25 May


Pakora, the delicious tea-time-any-time snack of Pakistan, has become a staple at my house. It’s a crispy, flavorful addition to my recipe collection that I will take with me wherever I go.

There are many variations: I’ve had cabbage and onion with a hint of soy pakora for a Chinese twist; I’ve had onion and spinach bundles, eggplant slices, chicken pieces and even boiled eggs coated with batter and fried for a heavy, fulfilling treat.

Some people I know add an egg or two to the batter mixture, but unless I’m making a big batch, I find it doesn’t need it. I suggest you try it first without it, you can always add it later. It’s a very forgiving recipe, and everyone I know here has her own version.

The main ingredient in pakora is besan, which is a flour made out of chickpeas, and if you have never cooked with it, you should make an effort to find it because it’s delicious. It’s definitely worth a trip to the Asian store. You might also try looking for it in your local health food store, as it is a good vegan ingredient. The flavor of besan is so unique that I believe there is no substitute for it, but regular all-purpose flour can be used to make a potato fritter that is similar to pakora in shape and texture, although not in taste.


2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks

1 medium onion, chopped

2 small green chilies, sliced (optional)

1 handful of cilantro, minced

½ teaspoon cilantro seeds (optional)

½ cup besan (also called gram flour)

salt & pepper to taste

¼ teaspoon chili powder (optional)

¼ cup water

oil for frying


Place the potatoes, onions, chilies, cilantro and the seeds (if using) in a medium bowl and toss to combine.

Add the besan, a little at a time, mixing it in well (your hands are best for this).

Add the salt, pepper and the chili powder, if you are using it. Mix again to distribute evenly.

Pour the water using a spoon, little by little, until the flour is no longer powdery, but not too wet.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. When the oil ripples, using your hands, take a handful of pakora mixture and gently and carefully place it in the hot oil, making sure your pakora stays together. Your can use a spoon if you prefer, but I find you have less control that way. If your fritter breaks up in the pan, quickly pat it into place before it sets, using a metal spatula or a slotted spoon.

Cook the pakora for a few minutes on one side until golden, then turn it and fry the other side. If the pakora has an irregular shape, move it around to make sure it cooks evenly on all sides.

Taste your pakora once it is cool, and make adjustments to your seasoning if you think you need it. Continue frying the rest of the batter until you’re done.

Pakora are served with ketchup, or sometimes with yogurt and mint chutney, but I like mine with chilmol, a tomato and onion relish from Honduras, where I grew up.


3 medium plum tomatoes

1 medium onion

salt & pepper to taste

squirt of lemon juice

Chop the tomatoes and the onion into small pieces. Place in a bowl and toss to combine.

Add the salt and pepper and toss. Pour a bit of lemon juice.

Check the seasoning and adjust.

You can add finely sliced cabbage, chopped cilantro, or cucumber pieces if you like. They all go well together for a cool, refreshing taste.


38 Responses to “Pakora”

  1. asimologics May 25, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    Yum yum yum.. Where is the Chatni….

  2. Veronica Twizzler May 25, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    That looks REALLY good! Like fries :)

  3. monicasawhney May 25, 2010 at 8:47 pm #

    love the presentation!

  4. melanirae May 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    This sounds delish! Will be trying this one, no doubt:)

  5. allythebell May 25, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

    Looks good! I had to look at the picture a second time, but I am pretty sure my parents had those same plates when I was growing up!

    • Lizzy May 25, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

      The plates are Portmeirion Botanic Garden. Thanks for visiting!

  6. LaLasha May 25, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

    Thank you for posting this. I love pakoras and can’t wait to make them.

  7. pbandchutney May 25, 2010 at 9:26 pm #

    great recipe! have you tried baking?

  8. Shivangi singh May 25, 2010 at 10:35 pm #

    Pakora is a snack of India and not Pakistan.

    • Lizzy May 25, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

      India and Pakistan used to be one country, so they share a lot of the same food. I live in Pakistan, and that is why I said it is a Pakistani snack.

