Carrot cake pakoras with cream cheese dip
For the cream cheese
- 100g/3½oz full-fat cream cheese
- 100g/3½oz unsalted butter, softened
- 4 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup, plus extra for drizzling
- pinch salt
- pinch mixed spice
For the pakoras
- 1.5–2 litres/2½–3½ pints vegetable oil
- 300g/10½oz carrots (3–4 medium ones), peeled and grated
- 50g/1¾oz walnuts, roughly chopped
- 50g/1¾oz raisins
- 120g/4½oz self-raising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 20g/¾oz caster sugar
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 medium free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- up to 1 tbsp icing sugar, for dusting
For the cream cheese, mix the cream cheese and butter in a bowl until smooth and fully combined, with no lumps.
Mix in the icing sugar, maple syrup and salt, then transfer into a serving bowl. Drizzle over a squirt of maple syrup and sprinkle with a pinch of mixed spice. Cover the bowl and pop into the fridge.
For the pakoras, have a baking tray lined with kitchen paper ready to soak up any excess oil.
Put a medium pan (one that has a lid, in case you need to put the lid on in an emergency) on a high heat and add about 1.5 litres/2½ pints of oil, though this depends on the size of the pan: the oil needs to be halfway up. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)
Tip the carrots, walnuts and raisins into a mixing bowl. Mix well.
Add the flour, baking powder, sugar, mixed spice and salt, and stir into the carrot mixture so that everything is coated. Add the beaten eggs and keep mixing until you have a thick batter.
Test that the oil is hot enough by adding a tiny drop of the batter to the oil. If it sizzles and rises to the top, the oil is ready for frying. (If you own a cooking thermometer, it should be at 170C.) Turn the heat down to medium.
Using two teaspoons, one to pick up and the other to push out, gently drop teaspoons of the mixture into the oil. Work in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pan.
Fry for a few minutes – these only take about 4–5 minutes. Move them around, turning them occasionally so that they are an even colour. They should be golden-brown on the outside.
Carefully remove the pakoras from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper-covered tray.
Fry more batches until all the batter is used up. Dust with the icing sugar and serve with the dip.
These pakoras are best eaten fresh and warm, so make the dip first.