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Pakora (Indian Vegetable Fritters)

20 mins Cook
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NomNom Recipes 98

To make vegetable fritters irresistible… make pakora!! These are Indian vegetable patties, seasoned and fried until golden and crispy. It can be made with virtually any vegetable, so use this pakora recipe as a stepping stone to your own variation. You can It’s gluten-free and vegan, so anyone can enjoy it!

Pakora (Indian Vegetable Fritters)
Pakora (Indian Vegetable Fritters) – NomNomWow

Pakora: Indian Vegetable Fritters

This is street food, the Indian way! Sold as snacks on the streets of India and as popular appetisers in Indian restaurants elsewhere, pakora are crispy, bite-size vegetable fritters. They’re loaded with gorgeous Indian spices before being fried until crunchy.

These little nuggets are dangerously easy to eat, the sort of food you just keep popping into your mouth, one after the other, until you suddenly realise the plate is half empty and you look around to find someone to accuse – Who ate all the pakoras??!!!

Ssshhh!!! I will never tell – if you don’t!

What goes in Pakora

Pakora can be made with almost any vegetable suitable for frying in a pancake mold. I chose onions, potatoes and cauliflower, but below is a wide range of other vegetables you can use and how to chop them. It’s a list.

Chickpea flour – also known as chickpea flour and besan, made from dried chickpeas, is a staple in Indian and subcontinental cuisine. It is now available in major Australian grocery stores. It has a nutty taste, is thicker than regular flour, and has better nutritional properties (lower carbohydrates and higher protein).

  • Fenugreek Powder – A common Indian/subcontinental spice that smells strangely like maple syrup. However, it has no taste by itself, and has a strange tangy taste. It is available at stores that carry a wide variety of spices. Found at Harris Farms (Australia). Of course, at the Indian general store!
  • Best Sub: Garam Masala or Common Curry Powder. (They are not exactly the same, but the added flavors make up for it);
  • Substitute: Cayenne Pepper. If you don’t like the spiciness, reduce the amount of chili powder. Start modestly and cook a test pakora. Taste and add more chilli to the batter if you want more.
  • Turmeric Powder – Gives the pakora a nice warm golden color.
  • Cumin, Coriander, Ginger – The main spices/flavors of Indian cuisine.
  • Fresh Chili – Fruity flavor with a hint of warmth. I am using large cayenne peppers here. Although this is not spicy, it adds a warm buzz to the pakoras.In general, the bigger the pepper, the less spiciness. Omit or reduce as needed.
  • Potato – all-rounder or starchy potato


The beauty of Pakora is its versatility. I used cauliflower, potatoes, and onions this time, but you can use other vegetables as long as they are finely chopped or grated. Use 6 cups total:

  • Carrots  finely julienned or shredded
  • Broccoli, broccolini  finely chopped to rice size
  • Green beans, asparagus  finely seasoned or julienned
  • Zucchini – grated and squeezed out excess water
  • Spinach, kale
  • Bell peppers/paprika – cut into 2.5 cm (1 inch) strips
  • Parsnips, celeriac and other root vegetables – like grated potatoes
  • Peas and Corn Kernels – No Change Not Recommended (or requires additional preparation steps): Eggplant, Pumpkin, Celery, Fennel, Cucumber, Tomato

How to make Pakoras


  1. Vegetables for pakoras are typically either finely chopped, grated or julienned so they are suitable to form into little patties and cook quickly. I always ensure that there’s at least one vegetable grated or julienned so you get scraggly bits that stick out and become extra crispy! Here’s how I prepared the fresh vegetables in these pakoras: Ginger: Finely minced using a microplane (best for maximum flavour extraction!)
    Cauliflower: Finely chopped into rice size pieces, as though preparing to make Cauliflower Rice (which, actually, is a good tip if you want to just buy ready-made – simply use raw cauliflower rice). You can also grate it using a standard box grater. Use a large bowl so the cauliflower bits don’t go everywhere. Otherwise use a food processor!
    Potato: Grated using a box grater; and
    Onion: Grated using a box grater. Yes, the onion juice squirting out will be torture and will make you cry (unless, like me, you’re protected with contact lenses). But it’s worth it, I promise!


The pakoras are deep-fried, which gives them that distinctive crumbly sticking-out crispiness. However, if you don’t want to fry them, you can also make them like fried fritters (zucchini fritters, corn fritters, etc.) Of course not exactly the same, but still delicious!

  1. Batter: Make the batter by mixing together the chickpea flour and dried spices with water. At this stage, the batter will seem very thick and paste-like but don’t worry. It actually thins out once the vegetables are added because the salt in the batter draws out water from the vegetables which thins the batter slightly;
  2. Add vegetables: Stir through the fresh vegetables;
  3. Finished batter: The batter should be quite thick, thick enough to drop balls of it into oil. If It seems too thin, add more chickpea flour;
  4. Form rough patties: Drop 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of batter roughly formed into a patty shape (~ 1.5cm / 0.6″ thick) into the oil. I use my hands (as is typical in India!) but you can also use 2 dessertspoons. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but I feel it’s safer to use my hands because I have more control and there is less risk of the batter accidentally dropping into the oil from a height, causing splashage. Remember, don’t crowd the pot! It will lower the oil temperature too much. I generally cook 4 at a time at the beginning to get into the groove of the timing, then up to 6 at a time;
  5. Fry 2 – 3 minutes until golden: Fry the pakoras for 2 to 3 minutes until they are a deep golden and crispy on the outside. They will easily cook through inside in this time;
  6. Drain pakora on paper towels and continue cooking the remainder. Keep cooked pakoras warm in a low oven (80°C / 175°F) on a rack set over a tray.

