Have you ever had a pakora? If not, you’re missing out.
Think crispy, golden, battered, and pan-fried vegetables with big curry flavor. They’re similar to a classic onion ring but somehow better. And you can use just about any vegetable you have on hand. However, I’ve found this combo to be best.
I even include my go-to, 5-minute green chutney dipping sauce. Shall we?
Origins of Pakoras
It’s believed that pakoras originated in northern India and are popular throughout India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. They are often served as street food and as a starter at weddings.
Vegetable pakoras can be made from many types of vegetables and are typically deep fried and served with chutney. For our inspired version, we pan-fried instead of deep frying. You can find a more traditional preparation here.
How to Make This Recipe
This recipe comes together in 30 minutes! And the ingredients are simple. The only thing you may have to get is chickpea flour, which I’m realizing is quite useful to have around for gluten-free cooking.
The batter is a mixture of water, chickpea flour (which makes this recipe vegan and gluten-free!), and spices. And, for the vegetables, I went with thinly sliced red onion, yellow potatoes, and cauliflower. I also tested red bell peppers and zucchini but didn’t enjoy them quite as much.
Let’s talk cooking methods. I know that some of you are going to prefer a baked (low-fat) method, which I include in the notes.
But, in my opinion, pakoras are an occasional treat worth splurging on. I highly recommend going for pan-fried, which doesn’t call for too much oil. The texture is noticeably crispier, the overall flavor is better, and the cooking process goes much faster.
However, if you’d rather go oil-free, baking is great too. While your pakoras are crisping up, all that’s left to do is make my 5-minute, go-to green chutney*, which makes this recipe in my opinion. Who wants a naked pakora? Not I.
*Note: you can learn more about chutney and its origin here.
I hope you LOVE these pakoras! They’re:
Easy to make
These would make the perfect snack or side to dishes like my 1-Pot Sweet Potato Kale Curry, Coconut Red Curry with Chickpeas, Yellow Curry with Mango, or 1-Pot Lentil Dal. For more curry snacks, check out my Curried Cashews, Red Curry Cauliflower Wings, or Samosa Potato Cakes.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram. We love seeing what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
*Consider this my inspired version of pakoras! I rarely go to the most traditional route when testing my recipes and make substitutions and modifications where I feel it benefits the flavor and texture while keeping special dietary needs in mind.
Mixed Vegetable Pakoras (30 minutes!)
- 1/2 medium red onion (thinly sliced lengthwise)
- 2 cups chopped cauliflower (or small florets)
- 5 whole baby yellow potatoes (sliced into thin rounds // the flatter they’re sliced, the better // ~½ inch slices // ~1 ½ cups as original recipe is written)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 Tbsp minced cilantro
- 2 cups chickpea (aka besan or gram) flour
- 1 cup water (plus more as needed)
OIL FOR COOKING
- ~1/4 cup neutral oil for pan-frying (avocado and refined coconut are best)
- 2 cups fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 medium green chili or serrano pepper (optional // stems + most seeds removed)
- 3 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 large lime, juiced (~3 Tbsp or 45 ml as original recipe is written)
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup (plus more to taste)
- ~1-5 Tbsp water (to thin)
- 2-3 Tbsp ripe avocado (optional // for extra creaminess)
- 1/8 tsp ground cumin (optional)
- Add onion, cauliflower, and potato to a large mixing bowl and season with salt, cayenne, garam masala, curry powder, garlic, and minced cilantro. Toss and set aside.
- To a separate mixing bowl, add chickpea flour and water and stir until a pourable, pancake-like batter is achieved. Then pour over the vegetables and toss to coat. There should be plenty of batter to generously coat the vegetables. If not, mix together bit more batter and pour over the vegetables.
- If serving with chutney, prepare at this time by adding all ingredients to a food processor or small blender and blend until well combined, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more garlic for kick/zing, salt for saltiness, lime juice for acidity, pepper for heat, or maple syrup for sweetness. Transfer to a serving vessel and set aside.
- Heat 2 large skillets over medium high heat (see notes for baking instructions). Once hot, add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan and let the oil warm. Add the coated vegetables one at a time, grouping the onions together in small bunches so they cook together (see photo). Reduce heat to low and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. If cooking too quickly, reduce heat to medium / medium-low. Repeat.
- As the pakoras are cooked, placed on a paper-towel-lined serving plate and set in a 200-degree F (93 C) oven to keep warm. Repeat until all pakoras are cooked.
- Serve with chutney and rice (optional), and garnish with fresh cilantro (also optional). Best when fresh. Store leftovers in a well-covered container in the refrigerator up to 2 days. Reheat in a hot skillet or in a 400 degree F (204 C) oven until warmed through.
* To serve with curried basmati rice: Add 1 cup (185 g) basmati rice (rinsed and drained) and 1 3/4 (420 ml) cups water to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Then add a pinch of salt and 1 tsp curry powder (DIY or store-bought) and stir. Then reduce heat to a simmer and cover securely. Cook for 20 minutes. Then tilt lid and remove heat so it can rest.
*Pakora recipe loosely adapted from VegRecipesofIndia.com.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with all of the chutney (not including optional ingredients).