Piping hot and crispy snacks are an ideal go-to option at any time of the year. If you’re looking for a revised version of the average ‘fritter,’ look no further because we are about to drop the best recipe there is to recreating the legendary Pakistani pakora.
Pakistani pakora does not contain any meat traditionally, which makes it perfect for vegetarians to try as well. These spiced fried cakes of goodness, packed with flavor and served with chutney or ketchup to the side could be your version of the perfect way to spend a cold winter evening. The best part is it’s super easy to make and also requires ingredients you probably have lying around at your home beforehand. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
The origination of Pakoras
Pakoras are closely related to fritters as some call it ‘desi fritters’ or simply pakoras. It contains sliced vegetables, primarily potatoes, and onions, which we dip in a batter and then deep-fry them to perfection. Punjabi households would traditionally enjoy Pakoras and other deep-fried snacks at tea time and especially during the rain.
Are there other existing variations to Pakistani Pakora?
The average Pakoras have gone through many major transitions, domestically, and even internationally. It can include spinach, herbs, other vegetables, meat, and even cheese. The Japanese and Europeans who visited the Indian subcontinent, and were inspired by it labeled it as tempura and tonkatsu. The pakoras have now traveled around the world with personal adjustments to differences in culture and cuisine.
- Frying pan
- 100gms/1 small onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup shredded cabbage (optional)
- 150 gms/1 small potato thinly sliced (see tips)
- 1-2 green chilies chopped (see tips)
- Half a bunch of green coriander chopped
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp whole spice powder
- ½ tsp crushed red chili flakes
- 1 ¼ cup of gram flour
- 1 cup of water
- 1 ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tbsp cornflour
- 1/8 tsp baking powder/baking soda
- Less than 1 tbsp of whole coriander seeds (coarsely crushed)
- Oil (as required for deep frying)
- In a deep frying pan/wok, add the oil and place the pan over a low flame while the pakoras' mixture is being prepared.
- Line a tray with paper towels to blot any excess oil that the pakoras may absorb after it is deep-fried.
- In a large bowl, combine the sliced potatoes, sliced onions, chopped green chilies, and shredded cabbage. Ensure all the vegetables are nicely chopped and thinly sliced for an intricate balance of flavor in the pakoras. Toss the veggies around together until well combined.
- In another bowl, add the gram flour, cumin, crushed red chili, baking soda, salt, cornflour, coriander seeds, dried fenugreek leaves, whole spice powder, and turmeric powder, mix well.
- Gradually add the water to the gram flour mixture, adding a little at a time and stirring constantly and vigorously to avoid any lumps. (see tips)
- Add the vegetables to the pakora mixture and mix well. You must ensure that the vegetables are well coated with the pakora mix and do not just slip off. (see tips)
- Increase the heat of the oil to a medium flame to have the oil prepared quickly.
- With the help of a tablespoon, scoop out spoonfuls of the pakora batter and drop it into the oil. (see tips)
- Fry the pakoras until light golden brown and use a slotted spoon to gently move the pakoras around in the oil occasionally to prevent them from burning and sticking to each other.
- Remove the pakoras from the oil and place it over the tray pre-lined with paper towels. Drain out the excess oil by gently patting the pakoras with the paper towel.
- Serve the pakoras immediately while they are still warm, enjoy with some chutney to the side.
- Cut the potato in half (lengthwise) twice, and slice thinly to ensure every pakora has an even portion of potatoes in it along with the other vegetables.
- Depending on the green chili, if the green chili is large, you may use only one of the green chilies. Use additional green chilies to increase the heat in your pakora if desired.
- You do not have to use all of the water mentioned in this recipe; the water measurement may depend on the gram flour. It is best to eyeball your batter and only add sufficient water needed to create the pakora batter.
- You must be careful of the consistency of the pakoras. A runny mixture would prevent the batter from sticking to the vegetables, while an overly thick batter will leave you with dense pakoras.
- You may even use your hands to thoroughly mix the pakora mix and ensure there are no spice particles left unincorporated.
- If the gram flour/pakora mixture is too runny, add a tbsp of cornflour, if it is too thick, add a little water (a tbsp at a time) till you reach your desired consistency.
- Test whether the oil has reached the desired temperature or not, a good tip for that would be to drop a little bit of the batter into the oil and if it sizzles, turns brown and raises instantly then it is ready for frying. If the oil is not hot enough, the pakoras will take longer to cook and will absorb more oil than usual.
- Using a tablespoon to scoop out the pakoras into the oil would give you (almost) similar-sized pakoras with an even frying time for each of them. The smaller the pakoras, the lesser time it would take for frying. The larger the size of the pakoras, the longer it would take to cook fully.
- While you drop the pakora batter into the oil, be sure to keep a few inches of space between each pakora and do not overstuff the pan with pakoras while frying as they may stick to each other.