kakaya September 22, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

      Thank you so much Kellie. I really feel a pull for this particular charity, as much as I’ve wanted someone I trust to take away and make things better, only I’ve been able to make lasting changes for myself and this charity does exactly as you describe. It’s not short term fixing. Thank you again x

  8. Donna January 19, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    Deena this is such a change from the usual kadi with pakoras in it. Am trying it and am sure it will be amazing.

    • Deena Kakaya January 19, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

      Thanks Donna, I do hope that you enjoy it x

Let me know what you think about this recipe

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