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What Are Pakoras?
Pakoras are a popular fritter from the Indian subcontinent. They're enjoyed as appetizers in Indian restaurants all over the world. Assorted vegetables, and occasionally fish and chicken, are coated in a chickpea-flour batter (also known as basan and gram flour) and fried. Pakoras are vegan, gluten-free, and surprisingly good for you—all that deep-frying aside.
What Ingredients Go In Pakoras?
Just about anything can go into a pakora. Typical additions include:
Pumpkin and sweet potato are also becoming popular additions. While similar preparations like tempura rely on rice flour to get an airy, delicate crunch, pakora batter results in a doughy, golden brown shell—you may not even know what you’ve got until you crack it open.
How to Serve Pakoras
Serve pakoras hot as an appetizer, with chutneys like mint, tamarind, or ketchup—go-to condiments in Indian households.
Easy Mixed Vegetable Pakora Recipe
Prep Time20 min
Total Time35 min
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1-2 tsp red pepper flakes, to preference
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 small handful cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
- ½-1 cup water
- 3 cups chopped vegetables of choice
- Canola oil, for frying
- Lemon wedges, mint and/or tamarind chutney, ketchup, for serving
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and cilantro, adding water until you have a smooth batter with a thick consistency.
- Add the cut vegetables to the batter, and stir well to coat.
- Heat a few inches of oil in a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Test for hot oil with a drop of batter; if it sizzles right away, it’s ready. Drop ¼ cup-sized balls of pakora batter into the hot oil and fry the pakora a few minutes per side, rotating as needed, until pieces are golden brown and crisp.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the pakoras to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels. Season with salt and serve with lemon wedges, mint and/or tamarind chutney, and ketchup. Eat them while they’re hot!
Baked Pakora Variation: If you want to skip the deep-frying, it's possible to bake pakoras on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 425ºF for about 20 minutes. Incorporate Indian spices into your cooking to create memorable meals. Learn from Alice Waters here.