What is Pakora?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2019
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Pakora are small fritters made by dipping various ingredients in a spicy chickpea batter and deep frying them. They are widely eaten throughout India and parts of Southeast Asia, where they are a very popular snack and street food, and they are a common offering in Indian restaurants outside of the Asian subcontinent. These fritters are also very easy to make at home, for cooks who want to put a quick Indian appetizer together.

The ingredients used in pakora are quite varied, and can include any number of things, such as eggplant, onions, chicken, lamb, eggs, spinach, cheese, carrots, cauliflower, lentils, potatoes, chilies, tomatoes, or peas. Many cooks make them with a single ingredient, although sometimes up to three will be blended. Once deep fried, the fritters are eaten hot, and they can be consumed straight or dipped in a variety of dipping sauces, from creamy cucumber raita to spicy mint and cilantro sauce.

The batter for pakora is generally very simple, including chickpea flour, ground chilies, cumin, salt, a small amount of oil, and enough water to get the ingredients to stick together. Sometimes, other Indian spices are added as well, depending on personal taste, and the batter is often left very thick and chunky to ensure that it will adhere to the ingredients. Adventurous cooks can add slivered onions or chunks of cilantro to make the batter more interesting.


One very popular form is pyaz pakora, which is made with onions. Paneer pakora or cheese pakora is another favorite version of this dish, as is palak pakora, made with spinach, along with aloo pakora, made with potatoes. Many cooks like to prepare mixed platters so that diners have a number of options to choose from, keeping the meal more interesting.

Like other deep fried foods, pakora can get greasy if they are not prepared carefully. Using peanut oil can help to reduce the grease factor when frying, creating a light, crispy, tender flavor. It is also important to keep the oil at an optimal temperature. If the oil is too hot, the food will char on the outside while staying raw on the inside, while oil that is too cold will simply create a soggy, greasy mess. Cooks should use a slotted spoon to pull the fritters out of the oil when they are finished, allowing them to drain, and drain them further in a colander lined with clean towels or paper towels to allow as much oil to escape as possible.


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Post 8

What is inside pakora?

Post 7

There is a restaurant near my home that sells pakora and they use an amazing curry recipe to make their pakora taste really good. I have tried to copy the flavor of their pakora at home and have so far been unsuccessful.

I am curious if anyone would know some great dishes I could have alongside my pakora, for once I have it mastered? I usually just have my pakora with rice and a bit of curry, but would really like to add a bit more variety into my meals. I am willing to try new things, but prefer to have my dishes be not too spicy.

Post 6

There are so many kinds of pakora that it is really worth learning how to make it so you can try out a bunch of different recipes at home. I love chili pakora and chicken pakora, as they both offer a unique flavor that makes for a great snack.

I think the key to making pakora at home is making sure you have quality chickpea flour and really fresh ingredients. I love that it is one of those foods that really lends itself to experimentation.

If you are unfamiliar with making pakora you can look up things like chicken pakora recipe video online and watch it being made. There is nothing like having a virtual instructor right in front of you.

Post 5

The first time I tried pakora was at an Asian restaurant. If my husband likes something at a certain restaurant, he will usually keep ordering the same thing.

I always like to try new and different things though. Since both of us like shrimp, I ordered some shrimp pakora as an appetizer.

They were served with a type of chili sauce and the perfect appetizer before our meal. Even my husband ventured out and tried them. After he ate the first one, I didn't know if he would leave any for me or not.

These sound like they would be pretty easy to make at home. I have some friends who don't like to eat much meat, but these would be just as good made with vegetables as they are with meat.

Post 4

I love making pakora at home and experimenting with adding different ingredients. When I make chicken pakora, I know all my kids will eat it as well.

Since my kids don't like spicy foods I usually go pretty easy on the spices. If I get too crazy with the ingredients and spices, they won't touch them.

The few times I have made them for adults, I like to get more creative. I also like to experiment with different sauces. I have used a traditional sweet and sour sauce, but my favorite is a mint yogurt sauce.

The cool, creamy yogurt with a slight taste of mint is a perfect combination for the spicy, fried pakora.

Post 3

@alisha-- Hi, that sounds very good, I want to try it too! It's hard to find chickpeas flour where I am anyway, so I'm glad that I can just use chickpeas. Does it come out very thick that way though? Do you add any water to make it less dense?

Also, what is chutney? Is it the general name for dipping sauce?

I know what mint sauce is, I've had it before with Indian samosa snacks. It is chopped mint and a little bit of yogurt. Is this the most popular sauce for pakora?

I'm having some guests over next week and would like to serve some pakora and sauce as an appetizer. I would love to hear some suggestions for the best way to serve pakoras and the best dipping sauce.

Post 2

@fify-- I'm just the opposite, I love making pakoras at home, not having them outside at restaurants. I find that the pakoras in restaurants are way too oily. When I make them at home, I get to hand-pick the ingredients and adjust oil and cooking time. Of course, it's not the healthiest snack, but it makes a difference to make them yourself. Plus, I get to make good use of left-over vegetables, so they are not wasted.

I like to make my pakoras with chickpeas, not chickpea flour. I keep them in water overnight and the next day, I put the chickpeas, vegetables and onions through the blender so they are chopped finely. All that is left after that

is scooping them out with a spoon and pouring the batter into hot oil to cook. It is very easy to make it this way and tasty!

If you don't want to make chutney, there are some good brands that make delicious chutneys and I'm sure you can find them at the Indian or Pakistani grocery. Something I do for my kids is to mix some masala powder with ketchup and serve with pakoras. It's an easy way to make chutney and tastes good. Even my husband like this chutney.

Post 1

Back in India street pakoras are the best and I always bought some when it was raining. We have a long monsoon season in India and it can be very wet and gloomy for months in a row. That's when I like to rely on good fried snacks to bring up my spirits and it really works!

Pakoras are one of my favorite for this. I love vegetable, onion and potato pakoras but onion pakoras with spicy tomato chutney are just out of this world. I still make them here in the US from time to time, when it's rainy and gloomy. But it's not as fun having to make them yourself. I also don't know how to make tomato chutney, so it's not the same experience as it was in India.

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