Recipe video above. Vegetable fritters can be so bland and uninspiring ... but not in the hands of Indian cooks! Pakoras are a traditional Indian street food made with all sorts of vegetables. I've used onion, potato and caulifloiwer, but see Note 5 for other options. Serve as starter for an Indian menu, light meal or pass around as canapes. They're gluten free and vegan so everybody can enjoy them!Spiciness: Mild. Large chillies are not that spicy, and we are using 2 across lots of pakoras! Feel free to omit/reduce the fresh chilli and chilli powder.No deep fry method - See Note 7 for shallow pan-fried version.
Make batter: Place chickpea flour in a bowl with the spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, chilli). Slow whisk in the water.
Mix in Vegetables: Add potato, cauliflower, onion, ginger, chilli and coriander. Mix well with a wooden spoon. It should be a thick batter, almost paste-like.
Preheat oven to 80°C/175°F - to keep cooked pakoras warm. Set a rack over a tray.
Heat oil: Heat 4cm / 1.5" oil in a large heavy based pot to 180°C/350°F (Note 6).
Form patties: Drop 2 tbsp of batter roughly formed into a patty shape into the oil. I use my hands (as is typical in India!) but you can also use 2 tablespoons (be careful of splash-age). Don't crowd the pot, it will lower the temperature too much.
Fry pakoras: Fry 2 - 3 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towels. Keep cooked pakoras hot in the oven on a rack set over a tray.
Serve: Serve pakoras with Coriander Mint Sauce or Minted Yogurt Sauce!
Coriander Mint Sauce OR Mint Yogurt Sauce:
Place ingredients in a small food processor or Nutribullet, or use a stick blender. Blitz until smooth.
Batch size - This makes quite a large batch. Around 40 pakoras! Figure we may as well make it worth our while. Leftovers resurrect well - see Storage note below.1. Chickpea flour - Also known as gram flour, and besan, made from dried chickpeas. Staple in Indian cooking. Nowadays sold at large grocery stores in Australia. Using this instead of flour makes this a naturally gluten free recipe.2. Fenugreek powder - Staple Indian spice, kind of smells like maple syrup. Available at stores that carry a decent range of spices. I found it at Harris Farms (Australia). Also, of course, at Indian grocery stores!Best sub: Garam Masala or a generic curry powder. (No it's not the same but the extra flavour will compensate).3. Chilli Powder - This is pure ground chillies, not to be confused with US Chili Powder which is a spice mix. Sub cayenne pepper. Fee free to reduce chilli powder if you're concerned about spiciness. You can cook a test one, taste, then add more chilli into the batter.4. Potatoes - Any all rounder or starchy potatoes work best. Aus: Sebago, US: russet, UK: King Edward/Maris Piper. Waxy potatoes will work ok too.5. Other Veg: Use 6 cups in total.
Carrots - finely julienned or grated
Broccoli, broccolini - chop finely into rice size
Green beans, asparagus - finely spice or julienne
Zucchini - grate and squeeze out excess liquid)
Spinach, cabbage and similar - julienne then grab handfuls and squeeze out excess liquid
Capsicum/bell peppers (finely slice into 2.5cm/1" pieces)
Parsnip, celeriac and other root veg - grate like potato
Peas and corn - use whole
Not recommended (or requires extra prep steps) - eggplant, pumpkin, celery, fennel, cucumber, tomatoes
6. Oil hotness test if you don't have a thermometer - drop bit of batter in, should start sizzling straight away.7. No deep fry option - shallow fried: Just dollop batter into a skillet with about 1cm/ 0.2" of preheated oil and cook on medium high until golden on each side (about 4 minutes). Won't be the same as traditional pakoras because you don't get the crunchy scraggly bits, but all the flavour is there! Don't try to just pan fry in a little oil - we tried it and it doesn't work (inside doesn't cook through).8. Storage - Keep leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for 3 months in an airtight container. Reheat in a 180°C/350°F oven on a rack set over a tray for 12 to 15 minutes until hot and crispy.9. Nutrition per Pakora, assuming 1/2 tsp oil is absorbed per Pakora. (Deep frying absorbs less oil than you think, as long as you properly drain on paper towels as it wicks excess oil away).