Pakoras (pakodas) are one of the most loved snack in India. You can eat them all day, every day, and still not get sick of them! They are most wonderful on a rainy day with a cup of chai in your hand. They are so irresistible, you would invariably grab them while they are still piping hot, and bite into them immediately only to go ooh and aah, juggling the little bite in your mouth, trying not to burn the roof of your mouth!
Pakoras consist of two main items – vegetables (any, really), and besan (chickpea flour). You basically make batter by mixing the two with some spices of your choice and deep fry them.
WOAH. Deep fry them?
Yeah, that’s the thing. They are so delicious because they are deep fried! But fret not – Use an air fryer! Air fryers take away the shame and guilt that come with consuming deep fried food because there’s barely any oil being used for “frying” – it’s all hot air blowing inside a basket that’s doing all the cooking! Also, the end result is absolutely amazing, and doesn’t feel like it’s fake frying at all!
Making pakoras is super easy. It will take probably 10 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to “fry”. When I made this batch of pakoras, I used bell peppers (capsicum), onions, and carrots (because we got excessive carrots from Imperfect Produce!) but really, you can use any vegetable(s) you want. Most popular pakoras are potato, cauliflower, onion, paneer or a combination of any of these. Or like i said earlier – ANY VEGETABLE REALLY.
This is how you make them:
Chop your veggies. Here, I have bell peppers, onions and carrots.
Pro tip: Add a bit of grated ginger to give your pakoras a kick!
Add all your chopped veggies to a bowl.
Now get the most important ingredient that will add the awesome in “awesome pakoras” – Besan (Gram Flour)!
So, I am using half a biggish bell pepper, half a biggish onion, and a large carrot here. This will make me around 10 pakoras in the air fryer. For those many pakoras, use probably 1/4th cup of besan.
You can certainly add more besan if you’d like. Using less make the pakoras more crunchy because you bite into more veggies. Adding more besan will take away the crunchiness of veggies but will be delicious nonetheless!
Next, add some spices. Salt, red chilly powder to taste.
Secret spice to make the pakoras even more exciting: Amchur Powder (you can get it at any Indian grocery store) – maybe two pinches of it
Now, there are only two things you need. add just a tiny bit of oil – maybe a capful from your oil bottle, and a flick of water. Yes, a flick! Wet your fingers, and flick your fingers over the besan.
You don’t need any more water than that. If you add a lot of water, your batter will be super watery. That will be a problem because it will just drip down the holes in your air fryer basket.
So have your batter super thick.
Once you have the oil and water in there – mix. Mix well with your hand! Your hand will obviously get soiled but that’s the only way to get batter ready for pakoras. Don’t compromise this step, folks!
Pro tip: Once your batter is ready, lick your fingers to use up what’s stuck to your hand. Don’t waste it by washing it off in the sink! It’s precious.
Your batter should look something like this – notice how the veggies are still prominently visible.
Now, preheat your air fryer: 350 F and between 5 and 10 minutes.
Pro tip: Start preheating your air fryer before chopping the veggies to save time!
Now make small balls and place them in the air fryer basket. be especially careful reaching the corners. Your basket will be hot and it will definitely burn you if you are not cautious!
Put the basket back in, and bake for 10 minutes. Shake the basket after first 5 minutes.
Once ten minutes are over, get the pakoras out, put them in a bowl, and ENJOY!
Best served with any sort of chutney, ketchup or chunky chat masala.
If you end up making these, tell me how they turned out!