This traditional recipe for vegetable pakora has a yogurt and chickpea flour batter flavored with tamarind, coriander, and turmeric. It is naturally gluten-free and vegan!
Way, way back when we really didn’t know how to cook, Brad took an 8-week Indian cooking course. It was probably the best thing that ever happened to our kitchen. And vegetable pakoras are one of our favorite recipes.
Why Make Homemade Pakora?
Anything that’s deep-fried is hard to commit to (all that oil!!). However, pakoras don’t have to be deep-fried. They can be shallow fried, air fried, or baked.
Here are some of the reasons to love homemade pakoras:
- Traditional pakoras are gluten-free and made with protein-packed chickpea flour.
- Pakoras are delicious as part of an Indian meal, or as a lunch or snack.
- Make a large batch. They will last in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- These flavorful pakoras are delicious all on their own or serve with apple chutney or plum sauce.
Soaked and Fermented Batter
The pakora batter doesn’t have to be fermented. However, allowing it to sit and soak for at least 20 minutes will help the chickpea flour to fully hydrate.
Since the batter includes cultured dairy, it can easily be fermented. Fermentation helps with breaking down the complex carbs in the chickpea flour. It also improves the flavor, giving it a slightly sourdough-like richness.
Here are the steps to ferment your vegetable pakora batter:
- Mix all of the batter ingredients together in a large glass bowl. The batter will ferment best if it is made with buttermilk or milk kefir rather than yogurt.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it out on the kitchen counter for 12 to 24 hours. Follow the rest of the instructions to make your pakoras.
Vegetable Pakora with Chickpea Flour Batter
This traditional recipe for vegetable pakora has a soaked chickpea and yogurt batter. It is lightly flavored with tamarind, coriander, and turmeric for a deliciously crispy gluten-free snack. It can be made with a mix of seasonal vegetables, so feel free to use whatever is in season.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: Serves 6-8 1x
- Category: Snack
- Method: Deep fried
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 3 cups chickpea flour
- 1 Tbsp ground coriander
- 1 Tbsp tamarind paste (optional)
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 2 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups yogurt
- 5 cups of chopped and grated vegetables (see notes for suggestions)
- Mix all of the batter ingredients together until it is smooth. Leave the batter to soak for at least 20 minutes for the chickpea flour to fully hydrate. If you want to try fermenting your pakora batter, see the section above for instructions.
- While the batter rests, prepare the vegetable filling by grating and chopping all of the vegetables. The trick is to not have anything larger than a sweet pea or it won’t fully cook.
- Mix the vegetables into the batter, making sure that they are fully coated.
- Pakoras are traditionally deep-fried, however, see the notes below for other options. To deep fry the pakoras, heat 2 inches of deep fry oil to 375 F. Scoop 1/2 cup of battered vegetables into the deep fry oil and fry until the vegetables are cooked and the batter is brown (about 5 min).
- Depending on the size of the pot, you may be able to fry multiple pakoras at once. Just be sure not to do more than 3 at once or it will lower the temperature of the oil and prevent proper frying.
- Deep frying always involves a surprising amount of oil. Alternatively, shallow fry pakora “pancakes” flipping halfway through to cook each side for 5 minutes.
- Feel free to use a mix of seasonal vegetables. My favorite combination is grated potato, onions, and peas. Here are a few other options:
- grated yams or carrots
- cauliflower chopped into tiny bite-sized pieces
- zucchini cut into long thin strips
- washed spinach, chard, or kale
- shelled peas, green beans
- fresh paneer cheese sliced into cubes
- make onion rings by battering large slices of onion
Keywords: vegetarian, gluten free, grain free, summer, spring, winter, fall, picnic, fermented