Crunchy, delicious Vegetable Pakoras aka Pakodi are super easy to make are perfect for chai time. I've shared my recipe and tips to make the crispiest and yummiest Mix Veg, Aloo, and Onion Pakoras!
Vegetable Pakoras go by many names - I called them ‘Bhajis’ or ‘Bhajiyas’ when I was growing up in India. With just a few Indian pantry staples needed to make them, these crunchy deep-fried vegan pakoras can be whipped up at short notice. Pakode and Masala Chai is a classic match that is made in culinary heaven, and if it happens to be a cold and rainy day, then vegetable pakoras and chai are exactly what I need! That’s my version of Indian ‘hygge’, right there!
No matter what they are called, the essential ingredients that make up a pakora remain the same - Mix Veg Pakora are made by dipping any combination of vegetables such as potatoes, onions, cauliflower, cabbage, etc. into a beaten batter made with gram flour, spices, and then deep-fried in oil.
Onion Pakoras and Aloo Pakoras (Potato Pakora) are also made with the same batter and then deep-fried. If you are averse to deep frying, you can also make them in the air fryer.
List of Ingredients Needed
To make Vegetable Pakoras or Onion and Aloo Pakoras, you will need:
For the Pakora Batter
Gram flour: Also known as 'besan', gram flour should not be confused with chickpea flour. You can find gram flour at all Asian stores. It is gluten-free and used in so many Indian recipes such as Paneer Tikka, Mysore Pak, etc.
Rice Flour: This is a key ingredient to make your pakoras stay crisp for long!
Seasonings: salt, red chili powder - use Kashmiri chili powder for best results, cumin powder, coriander powder.
Minced ginger and garlic (or ginger garlic paste)
To make Mix Veg Pakoras
For Mix Veg Pakoras, use a mixture of different vegetables such as onions (red or yellow), potatoes, carrots, and cabbage. I recommend using a food processor to shred carrots and potatoes. Once the veggies are thinly sliced or shredded, mix in a large mixing bowl and keep aside.
To make Aloo Pakoras
For Potato or Aloo Pakoras, you will need to thinly slice the potatoes into discs. Optionally, you could also use a mandoline to slice them thinly.
To make Onion Pakoras
For onion pakoras, we use thinly sliced red or yellow onions.
Step-By Step Recipe Instructions
In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the batter. Add the water to the dry ingredients, a little at a time, whisking after adding water.
You should have a runny, slightly thick batter that can coat the back of a spoon. Whisk well, for at least 3-5 minutes.
This will incorporate air and make the batter light and airy.
Add the veggies to the batter. Mix well to combine. The batter should coat the veggies well, without dripping too much.
The pakoras are now ready to be deep-fried. Keep the bowl with the batter aside and heat vegetable oil in a wok/Kadai.
Once the oil is hot, add a drop of batter to the oil. If it bubbles and rises to the surface, the oil is ready for deep frying.
Take spoonfuls of the batter and fry them in batches - I fry 5-6 pakoras at the same time, not more.
Once the pakoras start to turn golden brown, flip each pakora to fry them evenly.
Onion pakoras turning golden brown:
Aloo Pakora in the kadai, turning golden brown:
Once the pakoras are golden brown, transfer them to kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil. Serve them warm with green chutney, or with ketchup.
Veggies - Chop up your veggies thin, or shred them – I like to use my food processor to shred the potatoes and carrots. You can use a grater as well. Thinly sliced onions, sliced eggplant, shredded or thinly sliced potatoes, shredded or grated carrots, cauliflowers cut into small florets, paneer cut into bite-sized cubes, all are perfect for pakora frying!
Batter flour - The pakora batter is typically made with gram flour and spices such as Kashmiri chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and ginger. I recommend adding rice flour to the batter – rice flour adds to the crunch factor and keeps the pakoras crispy for longer. Before you make the batter, sieve the gram flour– this is optional, but it helps in getting rid of lumps.
Whisk the batter - Add just enough water to make a batter that coats the veggies well, the batter should coat the back of a spoon, and not contain too much water. A tip I learned from my mother-in-law - whisking the batter to incorporate air into it makes the batter light and airy. No one likes a dense and chewy vegetable pakora that is more batter than veggie!
The temperature of oil - The key here is to make sure that the temperature of the oil used for deep-frying is just right. If the oil is too hot, the vegetable pakoras will brown quickly, and if the oil isn’t hot enough, the pakoras will soak up the oil and absorb it. Test the temperature of the oil by adding a little of the batter – just a drop to the oil. The batter should sink down to the bottom and then bubble up to the surface. This is the temperature you need!
Mix Veg Pakore pair very well with a side of Green Chutney or Ketchup. If you are looking for ideas for an Indian menu, here are some Indian snacks that are perfect for a Chai Party menu:
Pakora is a mildly-spiced fritter served with a side of green chutney or tomato ketchup, a very popular snack in India. Pakoras go by several names – pakodas, bhajjis, pakodi, bhajiya – varying from region to region in India.
Yes, pakoras are vegan, and gluten-free as well! This is one of the reasons why I love serving vegetable pakoras to friends at a gathering, they go down with everyone, no matter their dietary requirements.
Gram flour, also known as besan in Hindi, is not the same as chickpea flour. Gram flour is made from split and husked Bengal grams – also known as chana dal. Chickpea flour is made from chickpeas or garbanzo beans. Although both come from the same legume family, the two should not be used as substitutes for each other.
Rice flour is an important ingredient for making crispy pakoras. If you are making vegetable pakoras a few hours ahead of serving them, I suggest you keep them wrapped up in aluminum foil and warm them in a preheated oven at 150 C for 15 minutes before serving them. This keeps them crisp and warm.
Vegetable Pakoras / Onion Pakora / Aloo Pakora Recipe
For Mix Veg Pakoras
- 3 Carrots
- 2 Potatoes Peeled
- 2 Yellow or Red onions medium sized
For Onion Pakoras
- 3 Yellow or Red Onions medium sized
For Aloo Pakoras
- 2 Potatoes Peeled
For the Pakora batter
- Oil for deep frying
- Prep all your ingredients. To make mix veg pakoras, grate or shred the carrots and potatoes, slice the onions thin. If you are not using a grater or shredder, then slice all the vegetables finely.
- For onion pakoras and aloo pakoras, use thinly sliced onions or potatoes instead of mixed vegetables.
Make the Pakora Batter
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for the batter. Add the water to the dry ingredients, a little at a time, until you have a batter that coats the back of a spoon. Do not add too much water. Whisk well, for 3-5 minutes. This helps in making the batter light and airy.
- Add the vegetables to the batter and mix well. At this point you can check the consistency of the mixture. If it feels too dry, you can add more water. If it feels too wet, add more gram flour. The vegetables should be coated well with the batter.
Deep Fry the Pakoras
- In a wok or deep-frying pan, heat the vegetable oil. The oil should be at least 2 inches deep. To test the temperature of the oil, add a drop of batter. If it bubbles and rises to the surface, the oil is ready for deep frying.
- Take spoonfuls of the batter and fry them in batches. Flip to fry both sides. Once golden brown, transfer the vegetable pakoras to a kitchen paper to absorb excel oil.
- Serve with green chutney or ketchup.