Vegetable Pakoras
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Recipe courtesy of Aarti Sequeira

Vegetable Pakoras

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 45 min
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
I like to think of pakoras as the Indian tempura. They're a staple of Indian life, and are the perfect accompaniment to a hot cup of chai or a chilled mug of beer. The superhero ingredient here is Indian chickpea flour. No egg is required to make this batter, so it's perfect for the vegans among you!



Special equipment:
a deep-fry thermometer
  1. Whisk the besan, rice flour, salt, turmeric, ajwain seeds and baking soda together in a large bowl. Add the ginger, lemon juice and enough water (roughly 1/2 cup) to form a batter. (Consistency-wise, it should be slightly thinner than heavy cream.)
  2. Warm the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until it registers 375 degrees F on a thermometer. Set a cooling rack over a paper-towel lined baking sheet.
  3. Drop the onions, kale and cauliflower into the batter. Using tongs or your fingers, knock the excess batter off each piece before dropping into the hot oil. Fry in batches, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Fry smaller, thinner vegetables like the onions and kale for 1 to 2 minutes. Fry the cauliflower for 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Remove the pakoras from the hot oil using a spider. Set on the cooling rack, then quickly sprinkle with salt and the ground black lime. Eat hot!

Cook’s Note

Unlike regular chickpea flour, which is made from garbanzo beans, Indian besan is made from brown chickpeas (AKA chana dal) and is much more finely milled. It has a milder flavor and requires less water to form a batter. It's available at Indian stores and online.