About this dish
Pakoras are crispy vegetable fritters coated in gram flour or besan batter and deep-fried till golden brown. They are a popular tea time snack across India and pair wonderfully with a cup of hot masala chai. Pakoras are a must-have during the monsoon season or when it's raining! What makes pakoras unique is the gram flour or besan batter which makes these pakoras naturally gluten-free.
In our recipe, we've mentioned some of our favourite pakora vegetables, however, you can make pakoras out of any firm vegetables or anything else that you like and can imagine would taste good batter fried. Classic pakora vegetables include cauliflower, potatoes, aubergines, large spinach leaves and onions however you can also make delicious pakoras with carrots, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, beans etc. Other popular pakoras are paneer pakoras and bread pakoras, but we'll save those for another post and stick to vegetables for now.
We share with your our tips and tricks to make the crunchiest and most flavourful pakoras at home. The first three variants we make - broccoli, aubergine and potato are basic batter-fried vegetables. The last variant - onions pakoras also known as bhajjiya is a little different in terms of technique with onion slices and additional spices and aromatics added directly to the batter and fried in nests along with the thick batter as opposed to being dipped in the batter.
- 2 cups or 250g besan or gram flour
- 4 tbsp or 40g rice flour (optional)
- 250ml water
- 1/2 tsp carom seeds
- 1/2 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder or sweet paprika
- 1 tbsp kasoori methi
- pinch asafoetida or hing
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 broccoli
- 1 medium potato
- 1 medium aubergine
- 2-3 onions
- 10-15 sprigs fresh coriander
- 1 tsp kasoori methi
- 1-2 green chillies
- as needed besan
- to taste salt
- Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets and slice the potatoes as well as the aubergines in 3-5 mm slices.
- Sprinkle the potato and aubergine slices with salt and let the salt draw out the excess moisture from the vegetables. This will help ensure that the pakoras remain crispy for a longer period of time by preventing the steam from the vegetables from making the gram flour coating soggy. Wait 5 minutes for the salt to do its magic and dab the vegetables with a kitchen towel to absorb away excess moisture. Then repeat the same on the other side of the vegetables.
- Prepare the pakora batter while you wait for the vegetables to salt. In a large bown, add the gram flour, rice flour (if using), carom seeds, kashmiri chilli powder, asafoetida, kasoori methi, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine the dry ingredients and then gradually add the water to make a smooth and thick batter.
- Heat up a generous amount of oil in a kadhai or frying pan on medium heat till it reaches 150-160°C or untill bubbles form around the tip of a wooden chopstick when inserted in the oil.
- Dip the broccoli, aubergines and potatoes in the batter and carefully add to the hot oil, scaping off the excess dripping batter with the edge of the bowl.
- Fry on medium heat till the coating is golden brown and crispy all around and remove the fried vegetables onto a basket or collander linked with a paper towel. Holes in the vessel or plate where the pakoras are stored will prevent the steam from getting trapped and making the pakoras soggy as they cool.
- Once all the other vegetables are fried, you can move on to making the onion pakoras. We usually make onion pakoras last since this is a good way to use up the remaining batter in the bowl.
- Add a de-seeded chopped green chilli, freshly chopped coriander, coriander seed powder, kasoori methi and salt to taste to the leftover batter in the bowl and whisk to combine.
- Cut a large onion in half (from root to tip) and slice the onion in about 3 mm slices (again from root to tip). Roughly break apart the onions slices with your fingers and add them to the batter. Working quickly at this point, toss the onions in the batter such that the batter coats the onion slices and holds them together in lumps. If your batter is too runny at this point and slips off the onions slices, you can add 1-2 additional tablespoons of gram flour for it to reach the right consistency.
- Carefully add the batter covered onions to the hot oil in nests and fry till everything is deep golden brown and crispy.
Serve the pakoras hot with your favourite chutneys. Whether you eat these with green chutney, tamarind chutney or even ketchup, make sure that you have a hot cup of chai to accompany this treat!