Pakora

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Appetizers | Pakora Image

(Indian vegetable fritters)

Pakoras, savory fritters, are a very popular Indian chaat — snack or appetizer — especially in the North. The chickpea batter gives them a unique flavor, and their crispy crust encases all kinds of vegetables and sometimes chunks of meat. Pakoras are often bought from street vendors who serve them wrapped in a newpaper cone.

Photo Creative Commons by Feastguru.com

4 to 5 servings

Ingredients

  • Chickpea flour (besan) -- 1 cup
  • Hot chile peppers, minced (optional) -- 1-2
  • Cumin, ground -- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt -- 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Warm water -- 1/2 cup
  • Oil -- 2 tablespoons
  • Prepared vegetables (see variations) -- 2-3 cups
  • Oil for deep frying

Method

  1. In a large bowl, add the chickpea flour, optional chile peppers, cumin, salt, water and 2 tablespoons of oil. Whisk the ingredients vigorously to incorporate air and make a fluffy, smooth batter. Alternatively, put all the batter ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Set aside and let the batter rest for about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Heat about 1-2 inches of oil in a heavy skillet or deep pot over medium-high flame to 365-375°F. Using a fork, dip the prepared vegetables into the batter to coat. Then drop into the hot oil and deep fry until lightly browned on all sides. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and hold warm while you repeat with the remaining vegetables.
  3. Serve hot with mint chutney or cilantro chutney.

Variations

  • Vegetables for Pakora: eggplant sliced into thin rounds; par-cooked potatoes, sliced into thin rounds; cauliflower or broccoli broken into florets and blanched; peppers sliced into rings; okra sliced into rounds; chopped tomatoes. Use your imagination.
  • Bhajji, or Piaz Pakora: use onions sliced into rings.
  • Murgh Pakora: cut boneless, skinless chicken breast into cubes and marinate in tandoori marinade for about 30 minutes. Drain excess marinade, dip the chicken in the batter and fry.
  • Palak Pakora: mix 2-3 cups of chopped spinach or cabbage with the pakora batter. Drop spoonfuls into the hot oil and fry until golden.
  • Paneer Pakora: use cubed paneer cheese.
  • Add a pinch of garam masala, turmeric or asafoetida powder (hing) to the batter if you like.
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Pakoras did not turn out well

1

I do not know what happened but I followed the recipe exactly. The first few pakoras I tried did not "stay together" and broke apart during the frying. I then blended up the remaining mix and spooned the loose lumps into the oil and the lumps just disintegrated into very very small fragments. What am I doing wrong? Should I have perhaps added more besan flour to make the lumps stay together more? I did add the correct amount of flour given in the recipe.

how to make besan from scratch?

Is there a way to make the besan from scratch? Like using dried chickpeas? I don't live in a country that's likely to have an Indian grocery and I often need to make gluten free meals for family and friends. Thanks!

How to Make Besan at Home

I just posted an article on how to make your own besan chickpea flour. Check it out!