When my in-laws were coming to visit last month, I wanted to try out a new Indian snack recipe to serve them and decided to try my hand at some Vegetable Pakoras. While browsing recipes I found there to be a ton of variation depending on region! So, if you’ve had Vegetable Pakoras before, these may or may not resemble what you’re familiar with. The only thing I can guarantee is that they’re delicious!
I decided to to use whatever vegetables I had in fridge and a combination of chickpea flour (often called Besan or Gram Flour) and rice flour at a 2:1 ratio (that combo came up a number of times in the recipes I was browsing). I liked the idea of using non-wheat flours as a a change – especially chickpea flour which is rich in protein and dietary fiber. The rice flour, while not as nutrient dense, is also less dense overall and serves to lighten up the batter.
You should be able to find both chickpea and rice flour in the baking aisle of any major grocery store, but if not just grab them from your local bulk foods store. Here in Port Hope I highly recommend Sun Tree Natural Foods Marketplace – they definitely have both chickpea and rice flours along with a selection of other non-wheat flours.
I’ve provided quantities of flour, but it’s really a question of feel. I highly encourage you to mix by hand so you can feel the batter coming together. You’ll need to add more or less flour depending on how much water you can extract from the mix of vegetables you choose.
I really like the look of these Vegetable Pakoras with the brightly coloured variety of vegetables including green beans, red cabbage and carrots and have purposely bought red cabbage for this recipe when I have made them again. Don’t be tied down by my preference – you can use whatever vegetables you like. Just make sure to cut them into as close to julienne as possible to ensure that they cook adequately when frying. I would encourage you to use onion as part of your mix though as they help with the texture and elevate the flavour overall.
I wasn’t sure how my boys would react to Vegetable Pakoras – but it turns out they like them (with the exception of the green beans which they meticulously pick out!) So, these are now a great addition to my go-to list of veggies that my kids will eat.
I serve these with chutneys – both tamarind and coriander based (I have found KFI brand chutneys in my local grocery store) but they’re also perfectly yummy on their own. Especially when eaten right away when they’re still hot and crispy!
3 CUPS JULIENNED VEGETABLES – I use yellow onion, carrot, green beans and red cabbage.
1/2 CUP CHOPPED CILANTRO
1/2 TSP GARAM MASALA
1/2 TBSP SALT
1 CUP CHICKPEA FLOUR – more/less as needed
1/2 CUP RICE FLOUR – more/less as needed
Heat a large pot with enough oil for shallow frying (approx 2 inches deep of oil) over medium heat.
Juliennne vegetables and toss together in a large bowl. Gently squeeze handfuls fo the vegetable mixture with your hands to extract moisture.
Add the cilantro, garam masala and salt.
Add flours a little as a time, gently using hands to bring the batter together. You’re ready to go when the vegetables are coated in flour and you can bring it together in loose clumps in your hand.
Test the temperature of the oil with a small piece of your parkora mixture. The oil should bubble and the pakora should remain afloat (if it sinks the oil is not hot enough) but not burn.
Use fingers to squeeze small clumps (approximately 2 tbsps) of vegetable pakora mixture together and carefully place in your oil. You don’t want to shape them too much as the slightly spiky shape makes them extra crispy.
Use a slotted spoon or frying ladle to gently move the pakoras around so they don’t stick together and fry evenly on all sides.
Remove when browned and drain on a paper towel.