Vegetable & chickpea flour fritters


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Across the subcontinent it is common to hear or smell something sizzling in oil by the side of the road, usually at a bus stop or somewhere busy, where the vendor will skilfully scoop up a little bit of batter, containing anything from onion to cauliflower or broccoli, and swirl it around in the hot oil. Their crispy pakoras hit the spot every time. Served with a dip of some sort, sometimes yoghurt or mint chutney, or a sambar, they are filling and delicious — and coming out of that hot oil they are generally safe, too.

Making them at home is easy. Just be sure to cut the vegetables to the same size, so they cook through evenly.

Preparation 30 minutes
Cooking 5 minutes per batch


  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) rice bran oil or vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 40 g ( oz/1 cup) chopped spinach or kale
  • 125 g ( oz/1 cup) chopped cauliflower
  • 60 g ( oz/1 cup) chopped broccoli
  • 1 onion, cut into rings
  • black sesame seeds, to garnish
  • coriander (cilantro) sprigs, to garnish
  • Tamarind chutney, Yoghurt pakora dipping sauce, or Velvet tomato catsup, to serve

Pakora Batter

  • 100 g ( oz) chickpea flour (besan)
  • 100 g ( oz) tempura flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, dry-roasted and ground, or ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon caraway seeds
  • a generous pinch of salt


For the batter, place all the ingredients in a bowl, add 200 ml (7 fl oz) water and whisk together until smooth. The mixture should be like a thick pancake batter.

Heat the rice bran oil in a sturdy wok or heavy-based saucepan to 180°C (375°F), or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 15 seconds.

To make the pakoras, take either individual pieces of your chosen vegetable, or a combination of them, and place into the batter to lightly coat.

Carefully add a few pakoras to the hot oil, allowing them to clump together. Don’t put too many in at once, or the oil will cool, and the pakoras will be limp and soggy. Cook for 3–5 minutes, until they turn a light golden brown, then remove and drain on paper towel.

Serve warm, with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds, coriander sprigs and a dipping sauce of your choice.