These canapes are great for a new year nibble!
Steam the beans for 5 minutes until just tender, then cool under cold water and drain well. Put the beans, curry leaves, curry powder, chilli, shallots and gram flour into a large bowl. Season with the salt, add 150ml cold water and mix to coat the vegetables in a thick, sticky batter.
Put a 5mm depth of oil into a frying pan; set over a medium heat (it will be hot enough when a little of the batter sizzles on contact). Fry heaped tablespoons of the pakora mix, cooking 5 or 6 per batch. They will need 2 minutes on the first side to firm up and crisp. Then carefully turn and cook for 2 minutes more, until golden all over. Drain on kitchen paper on a baking tray, then keep warm in a low oven.
When ready to serve, set the pakoras on a serving plate, with the yogurt alternative and pickle in small bowls. Dollop a little yogurt alternative onto a pakora, followed by some pickle, and eat straightaway.
TIP: These canapés also work brilliantly alongside curries. Fry larger pakoras for about 3 minutes on each side.