Pakora – spiced, breaded, and deep-fried vegetables
What is pakora?
Pakora is an Indian dish. This dish is usually onion or a mix of potatoes and onion mixed with breading made from chickpea flour or “gram flour” as it is more commonly called, plus spices and then deep fried.
Where are pakoras from?
Aside from India, pakoras (fekkura or pekora) are popular in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. So, pakoras have various versions and different names in these countries and in South Africa and Britain as well. But the basics are the same: they are spiced, breaded and fried.
Pakora in the house of a friend
I had first tried pakora in a house of an Indian friend. We were being served onion and potato pakora – this I would later come to know – in intervals of about 5 minutes each time. They were rings of onions with strips of potatoes, mixed and held together by breading and fried. Sounds like onion rings with fries, right? Not at all! I could not stop looking at that pakora in between my fingers before I put it in my mouth, and a few times, I let its aroma pleased my olfactory nerves before I nibbled it. I could still remember the way it smelled and taste. Aromatic and delicious, it was not easy to forget.
Pakora in my mothers’ kitchens
Pakora’s counterpart in Saudi Arabia – in my mother-in-law’s kitchen – is kabab-el khudar (vegetable kebab). Similar to this is the Philippines’ “okoy,” which is one my favorites from my own mom’s kitchen and is featured in the book “There is No Oven in Inang’s Kitchen.” In my humble opinion, the pakora is more similar with okoy than with kabab-ek-khudar. And it is one of the reasons I have this particular liking for pakora.
What pakoras are made of
Pakoras normally use onion and another vegetable, or more than one vegetable. What you will find here is such – vegetable pakora – spiced similarly and breaded in the same fashion resulting to a familiar taste. Now one of our favorites at home, and I had also taken this to potluck get-togethers and when visiting with my sisters-in-law. Usually served as a snack, pakora is also good at lunch and dinner, either as an appetizer or as main meal.
And what pakoras are good with
Dips for pakoras vary – from yogurt to avocado dip to chutneys. My kids are easy to please, they eat pakoras as they are, or dip them in either catsup or a combination of catsup and mayonnaise. I like them with lemon and soy sauce.
- 1 onion chopped roughly
- 1 carrot shredded
- 1 eggplant julienned
- 1 zucchini julienned
- 1 potato julienned
- 3 tbsp chopped parsley
- 3 tbsp chopped mint leaves
For the breading
- 1 cup garbanzo gram flour
- ½ cup water
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- ½ tsp garam masala
Put all ingredients except onion in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and leave for 20 minutes. Wash off with water, drain and dry using kitchen towels. Add onions and mix a bit.
Add all breading ingredients and beat till without lumps.
Add vegetable mixture and mix gently.
Heat cooking oil in a deep pan.
Scoop mixture using a spoon and push onto cooking oil using another spoon.
Fry till golden.
Drain and serve hot.
HOW TO MAKE VEGETABLE PAKORAS