Vegetable pakora literally means vegetable fritter. It is a very popular snack from the Indian subcontinent. And it’s vegan finger food that is often served as afternoon snacks with a cup of tea or coffee.
These pakoras made of vegetables are similar to Indonesian Bala Bala/ Bakwan Sayur. In essence, they’re both a mix of different vegetables in the seasoned and spiced batter that are deep-fried.
So, really I can’t say that these deliciously moreish savoury snacks are healthy because they’re deep-fried stuff.
However, just like anything, I personally think it’s ok to have vegetable pakoras from time to time in moderation. And when you do, make sure you make the best, so it’s worth it.
Pakoras which refers to anything coated in spicy batter then deep-fried to the crunch have many varieties according to their main ingredients. There are onion bhaji, vegetable pakora, potato pakora, chicken pakora, mushroom pakora, etc.
All these tasty fried snacks often appear for iftar/ breaking the fast in Ramadan, and special occasions such as weddings, family gatherings, parties, etc.
What do you need to make pakora
As the name says, this recipe will be all around the mixed veggies. You can choose and use any vegetables you like. Potato, carrot, onion, green beans/ french beans, courgette/ zucchini, cabbage, or runner beans are only some of the options. You can always try and experiment to your liking.
In this recipe, I use potato, carrot, onion, and green beans/ french beans. Because these are quite basic veggies that I feel most of us eat quite often.
To bind the pakora, you will need chickpea flour (gram flour) and a tablespoon or two of rice flour or cornflour (corn starch). The latter is optional. But I recommend using it as it gives body to the pakoras and makes them crispier.
As for the spice and seasoning, you need ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric powder, whole cumin seeds, chilli powder (or chopped fresh chillies), and carom seeds (Ajwain). Again, the latter is optional. If you don’t have it, you can replace it with Garam Masala or just double the amount of ground/ powder spices.
How to make
Firstly, you get all the vegetables ready by washing and rinsing them. Then, finely cut the potato and carrot in julienne sticks. Or, you can grate them.
Diagonally cut the green beans in very-fine slices. And finely slice the onion.
Squeeze the vegetables out to remove the moisture that they release. Put them all in a mixing bowl.
Secondly, sprinkle the rice flour or cornflour over the veggies. Shake the bowl and try to stir the veggies quickly.
Then, add the spices and salt in and stir quickly. Followed with the gram flour. Stir the vegetables until all coated with the flour and pour the water little by little as you keep mixing. You may not need to use all the water suggested in this recipe. What you want is the flour to coat the vegetables quite thickly but not sticky. And make sure the batter is not runny.
Thirdly, heat the oil in a deep frying pan or a wok at medium-high heat. Try and test the oil by frying a tiny drop of the batter. It should fry at a steady pace and not too quick. Then carefully slide vegetable mixture in the oil a spoon at a time. And make sure there is enough space between one to another. Fry the fritters at medium heat, turn them once and cook until they look golden.
Top tips to make crunchy and tasty vegetable pakora
- Vegetables release quite a bit of moisture, so make sure you squeeze them out, and you can even pat them drier with a kitchen towel. The less liquid in our batter the better.
- Try to cut and slice the vegetables in a similar thickness so that they cook evenly at the same time. Some vegetables take longer to cook such as potato and carrot, so you may want to grate them instead.
- Chickpea flour/ gram flour turns bitter after you open it for a while. So make sure you use fresh chickpea flour so that the taste will be fine.
- Carom seeds are what make the pakoras different from other types of fritters, I highly recommend. But if it’s not easy for you to get them, you can substitute it with Garam Masala.
- One of the keys of crispy pakoras is the frying temperature. You want to make sure the oil is hot enough to cook all the veggies inside the batter. But not too hot that it cooks the outside quickly but leaves the inside raw. If the oil is not hot enough, the batter will absorb more oil so it leaves your pakoras greasy.
