There are two methods of making pakora that I know of. This one blends the ingredients together; the other is more like spicy tempura. I had these cooked in ghee in a restaurant and they were incredible. But you can use canola or grapeseed oil to make them.

To make pakora you will need:

  • Six tablespoons of plain flour
  • One tablespoon of self-raising flour
  • Two teaspoons of chili powder
  • One teaspoon of baking powder
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • Half a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • Two teaspoons ground turmeric
  • Three teaspoons hot curry powder
  • One teaspoon of garlic powder
  • Two eggs, beaten
  • One large, finely chopped onion
  • One medium, finely chopped potato
  • Half a pound of finely chopped fresh spinach
  • Half a pint of very cold water
  • Oil for frying

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl to form a thick paste. Set it aside, allowing it to stand for an hour. Heat oil in a wok or a deep frying pan and then reduce the heat to medium-high. Using a tablespoon to scoop the batter, push it off the spoon, into the oil with your index finger. Cook until the pakora turn golden brown, but don’t cook more than six at a time or the temperature of the oil will drop. Lay them on paper towels as you finish each batch.
Pakora are very good served with a yogurt dipping sauce, either alone or as a side dish with dal and a curry.

Gram flour makes very good pakoras without using egg. To make the batter, mix up gram flour and spices to taste - cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, turmeric, black pepper, maybe cinnamon - with a little sodium bicarbonate or baking powder for crispy airiness, and salt if you like. Add water slowly while mixing, to make a soft batter - the thinner the batter, the thinner the coating on the vegetables. Too thin, and it'll just run off; it should be just a little bit too thick to pour.

Almost any vegetable you like can be dipped in this batter and fried in half an inch or more of medium-hot oil (~180°C) until golden and crispy, which should take about 7 minutes although some vegetables can be cooked quicker than that. Good candidates for pakora-battering include chopped peppers, aubergine, baby corn, cauliflower florets, thinly sliced potato, green beans, spinach, onion rings... be creative. Usually the battered globs should be about big enough to fit into a heaped tablespoon, but it's sometimes best to take them out by hand and let any excess drip off. You can also use the same batter to make corn fritters, or add a lot of seeds to it - sesame, sunflower, whatever - and fry it quickly just like that. These seed snacks can be eaten hot or cold. You can even fry the batter on its own.

Pakoras are at their best served with good chutney, but they seem to go well with most sauces or with just a little salt.

Also known as pakorhas, pakoris, bhajias or bhajis, as in onion bhaji.

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