Pakoras, South Asia’s Vegetable Fritters

Fried balls on a colorful plate with a bowl of white sauce nearby
Photo by Meg Baggott / Food Styling by Katherine Rosen

A popular street food throughout the Indian subcontinent, pakora is a spiced vegetable fritter traditionally made with besan, a roasted gram flour found at South Asian specialty stores. However, unroasted chickpea flour, like the one produced by Bob’s Red Mill, also works well. Hot, crispy pakoras are perfect finger food to dip into a cooling cucumber-mint raita.

How to Pair Indian Food with Wine, Beer and Cocktails
Ingredients
  • 1 cup besan or chickpea flour
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 1 ripe tomato on the vine, chopped fine (discard seeds and liquid)
  • 2 tablespoons fine-chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
  • Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
Directions

Line large plate with paper towels. Set aside.

In mixing bowl, combine besan, onion, tomato, cilantro, red chili powder, baking powder and sea salt. Add ice water gradually to form smooth, lump-free batter thick enough to coat back of spoon.

Warm oil in frying pan until 350°F, as registered with candy thermometer. Working in batches, add 1 tablespoon pieces of batter to oil. Fry for 3–4 minutes, or until pakoras appear golden. Place on lined plate to drain. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Raita Ingredients
  • 1 cup full-fat plain yogurt
  • ½ cup coarse-grated cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint leaves
Raita Directions

Combine all ingredients in medium bowl. Chill at least 1 hour. Serve chilled.

Pair It

Lightly fried fritters call for bubbles. Try this dish with the J Vineyards & Winery NV Cuvée 20 from the Russian River Valley in California.

Published on February 23, 2019


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