      • mariamirza May 26, 2010 at 2:54 am #

        hmm India and Pakistan were just one country under the British. And food sharing is a lot less than it seems :), Pakistani food shares more food similarities with Iranian foods (not to mention we are major carnivores :)).

        Pakora is a snack from Pakistan and North western India. Not to say the rest of India doesn’t have similar snacks, but in most Indian restaurants are called “bhaji” or something like that.

        Furthermore, typical Pakistani pakoras are radically different than Indian ones (at least all the Indian ones I saw).

        Btw – these look delish!!!

      • Lizzy May 26, 2010 at 10:10 am #

        I was referring to the fact that the history of the Indian subcontinent goes back much farther than the last 158 years, and, as you know, present-day Pakistan was not formed until after the 1947 declaration of independence.

        Anyway, I think arguing over the origins of a certain dish is pretty silly, as I am not a food historian.

        Here’s a link to a very interesting series done by National Public Radio about the GT Road as it moves through the region, and there’s quite a bit about the food!

  9. sopadorsvegans May 25, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    that’s a very great vegan recipe, pakora (& samosa) rules!

  10. Club Dine In! May 25, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    you make them look so elegant and good! yummy.

  11. pursuenaturalny2008 May 25, 2010 at 11:27 pm #

    Fabulous recipe! I researched Cilantro for four years and I cannot say enough good things about it: Vitamin A,C,E and other minerals. Your pakora includes it in such a delicious looking way. Thank you for bringing the different cultures of the world together one food item at a time.

  12. raulrach May 25, 2010 at 11:28 pm #

    Do you get a burger and shake with that?

  13. Pankaj Saksena May 26, 2010 at 12:04 am #

    Lest one forget, its very common in India too!

    • latha nair May 26, 2010 at 1:21 am #

      yeah the same as we make bhaji in kerala.Bhaji is soft and pakodas are crispy.

  14. neurotype May 26, 2010 at 2:57 am #

    I’m used to this from India–great shots! Normally we’ve always cut the potatoes into thin circles, but looks like I’ll have to give sticks a try.

    • theartofdonna May 26, 2010 at 4:07 am #

      Looks dlish!

  15. incidentalcooksuman May 26, 2010 at 4:53 am #

    Hmm…pakoras…reminds me of moonsoon rains, evening with Pakoras and Chai..wah wah…what more does one need in life…

    Nice post…

  16. adorablemind May 26, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    Wow! It looks delicious.I’ll try to make it :D

  17. youngcleanlegit May 26, 2010 at 6:39 am #

    This looks extremely delicious. I’m going to have to try it out, thanks for sharing!

  18. moneyiscenteverything May 26, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    “French” Fries from any country sounds good!

  19. Pankaj Saksena May 26, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    Pakoras in India are different. But they are not called bhaji. Bhaji is different.

  20. hazeldreams May 26, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    Sounds delish.

  21. Kris May 26, 2010 at 11:54 am #

    OMG that looks fabulous! How many more hours until lunch?

  22. rogerleejr May 26, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    I love any blog that talks about food…:-)

    The chickpea flour sounds great…and your Pakora recipe would be a great way to hop up one of my favorite dishes, that being fried potatos and onions mixed with scrambled eggs…I think we could hook these up to your dish…yes, this would work! Thanks for a cheerful site and some great ideas, keep writing and blogging :-)

  23. yashclicks May 26, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    Make me want to have some NOW!

  24. Prabhmeet Singh May 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    I like the picture of the pakora more than the actual pakora ! OMG Tempting – But, say “No” to Junk Food !!

  25. hoiden May 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    My fav thing to do…eating hot pakoras while watching rain:)
    BTW it looks delicious!!!

  26. atxjoe512 May 28, 2010 at 6:18 pm #

    That looks yum I’ll have to try that!

  27. Tes May 31, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    It looks so yummy! My family will go crazy about this.

  28. drew June 1, 2010 at 10:01 am #

    this makes me hungry…

  29. Tammy McLeod June 7, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    I know I’d like this and think my kids will too. It looks like a fair amount of work so I’ll have to save it for a weekend.


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