Ways to enjoy
These crunchy savoury treats are delish to eat as they are. But, traditionally they’re enjoyed with dipping sauce such as mint yoghurt sauce, tomato chilli chutney, or simply with shop-bought chilli sauce.
You can also create a vegan meal with these pakoras. Put a couple or more pakoras and arrange them on a tortilla wrap, drizzle any of your favourite sauce and wrap the pakoras.
Another idea is to have the pakoras in burger buns. You can add some cheese slices, lettuces and a drizzle of your favourite sauce.
Honestly, this vegetable pakora is so versatile. You can turn it into whatever delicious food item you want.
Technically, you can keep your vegetable fritters in a food container and store them in the refrigerator/ fridge for about 2-3 days. Just pop the pakoras in the oven for about 5 minutes to make them crispy again before serving.
But obviously these delicious vegetable fritters are best eaten fresh right away after frying.
More vegan snack recipe ideas
Thank you for reading this vegetable pakora recipe. I hope you’re now planning to try it. When you do, I would love you to share what you think about the recipe in the comments below (leave a reply box). I’ll really appreciate it.
Before you go, don’t forget to check out my other snacks recipe that you may love.
- Pakistani Dahi Baray – lentil dumplings in spiced yoghurt sauce.
- Chicken kebab patties.
- Khaman Dhokla – savoury chickpea steamed cake.
- Chicken tikka strips.
- Halwa Puri – semolina pudding with fried flatbread.
- Lamb burger kebabs.
Take care and all the best.
Vegetable Pakora Recipe
- Chopping board
- Kitchen knife
- Mixing bowls.
- Frying pan
- Slotted spoon
- 1 cup chickpea flour/ Gram flour.
- 1 small onion.
- 1 medium carrot.
- 1 large potato.
- 4-5 green beans.
- 1 handful of cilantro/ coriander leaves.
- 3 Bird’s eye chillies or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes or red chilli powder.
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin.
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander.
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder.
- ¼ teaspoon whole cumin seeds.
- ¼ teaspoon carom seeds/ Ajwain seeds see the note.
- 1 ½ tablespoons rice flour optional.
- ¾ teaspoon salt or according to taste.
- ⅓ cup water.
- Oil for frying
- Peel and cut the carrot in thin julienne sticks. You can also grate the carrot if you prefer. Then place it in a mixing bowl.
- Trim and finely slice the green beans and add them to the carrot. Set aside.
- Peel and thinly slice the onion and put it in carrot mix.
- Chop the coriander leaves and add them to the vegetable mix.
- Peel and grate the potato. Using a kitchen towel, pat the potato to absorb as much as water that comes out of the potato. Then put it in the vegetable mix.
- Sprinkle the rice flour (if using) over the vegetables. Stir well.
- Chop the chillies if using, then add them to the vegetable mix. You can also use 1 tsp dried chilli flakes or red chilli powder if you prefer.
- Then add all the spices, i.e. ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric powder, whole cumin seeds, carom seeds (if using) and salt into the vegetable. Stir well.
- Add the gram flour in, mix well and pour the water in and stir the vegetable mix.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. Make sure it’s hot enough, but not too hot. Test it by throwing a little bit of the gram flour mixture in the pan. It should come to the surface at a slow and steady pace. If it comes up fast, it means the oil is too hot, and you would want to turn the heat down.
- Carefully drop a tablespoon of vegetable mixture in the hot oil. You can also use your hand to pick the veggies and place them in the pan. The latter method gives you a bit more control in how much vegetable mixture you want. It also makes the shape of the pakoras thinner and not too bulky. So they fry better.
- Turn the veggie fritters when they look golden. It takes approximately 7-10 minutes to fry these vegetable pakoras.
- Carom seeds give the pakoras a nice fragrance. But you don’t have to use them if you don’t have them or prefer not to.
- Rice flour adds body to the vegetable fritters. If it’s not available for you, you can substitute it with cornflour (corn starch), plain flour/ all-purpose flour, or chapatti atta.
Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.