Pakoras are enticing little bites that will brighten up any spot in your day. These onion and potato fritters are so easy and can be made and frozen for that rainy day.

Delightful Bites

Pakora is a compound word that means “cooked” and “small lump,” which isn’t very flattering. But it belies the fact that they make for a delightful little bite that pleases at any time of the day. Fritters are loved around the world, but India takes these snacks to new heights. They are served all across India, made in homes, restaurants, street stalls, and roadside cafes. Depending on where in India you are, pakoras are called pakoda, or bajji/bhajias.

Potato pakora is a wonderful little recipe to have in your back pocket for a savory accompaniment with drinks. Pakoras beg for your creativity; almost all vegetables will work as a fritter and goes veg or non-veg, as you wish. However, I do recommend adding an allium of some sort: shallots, spring onions, etc.

A must for pakoras is that they need to be fried; baking them doesn’t give a very satisfying result. If you feel comfortable with that, the steps are quick and non-fussy. For a video of pakoras being made, see Hari Ghotra’s excellent YouTube vegetable pakora video.

Happy cooking!

~ Alonna

Oh, and by the way—This recipe is one of the top 20 dishes that are Indian favorites. Take a look!

See the Notes below before you cook.

Potato Pakora Served with three chutneys on the side.

Potato Pakora

Pakoras are enticing little bites that will brighten up any spot in your day. These onion and potato fritters are so easy and can be made and frozen for that rainy day.
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Dairy-free, Egg-free, Entertaining, Freezer Friendly, Gluten-free, Make ahead, Potato, Snack, Stovetop, Street Food, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 70kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
  • 1 teaspoon table or sea salt ~ Substitution
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala ~ Buy or make
  • 1/2 teaspooon turmeric
  • 1 pinch cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri ground red chili ~ 1/4 tsp cayenne, or to taste; substitutions
  • 1/4 cup cilantro ~ Chopped
  • 1 cup onion ~ Very thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces potatoes ~ Grated on the large side of a box grater
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 small green Indian chili ~ Optional, 1/2 tsp finely minced, or more to taste; substitutions
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, optional ~ Grated
  • 2 to 3 cups neutral oil ~ Use oil with a high smoke point: grapeseed, peanut, avocado, etc.

Instructions

  • Gather all your ingredients.
    Potato Pakora Ingredients gathered.
  • Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a wok, kadhai/karahi, or dutch oven over medium heat to 350°F (180°C). 
  • To a medium bowl add the chickpea flour, salt, baking soda, garam masala, cumin seeds, turmeric, and chili powder. Mix and then add 1/4 cup water. Adding 1 tablespoon of the water at a time just until you have a batter the consistency of heavy cream and it coats a spoon.
    Potato Pakora The besan batter ready to batter.
  • While the batter is resting, thinly slice the onion, grate the potato, and mix together in a large bowl with fresh cilantro, lemon juice, green chili, and ginger (if using).
  • Add the flour batter into the vegetables and mix well. Don’t let this mixture sit too long, or the liquid from the onions and potatoes will seep out, and your batter will become watery.
    Potato Pakora Potato and onion shredded and in a besan batter.
  • Line a baking tray with paper towels.
  • Test that your oil has come to 350°F (180°C) with a thermometer, or until a bit of the batter pops up to the surface immediately and is frying nicely. 
  • Very carefully drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil. Do not crowd them and turn them several times until they are golden brown and crispy. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the pakoras and drain on the paper towels. As you fry the pakoras in several batches, you may need to increase, or lower the heat as needed to keep the oil at approximately 350°F (180°C).
    Potato Pakora Served with three chutneys on the side.

Notes

  • These potato pakoras freeze beautifully and if you want to work ahead for a party, make a batch or two, and freeze in a zip lock bag. To heat up again, place in a 350°
    oven for 5 to 10 minutes, and heat until warmed through and crispy.
  • Make sure your onion slices are not longer than 2 inches.
  • Other vegetables ideas are zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, paneer, tomatoes, cabbage, corn, red bell pepper (capsicum), or spinach.
  • Seafood, chicken, or even tofu pakoras are also tasty.
  • If you do not have chickpea flour (besan), substitute a 50/50 mix of all-purpose flour and cornstarch makes a good substitution, though I do encourage you to find besan if you can.
  • Pakoras are best eaten hot out of the oil, as they lose their crispness.
  • A candy or deep-frying thermometer comes in handy here but is not absolutely necessary.
  • Additional flavorings to play around with:
    • Curry leaves instead of cilantro
    • A pinch of asafoetida (hing)
    • A 1/2 teaspoon of carom seeds (ajwain)
    • 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) crushed
    • Chaat masala to dust the fritters after coming out of the oil
  • Potato pakoras are one of the Top 20 Dishes in India, enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 70kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 79mg | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 67IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 3mg
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