Deep fried Pakoras or Bhajiyas

This Indian version of tempura is a favorite street food and snack. While fillings may vary, the ingredient for the batter stays the same –  besan, or chickpea flour. Chickpea flour is also used as a thickener and a flavoring. Pakoras can be made several hours in advance. They taste best freshly made of course, but if you make them ahead of time, heat them in the oven until they get crisp, since the crunch is a huge part of the taste. Serve with tamarind-date chutney, mint chutney or ketchup. Other variations include combinations of sliced onions, shredded carrots, chopped spinach mixed with the batter. The batter can also be used to coat sliced potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, yams, cauliflower, whole spinach leaves or tofu. Batter can be refrigerated up to a couple of days.

1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 cup besan (chickpea) flour
1/2 tsp ajwain (carom) seed
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp veg oil
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cup warm water

For the onion mix:
2 large onions sliced fine
2 tsp fresh chopped cilantro
2 chopped green chillies

Tamarind-date chutney
Mint chutney

  • Combine all batter ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly until free of lumps
  • Cover and reserve at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
  • Place vegetables in a bowl; reserve
  • Heat 2 inches of oil in a heavy pot or wok until very hot (375°F)
  • Drain sliced onions, pat dry
  • Mix the onions and batter together and spoon a tablespoon of the mixture into the hot oil 
  • Fry, turning with a slotted spoon until golden-brown, 3–4 minutes on each side
  • Transfer the pakoras to a tray lined with paper towels to drain
  • Serve hot with chutneys as accompaniment

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