Crispy mixed vegetable pakoras are vegetarian and gluten-free Indian fritters that are deep-fried and served with chutney. They’re addictive, and one of Pakistan and India’s most popular street food snack. Today I’m giving you the best vegetable pakora recipe ever. Tips for making and keeping the vegetable pakoras super crispy included!
So, as promised in my Aloo Pakora post, I’m back with a scrumptious fritter recipe…one of my very favorite snacks for Iftar in Ramadan, or when it’s raining.
If you like crispy veggies coated in batter and then deep-fried, well you’ve come to the right place, my friend.
Table of contents
About this Recipe
All pakora recipes start with a chickpea/gram flour batter. It’s a super easy batter that’s made with some spices (less or more, your choice) and a little bit of water.
My favorite vegetables to use are spinach, potato, and onion.
Other Vegetable Options
- Carrots - thinly sliced or julienned
- Bell pepper - chopped into small cubes
- Cauliflower - grated or chopped into small pieces
- Cabbage - finely sliced
- Tomatoes - remove seeds and chop finely. However, tomatoes are watery so the fritters might not turn out so crispy.
Why this Recipe Works
Pakoras are addicting because they are savoury, deep fried and CRISPY. If they turn out soggy, they’re just not as good. Here are reasons why this recipe is SO good:
- Family Favorite Recipe: This recipe is super special to me because it's passed down to me by mother. They're famous in our friends and family, and everybody can't get enough of them. She uses a few simple tricks to make them so delicious and crispy!
- Use a small quantity of water: A big mistake people usually make with vegetable pakoras is to use a lot of water to make a thin batter. When the salt in the batter draws out the moisture from the veggies, it becomes even more thin. This results in not soft pakoras and not crispy ones. If you go through my Aloo Pakora recipe, I ask you to make a more runny batter because we’re only using thinly slice potatoes in that recipe, but here I urge you to use less water.
- Cooling Rack: Instead of placing the fried pakoras on a paper-lined plate, I use a cooling rack to place my pakoras on. This ensures no steam gathers under the pakoras (while they’re resting) to make them soggy.
- Type of Vegetables: All three vegetables in this recipe, potato, onion, and spinach become super crispy when fried.
If you follow all these tips, your pakora will turn out very crispy. You won’t be able to stop eating them!!
Ingredients You'll Need
- Gram flour: Chickpea flour or besan is made from dry, ground chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans). It has more nutritional value than all-purpose flour and is gluten-free. It's easily available in bigger supermarkets nowadays, but if you can't find it try the nearest Indian grocery store near you. If you would like to try making chickpea flour at home, this video has a helpful tutorial for you.
- Spices: you'll need salt, red chilli powder, ground coriander, and chaat masala. Chaat masala is an Indian spice blend which is tangy and a little spicy and used for many recipes in the subcontinent such as Fuit Chaat and Aloo Chaat.
- Water: The quantity of water matters a lot here for achieving a crispy batter. Vegetables have a lot of water content and moisture, so we need very little water for the batter here. The pakora batter needs to be thick. The quantity of water you'll need also depends on the brand of your besan and the climate.
- Potatoes: I use grated potates here, but you can also use thinly chopped potatoes. Potatoes become super crispy when fried and are often used in Indian fritters.
- Spinach: Use fresh spinach that has been thinly chopped.
- Onions: Again often a key ingredient for fritters and for good reason. It's a sweet, savory vegetable that becomes crunchy when fried.
- Green chillies: thai green chillies or jalapenos are best for this recipe.
How to Make It
Prepare the Batter & Deep Fry
- Mix the chickpea flour and spices together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Start by adding 3-4 tablespoons of water, and mix. The batter will still be very thick and on the dry side.
- Now add in the vegetables and mix well.
- If you feel the batter is still very dry, loosen it a bit by adding 1 tablespoon of water at a time. The batter will be very thick, but not dry at all, and will cling to the surface of the chopped vegetables.
- Using your hands or two tablespoons (watch the video for this method), scoop up about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter and gently drop it into medium hot oil for 3-4 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
- Remove from the pot, and place on a cooling rack. Continue with the process until all the pakoras are ready.
- Make a Thick Batter: This doesn’t have to be runny at all unlike the Aloo Pakora batter. Why? Because in order to make crispy vegetable pakoras we need just enough moisture in the batter. If there’s excess water, the pakoras won’t turn out as crispy.
- Oil Temperature: You need to ensure that the oil temperature is correct. It shouldn’t be too hot, or else the pakoras will turn too dark and not cook through.
