Bhaji or pakora - what’s in a name?

Parveen's demonstration
Parveen's demonstration
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I think I am getting a little addicted to doing cooking demos. I worked all weekend but I loved it!!... I am not sure if it’s sharing my recipes and stories, the excitement of things possible going wrong, performing in front of an audience, or donning a bright red dress and false eyelashes to become ‘Parveen the Spice Queen’... I suspect, it’s all of the above.

The first demonstration was for charity at a harvest festival, raising money for MIND and CALM. I demonstrated how to make Pan Fried Tandoori Chicken, it is such a quick recipe... I usually say that’s it’s ‘marination to mouth’ in 10 minutes, but I actually got someone in the audience to time it and I made it in 7 minutes! The secret is - to slice the chicken fillets nice and thin, secondly adding lemon juice; the acidity cuts through the meat and begins the cooking process. Everyone enjoyed the chicken - so job done!

Fish pakora

Fish pakora

The second demonstration was for the Georgian Festival in Stamford, in the WI marquee. It was a beautiful day - the sun was shining and it was wonderful to see all the glamorous Georgian costumes. I actually felt a little underdressed in my Asian tunic. I decided to make my famous onion and potato bhajis. I think the bhajis taste the best when they are freshly made, so I bought myself a little portable gas hob which worked a treat. When I make the bhajis, I often get asked the usual questions, are they really gluten-free, what flour are they made from? And what’s the difference between a bhaji and a pakora? Well, there isn’t a lot in it really, the ingredients are the same - as is the method. Believe it or not, the main difference is the language. Bhaji is a Urdu word and pakora is a Punjabi word. The Asian language has so many dialects and so many different languages but I would say that Urdu and Punjabi being the most commonly used. So, when you order a food from your local Indian restaurant or take a way, you will be using Punjabi or Urdu.

Putting all that aside, no matter what language you order them in - they taste fab.

By the way, I just wanted to let you all know that I am now the proud owner of my own name!Yes, folks - I am now officially ‘Parveen The Spice Queen’ - I trademarked the name, so nobody can trade as me. Well, there is only one me.

So, my website address has changed as has my email. A bit like the pakora and bhaji - there’s not a lot in it really but I always felt like Parveen The Spice Queen rather than just The Spice Queen.


For this simple, tasty gluten-free recipe and FREE spice bag, email me via