For the yogurt saffron sauce
- In a bowl, combine the hot water and saffron threads. Allow them to soak for 5 minutes, so they can release their aroma and color.
- In a separate bowl, add the yogurt, saffron water, garlic, lemon juice, oil and some salt. Whisk until smooth.
- Refrigerate to chill.
For the spice mix
- Place a small pan over high heat.
- Add the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds.
- Stir and cook until they release their aromas.
- Transfer to a mortar and pestle. Beat until finely ground.
- You will notice that the seeds continue cooking when removed from heat.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, the turmeric, chili powder and paprika.
- Gently stir.
For the pakora
- Place a deep pan over medium to high heat.
- Add a generous amount of sunflower oil until the pan is halfway full.
- In a bowl, combine the spice mixture, salt and sparkling water.
- Cut the eggplants and zucchini in to horizontal slices and then into thin strips that are 0.5 cm thick.
- Add them to the bowl along with the leeks and the coriander.
- Toss to coat.
- To make sure the oil is hot enough, pick up a small amount of the mixture with a spoon and add it to the oil.
- When it is hot enough, fry the mixture in batches until golden.
- When ready, remove from pan and let them drain excess oil on paper towels.
- Serve the vegetarian pakora with the yogurt saffron sauce.