Monday, 28 September 2015

Vegetable pakoras with Premier Inn Purple Sauce

Premier Inn is a well known chain of hotels promising good quality accommodation at a reasonable price. If you are able to time your booking well, this is absolutely the case. I have stayed at their establishments and been an utterly happy camper. One particular occasion when I was teaching in Leeds springs to mind, where the level of comfort and service I received was over and above the “budget” tag often applied to Premier Inn, in my view unfairly.

Premier Inn wants to provide good food on top of its agenda of good value and good service. As a result, it is seeking to revolutionise breakfast dining. It has therefore launched its own bespoke condiment: Premier Inn Purple Sauce. It has been available since this Summer, with a view to reviewing its success and perhaps launching nationally through sales in supermarkets. 

So what on earth is “Purple Sauce”? Well, if you know your rock and roll, you would know that purple is as regal and cool today as it has been in Roman times. Purple Rain and Purple Haze resonate and rock hard, proving that the aubergine hue will always live long in people’s imagination. I confess it is my favourite colour and I wear it often. I do hope they will make this sauce generally available as it is a brilliant alternative to ketchup or HP sauce. 

Premier Inn Purple Sauce has been invented by Ed Baines. Ed Baines is a chef who trained with the much esteemed Anton Mosimann at The Dorchester, going on to work with Simon Hopkinson at Bibendum and at The River CafĂ© with Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray. He now runs Randall & Aubin, his flagship restaurant. He has written two cook books; Best Of British and Entertain.  

The Premier Inn Purple Sauce contains blackberry, cracked black pepper, crushed chillies, cider vinegar, toasted cumin and smoked salt. It is made of natural ingredients with no artificial colours or flavourings. It is also suitable for vegetarians. You can read more about it here:

The Purple Sauce naturally goes well with a cooked breakfast; bacon and sausages benefit from its sweet, sour and spicy tang. But I wanted to try something more tea-time. In India, tea time doesn’t involve cake or cucumber sandwiches. It involves steamed lentil cake (khaman/dhokla), samosas or pakoras. The Purple sauce flavourings of chilli, cumin and black pepper lends itself to Indian food and in particular, Indian snacks.

Since I have no talent for baking cakes and you all know how to make cucumber sandwiches already, I have decided to share my recipe for vegetable pakoras with you. Perfect with Premier Inn Purple Sauce. 

Vegetable Pakoras

Serves 2-3 as a snack


2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons ginger paste
1 small onion, quartered lengthways and thinly sliced
½ courgette, peeled and cut into julienne
¼ small cauliflower (2 handfuls) cut into small dice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon garam masala
Freshly ground black pepper
2 finely chopped chillis
1 tablespoon coriander, finely chopped
6 tablespoons chick pea (gram) flour
3 tablespoons cold pressed rapeseed oil or groundnut (peanut) oil
Premier Inn Purple Sauce, to serve


1. Prepare all the vegetables as described above. Place in a non-metallic container. Add the salt, turmeric, garam masala, garlic, ginger paste, black pepper and chilli and mix well. Leave for half an hour for the flavours to combine and for the salt to draw moisture out of the vegetables. 

2. Add the coriander leaf and mix well.

3. Sieve the chick pea flour. 

4. Add half the chick pea flour, mix well. Then add half of what remains and mix well. You may not need to add all 6 tablespoons of the flour. Keep adding, mixing as you go. When it starts to get sticky and gluey, and holds together well, then you know you have made the mixture for the pakoras.

5. Heat the oil in a frying pan.

6. Add the pakora mix in dollops. You will be able to make 5-6 good sized pakoras using the amount of mix. 

7. Fry for 5 minutes or until brown on one side. Then turn over. Do not turn over until the base is solid or the pakoras may fall apart.

8. Fry for another 4-5 minutes until brown on the opposite side. 

9. Put onto kitchen roll to absorb any excess cooking oil.

10. Serve at once with Premier Inn Purple Sauce. 

Alternative sauce ideas:

If you like your Indian food mild, use Sweet Mango chutney, just like you find in your local curry house. 

If you want to try something tangy, sour and authentic, try Tamarind chutney, Nizami make a very nice Tamarind chutney.

Mr Todiwala’s also make great chutneys and pickles.

Snigdha would like to thank Premier Inn for sending a sample of their Purple Sauce for testing purposes. Snigdha has received no incentive, financial or otherwise for this blog post. 

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