Sauces for Pakora

Pakora are usually served with a fresh, cool sauce, offering a delicious contrast to hot, spiced and fried pakoras.

  • We have two options for you today. or
  • Mint Yogurt Sauce: Cool and tangy.

Either is fine. Both go great with pakora. I really come down to personal preference.

When and what to serve with Pakoras

In India, pakora is a common street snack sold by street vendors. With that in mind, pakoras are a great option to pass as canapes. They’re the perfect finger food size and something a little different! .

Pakora (Indian Vegetable Fritters)

Pakora (Indian Vegetable Fritters)

To make vegetable fritters irresistible... make pakora!! These are Indian vegetable patties, seasoned and fried until golden and crispy. It can be made with virtually any vegetable, so use this pakora recipe as a stepping stone to your own variation. You can It's gluten-free and vegan, so anyone can enjoy it!
prep time
20 mins
cooking time
20 mins
total time
40 mins



  • 2 1/4 cups chickpea flour (Note 1)

  • 1 tsp turmeric powder

  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • 1 tsp coriander powder

  • 1 tsp fenugreek powder (Note 2)

  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder (pure chilli powder, Note 3)

  • 2 tsp salt (cooking/kosher salt)

  • 3/4 cups + 2 1/2 tbsp water

  • 1 1/2 cups onions , grated using standard box grater (~1 1/2 onions)

  • 2 cups potato (~1 large), peeled and grated using standard box grater (Note 4)

  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower (~1/4 large head), finely chopped into rice size pieces (or grate)

  • 2 large red chillies (cayenne peppers), finely chopped (adjust spiciness to taste, or leave them out)

  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger , finely grated

  • 2 tbsp coriander/cilantro leaves , finely chopped


  • 3 – 4 cups vegetable or canola oil (4cm / 1.5″ depth in pot)


  • 2 cups mint leaves

  • 1 cup coriander/cilantro leaves

  • 1/4 cup eschalot , sliced

  • 3 tbsp lime juice

  • 1 tsp caster sugar

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

  • 1/2 tsp cooking/kosher salt

  • 2 ice cubes (loosens + keeps sauce green)


  • 1 cup plain yoghurt

  • 1/2 cup mint leaves , packed

  • 1/4 tsp salt



Make batter:

Place chickpea flour in a bowl with the spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, chilli). Slow whisk in the water.

Mix in Vegetables:

Add potato, cauliflower, onion, ginger, chilli and coriander. Mix well with a wooden spoon. It should be a thick batter, almost paste-like.

Preheat oven

to 80°C/175°F – to keep cooked pakoras warm. Set a rack over a tray.

Heat oil:

Heat 4cm / 1.5" oil in a large heavy based pot to 180°C/350°F (Note 6).

Form patties:

Drop 2 tbsp of batter roughly formed into a patty shape into the oil. I use my hands (as is typical in India!) but you can also use 2 tablespoons (be careful of splash-age). Don't crowd the pot, it will lower the temperature too much.

Fry pakoras:

Fry 2 – 3 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towels. Keep cooked pakoras hot in the oven on a rack set over a tray.


Serve pakoras with Coriander Mint Sauce or Minted Yogurt Sauce!


Place ingredients in a small food processor or Nutribullet, or use a stick blender. Blitz until smooth.


Batch size – This makes quite a large batch. Around 40 pakoras! Figure we may as well make it worth our while. Leftovers resurrect well – see Storage note below. Chickpea flour – Also known as gram flour, and besan, made from dried chickpeas. Staple in Indian cooking. Nowadays sold at large grocery stores in Australia. Using this instead of flour makes this a naturally gluten free recipe. Fenugreek powder – Staple Indian spice, kind of smells like maple syrup. Available at stores that carry a decent range of spices. I found it at Harris Farms (Australia). Also, of course, at Indian grocery stores! Best sub: Garam Masala or a generic curry powder. (No it’s not the same but the extra flavour will compensate). Chilli Powder – This is pure ground chillies, not to be confused with US Chili Powder which is a spice mix. Sub cayenne pepper. Fee free to reduce chilli powder if you’re concerned about spiciness. You can cook a test one, taste, then add more chilli into the batter. Potatoes – Any all rounder or starchy potatoes work best. Aus: Sebago, US: russet, UK: King Edward/Maris Piper. Waxy potatoes will work ok too. Other Veg: Use 6 cups in total. Carrots – finely julienned or grated Broccoli, broccolini – chop finely into rice size Green beans, asparagus – finely spice or julienne Zucchini – grate and squeeze out excess liquid) Spinach, cabbage and similar – julienne then grab handfuls and squeeze out excess liquid Capsicum/bell peppers (finely slice into 2.5cm/1″ pieces) Parsnip, celeriac and other root veg – grate like potato Peas and corn – use whole Not recommended (or requires extra prep steps) – eggplant, pumpkin, celery, fennel, cucumber, tomatoes Oil hotness test if you don’t have a thermometer – drop bit of batter in, should start sizzling straight away. No deep fry option – shallow fried: Just dollop batter into a skillet with about 1cm/ 0.2″ of preheated oil and cook on medium high until golden on each side (about 4 minutes). Won’t be the same as traditional pakoras because you don’t get the crunchy scraggly bits, but all the flavour is there! Don’t try to just pan fry in a little oil – we tried it and it doesn’t work (inside doesn’t cook through). Storage – Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for 3 months in an airtight container. Reheat in a 180°C/350°F oven on a rack set over a tray for 12 to 15 minutes until hot and crispy. Nutrition per Pakora, assuming 1/2 tsp oil is absorbed per Pakora. (Deep frying absorbs less oil than you think, as long as you properly drain on paper towels as it wicks excess oil away).
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