- How to Check if the Oil is Hot Enough: To check the oil temperature, drop in a little bit of the besan batter. If it floats up immediately and sizzles the oil is too hot. The oil should be medium high.
- How to form the Pakoras: Use a tablespoon to drop in the batter or scoop up a little bit of batter with your hands and gently drop it in the oil. Fry for 3-4 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
- Don't overcrowd the pot: Fry only a few pakoras at a time so as to avoid overcrowding and uneven cooking.
- Don't drain on kitchen paper: Instead use a cooling rack to place the pakoras on, to ensure that the crispiness remains.
Too greasy: This means the oil wasn't hot enough when the batter was dropped in. The oil needs to be at a medium-high temperature.
Raw from the inside: This means the oil was too hot, even though the pakoras are golden on the outside. This means the fritters didn't have enough time to cook through.
Dipping Sauces for Serving
- Green chutney: This is a great option and so easy to make as well. It's flavors are bright, fresh and tangy which go perfectly with the pakoras. Find the recipe here: green chutney.
- Garlic yogurt sauce: This is my personal favorite to make with these pakora, and it's so addictive you won't be able to stop snacking on it! You'll need a 1/2 cup of yogurt, 1-2 garlic cloves (minced), thinly sliced green chilli, and salt to taste. Just mix all the ingredients together, and it turns out amazing!
- Imli Chutney (Tamarind Sauce): Another popular option, and so very delicious and perfect for Ramadan and cozy Iftars. Here's the recipe: Imli Chutney.
Make a thick batter, and once the pakoras are cooked, place them on a cooling rack instead of using kitchen paper. Avoid vegetables that have high water content.
Pakora is best enjoyed fresh, but yes, you can reheat it! Simply lay them out on a baking tray, and warm up for a few minutes at 180 C/350F.
No, pakora is an Indian fritter, and can be made with various vegetables. Bhaji is a broader term and refers to a wider type of street food snacks in India.
There could be several reasons for this, the number one reason being that too much water was used when making the batter.
More Delicious Pakistani Snacks
- Chana Chaat
- Aloo Chaat
- Chicken Seekh Kabab
- Aloo Tikki
- Chicken Cheese Balls
- Baked Spinach and Cheese Samosa
- Chocolate Samosa
- Aloo Pakora
Note: This recipe was originally published on Sep 18, 2019, and has been updated for new pictures, a recipe video tutorial, and step-by-step pictures!
Mixed Vegetable Pakora Recipe
- Box grater
- Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot
- Cooling rack
- 1 cup chickpea flour (also known as besan or gram flour)
- 5 tablespoons water (or as needed)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 cup chopped spinach (also known as palak)
- 1 medium sized potato (grated or thinly sliced)
- 1 medium sized onion (thinly sliced)
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped coriander (also known as cilantro or dhania)
- 1-2 green chilli (chopped finely)
- Cooking oil for deep frying
Garlic Yogurt Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1 garlic clove (minced)
- 1 green chilli (chopped finely)
- salt to taste
Making the Pakora Batter
- In a bowl, mix together the chickpea flour and spices. Mix well.
- Add 3-4 tablespoons of water until a thick batter forms.
- Add the vegetables and mix well. If needed add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until the batter is just clinging to the surface of the vegetables.
- Once the pakora batter is ready, set it aside.
Frying the Mixed Vegetable Pakora
- In a dutch oven pot or heavy bottomed wok, bring oil to medium high heat.
- To see if the oil is ready for frying, drop a little bit of batter into the oil. If it floats up immediately, the oil is too hot for frying. If the batter takes about 2 seconds to float up, then the oil is ready for frying.
- Using two tablespoons (watch video) or using your hands, drop the batter into the oil. Fry only a few pakoras at a time. Too many pakoras will crowd the wok, and cause the temperature of the oil to drop and the pakoras won’t cook evenly.
- Gently flip the pakoras while frying so that they cook evenly from all sides.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove the pakoras from the wok and place on a cooling rack.
Garlic Yogurt Dipping Sauce
- Mix all the ingredients together, and serve with the pakora.
- Chickpea flour: This is made from ground dried chickpeas, and also known as gram flour or besan. It's easily available in large supermarkets or Indian grocery stores.
- Water: Only use a little bit to form a thick batter, for crispy pakora.
- Chaat Masala: an Indian spice blend, it's tangy and spicy and adds a great flavor to these pakoras. Can be skipped, if you don't have it on hand
- Storage Instructions: Pakoras are best enjoyed when freshly cooked. However, you can store leftovers in airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. To reheat, preheat oven to 180 C or 350 F and spread the pakora on a baking tray in a single layer. Bake for a few minutes until warmed through and crispy.