Pakoras are a delicious, crispy, savory snack eaten across South Asia.
"Pakoras are most often enjoyed as street food, but can also be prepared at home. Think of them like fritters or tempura with a spiced gram flour batter. They are typically made with onions and potato, but versions with eggplant, chilies, cauliflower, spinach, paneer, chicken, and fish are popular too! The veggies get a good dredge in the batter and then are deep fried until golden and crunchy. A common misconception is that you can’t deep fry in olive oil, this recipe shows that you most certainly can. Enjoy these hot with date tamarind or green chutney for dipping." - Noreen Wasti
1 cup besan aka gram flour
1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup water, as needed
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced in half moons
1 medium potato, cut into thin matchsticks
1 handful cilantro with stems, roughly chopped
2 Thai green chilis, serrano, or jalapeño peppers, chopped
In a large bowl add the besan, Kashmiri red chili powder, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, and baking soda. Stir to combine.
Pour in the water, bit by bit, while stirring until the mixture resembles cake batter. It shouldn’t be runny, but also not too thick. Try and veer on less water as the onion and potato will release water in this process as well.
Add in the onion, potato, cilantro, and green chilis. Grate in the garlic using a microplane.
Use your hands to combine the onion potato mixture with the batter. It should be scoopable and hold its shape when clumped in your hands. If it feels too watery, you can add a bit more besan. If it feels too thick, you can add a splash of water. The batter should stick to and coat the onion potato mixture.
Heat a sautèpan or pot over medium-high heat. Add the ALIVE olive oil into the pan to reach a depth of 2 inches.
Once the oil is hot, drop small handfuls of the mixture into the hot oil using a tablespoon or your hands (be careful if the latter).
Working in batches, fry the pakoras until deeply golden and crisp — about 3-4 minutes per side. Monitor the heat and lower if the pakoras brown too quickly. You want a perfectly golden exterior with a fully cooked interior.
Use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to remove the pakoras from the oil, shaking off any excess. Drain on paper towels.
To serve, sprinkle with flaky salt and chaat masala*. Enjoy immediately!
Chaat masala is a tangy spice mix and it just adds an extra little kick! If you don’t have chaat masala, you could omit it, or alternatively use sumac or Tajin.