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.
*I tried this recipe by baking the pakoras instead of frying and I much prefer pan-fried over baked for texture and overall flavor. But, if you’re looking for a low-fat version, arrange the pakoras on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets (if using oil, lightly grease) and bake at 500 degrees F (260 C) for 10-12 minutes on each side or until golden brown. They will not get as crispy as the pan-fried version, but they are still tasty. * 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).