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Front photo of a plate filled with veg pakoras and a red sauce with green napkin on the side.
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5 from 7 votes

Vegetable Pakora (Crunchy Indian Fritters)

A step-by-step guide to making the best vegetable pakoras you've ever cooked--or eaten. Learn how to make a pakora that tastes amazing and stays crunchy hours after you've made it. Even better, you can prep in under 10 minutes (with more time needed for frying). Or make tweaks and additions that will make you look like a pro Indian chef! This is a gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free recipe, and despite being deep-fried it has healthy ingredients with the assortment of veggies, chickpea flour and spices.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer/side/snack
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 136kcal

Equipment

  • Wok or frying pan (or deep fryer)

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups besan (chickpea flour)
  • 6 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne (or any moderately spicy red chilli powder. Use less if you can't tolerate heat, more if you like your pakoda spicy.)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ajwain (carom seeds. Grind coarsely by running a knife through the seeds or crush them slightly in a mortar and pestle. )
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (Grind coarsely by running a knife through the seeds or crush them slightly in a mortar and pestle.)
  • 1 tablespoon kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves. Leave out if you don't have it, or add a teaspoon of dry mint leaves. You can also use two tablespoons of finely chopped fresh cilantro.)
  • Salt to taste
  • cups water
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium red potato (or yellow potato)
  • 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 cup cabbage (thinly sliced)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying. Add 2 inches of oil to the wok or frying pan. I use peanut oil. See ingredients notes above for which oils work best).

Instructions

  • Heat oil. A wok is preferable, but if you don't have it a cast iron skillet or frying pan will work just as well. Or, if you have a deep fryer, use that. Use a thermometer, if you have one, to heat the oil to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Try and keep the temperature between 350 degrees and 375 degrees at all times so the veggies cook along with the chickpea coating and the pakoras don't change color too quickly.
  • Chop the vegetables. Slice veggies like potatoes and zucchini thinly, using a knife or a mandolin. You want them to cook quickly in the oil. Chop the onions and cabbage into long, thin strands. You can make them as long or short as you like, I like mine gracefully long because I love how they look once they are fried.
  • Whisk batter ingredients together: Place all the ingredients except the vegetables in a bowl. If the chickpea flour seems lumpy, sift it into the bowl. Whisk all the ingredients to mix.
  • Add the water: Slowly begin to trickle in the water, a quarter cup at a time. Whisk, and then add more. Doing this will ensure you end up with a smooth, not lumpy, batter. It's very hard to get the lumps out of the batter once you've added all the water, so doing this slowly is really important.
  • Check the consistency of the batter. Dip a veggie in the batter--I used a potato as you can see in the picture below. The excess batter should easily drip off while leaving a nice, even coating over the potato. You don't want a very thick batter because you should be able to taste the veggie and not just the coating, but you don't want a batter so thin that it just slides off the vegetable. To make pakoras with leafy veggies, or with veggies that have a slick surface like okra and asparagus, make the batter thicker.
  • Fry the pakoras. To fry the pakoras, dip the sliced potatoes and zucchini into the batter, one at a time, and place in the wok. Fry until one side turns lightly golden, then flip over and cook the other side. Flip over once or twice more. You want a lovely, golden color on the pakora but you don't want them to brown. The pakoras will continue to take on a little more color after you've taken them out of the oil. To make cabbage or onion pakoras (I do this after I've finished making the potato and zucchini pakoras), place all of the chopped veggies into the remaining batter and mix. Scoop out chunks of the batter with the veggies and add them to the frying pan.
  • Drain out any excess oil. When fried at the right temperature your pakoras will be perfectly crispy and not greasy, because they won't absorb much oil. Place the fried pakoras in a colander or plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess fat clinging to them.
  • Serve hot. Pakoras are best served hot, but wait about 5-10 minutes before serving as the juices from the veggies can be hot and might surprise the eater when they bite into the pakora. If you need to reheat them, do so in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes. Don't let them brown. These pakoras remain crunchy hours after cooking, so you can just eat them at room temperature.

Notes

  • Other veggies to use for pakoras: Cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, bell peppers, okra, asparagus, corn, carrots or any leafy veggie, including spinach and kale.
  • Make sure you check the salt in your batter. The fried pakora will taste a little less saltier, so make sure you adjust the salt accordingly in your batter as you can't salt the pakoras after they are cooked.
  • Don't over-fry the pakoras. You want a lovely golden hue but don't let them start turning brown. The pakoras will darken a little more once you've taken them out of the oil.
  • Maintain frying temps between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. The pakoras will fry perfectly at this temperature and won't become greasy.
  • Serve the pakoras with mint or tamarind chutney. You can also just serve them with a bottled masala sauce or ketchup.
  • You can store leftover pakoras in the refrigerator for up to three days. Place in an airtight box lined with a paper towel as soon as they cool down and refrigerate. Reheat for 5-7 minutes in a preheated oven before serving. Don't let the pakoras brown.

Nutrition

Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 17mg | Potassium: 285mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 117IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg