Who doesn’t love a freshly fried fritter? This vegetable pakora recipe is chock-full of onion, zucchini, and cauliflower and is flavored with a mixture of dried herbs and spices.
What is Pakora?
Pakora is a classic Indian dish of vegetables that have been coated in batter and fried until golden brown and crispy. The veggies are fried in a chickpea flour batter, which makes these fritters naturally gluten-free. You can use any vegetable to make pakoras, but this vegetable pakora recipe uses a mixture of zucchini, onion, and cauliflower, along with a few key spices to add a lot of flavor.
Mixed Vegetable Pakora Ingredients
Pakora recipes will vary, but the main ingredients in this veg pakora recipe include:
- Mixed vegetables (onion, zucchini, and cauliflower)
- Chickpea flour
- Spices (chili, turmeric, cumin, cardamom, fenugreek leaves, and carom seeds)
- Oil, for frying
Adding a bit of cornstarch or rice flour is essential to these Indian pakora, as it makes them extra crispy. However, the carom and fenugreek leaves are optional, but they are worth seeking out as they add a nice herbaceous and fragrant flavor to the vegetable pakora.
How to Make Pakoras at Home
This vegetable pakora recipe is incredibly easy to make at home. You’ll first need to prep the vegetables and fresh chili pepper and toss them together in a bowl. Then, combine the chickpea flour, cornstarch, spices, and water in a large bowl and mix to to create the batter. Add the mixed vegetables to the batter and toss to coat. Drop the batter one tablespoon at a time into a skillet filled with hot oil and fry 2 to 3 minutes on either side, or until golden brown all over.
Because vegetable pakoras are fried, they’re best enjoyed while they’re still hot. Pakoras don’t reheat well, so scale this recipe as needed if you’ll be feeding a smaller crowd.
Tips for the Best Pakoras
- If you’re skittish about frying, the main thing to remember is to make sure the oil is hot enough so it cooks the fritters without them soaking up too much oil.
- When spooning the batter into the hot oil, make sure the pakoras don’t touch one another, otherwise they’ll stick together.
- Sprinkle with a bit of finishing salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon flake salt, as soon as they come out of the oil.
- Serve vegetable pakoras with a squeeze of fresh lime and Sukhi’s chutney — a jalapeño or tomato chutney would pair nicely with this dish.
- Other vegetables that work well in homemade pakoras include cooked potato and spinach.
More Easy Indian Recipes:
- Paneer Tikka Masala with Bell Peppers
- Masala Fried Chicken
- Indian Eggs Sardou (Poached Eggs with Spinach and Easy Spiced Hollandaise)
- Grilled Tandori Chicken
- Spiced Dal (Lentil Soup)
Mixed Vegetable Pakoras
- 1 medium onion (about 1 1/2 cups), peeled, halved, and cut into half moons
- 1 small zucchini coarsely grated
- 1 1/2 cups cauliflower cut into small florets
- 1 small green chili such as Thai or jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 2 cups chick pea flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1/8 to 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ajwain or carom seeds (optional)
- 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (optional), gently crushed between fingers to release fragrance
- 1 tsp salt
- about 1 1/2 cups water
- canola oil for shallow frying
- Garnishes: Fresh chopped cilantro, lime wedges, Sukhi's Chutney, finishing salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon flake salt
Combine onion, zucchini, cauliflower, and green chili together in a small bowl; set aside.
Combine chickpea flour, cornstarch, turmeric, cardamom, cumin, carom and fenugreek leaves, if using, and salt in a large bowl and mix to combine. Slowly add water, mixing with a whisk to combine. Add more water as needed (mixture should be like pancake batter); set aside.
Pour oil to about 1/2 inch in a large cast iron skillet. Heat oil until shimmering and just before it starts to smoke. You can also use a deep-fry thermometer; let oil rise to 350°F.
When oil is ready, combine vegetables with batter and gently lower large tablespoonfuls of mixture into the hot oil, being careful not to splatter hot oil.
Let cook a total of 5 to 6 minutes, turning once during the cooking process. If they start to brown too quickly, turn down heat a bit. Drain pakoras on paper towels and sprinkle with finishing salt. Serve immediately with lime wedges, cilantro, and a variety of Sukhi's Chutneys.
- To test if oil is hot enough, add a tiny bit of the batter into the oil. The batter should bubble and rise to the top.
- Make sure the pakoras do not touch one another in the hot oil or they will stick together.