Hands up who loves pakora? OK hands up who wants baked pakora?
Pakora is a traditional Indian fritter made with vegetables that are coated with a crispy batter. Usually deep fried, they are also known as pakoda, pakodi and bhaji and served as a snack or appetizer along with a dipping sauce or chutney. Enjoying them as part of your main meal can also be fun too, especially when serving a different medley of things on a curry night.
Pakora is naturally vegan and gluten-free. We are talking veggies, spices coated with chickpea flour. Easy!
OK, so who wouldn’t mind a SUPER HEALTHY alternative to the deep fried version? Now we’re talkin’!
When you crave pakora but want healthy food…
I was out on my daily walk a while back and randomly started craving pakora. Pakora, pakora, pakora. That crispy bit of coated vegetable all wrapped up as one delightful fritter – I just could not stop thinking about it. Actually, that’s how recipes begin with me, they sort of ‘create themselves’ in my mind without me even thinking, and they won’t give me any peace until I make them!
Just to see what the fuss was all about, I couldn’t resist making a deep-fried version. Curiosity and all. Blimey, that super hot sizzling fat is scary stuff, when you aren’t used to it! Being a kitchen alchemist, I adore playing, so I just HAD TO give it a whirl. De-e-e-elicious! However, since my daily cuisine is normally quite healthy, the saturated fat did not sit too well in my stomach. Whilst they were indeed tasty, I abandoned the deep-fried efforts after one attempt lol!
So make baked pakora instead
Still determined to create pakora, it immediately inspired me to create a BAKED alternative. I had no idea whatsoever if it would even work, although I’ve used chickpea flour to successfully create baked farinata before so I became rather excited about the possibility of a super healthy pakora version. And then it happened! Baked Pakora quickly became a thing in my kitchen (well, when I say ‘kitchen’, at the time of writing, my kitchen being actually the tiniest cabin in the mountains with a little mini electric oven by my front door).
Baked pakora is a super healthy but delicious alternative to the deep-fried stuff…
Baking your pakora is never going to be the same as the deep fried ‘drenched-in-oil’ version. Yet it is still delicious and I love it. The tradeoff is that you get a super healthy alternative.
Pakora also makes a healthy lunch box or picnic snack, serving well with chutney, sauce or any dip you fancy. If you want to heat it up the next day, just pop it under the grill (broiler in the USA) for a few minutes.
It’s quick and easy to make. You start off by grating the vegetables (in this recipe I am using carrot and potato) and putting them into a mixing bowl along with some finely grated ginger and other spices.
Chickpea flour often has lumps in it, so in order to avoid this clumping (which is common with chickpea flour) then sift it in.
Give the seive a shake and then help it through by pushing down with the back of a spoon.
Mixing everything together
Then mix everything together. It’s difficult with a spoon, so best to get your hands in there and enjoy the experience. You need to mix together and then start squidging with your hands (check out my video for a visual on the whole process) until everything is evenly combined.
There should be enough moisture in the carrot and potato to ensure that you do not need to add any liquid. If however, it seems a bit dry (check the image below and video for the consistency that you are looking for), then you can add water. In the case that you need to add water just add one tablespoon at a time. When extra liquid is needed, therfore you will need very little.
It’s fun, so you will enjoy the process
Next, you will need to line a baking tray with parchment paper. Scoop the mixture on a dessert spoon and create dollops. Press them down a little if you want them more like patties. These can go straight into a hot oven (250C or 480F) and bake for about 25 minutes.
And there you have it!
I recommend that you serve them with chutney. For the recipe video, I whipped up a beetroot chutney. Mango chutney is also awesome and everyone adores it. Check out my mango chutney here: Fresh Mango & Ginger Chutney Recipe
At the time of writing this, I am staying up in a remote location in the middle of nowhere without a proper kitchen. I have been baking these in a little electric oven that I bought, however, I can’t wait to make them in a massive batch when I get myself into a bigger kitchen again.
I made a short little video from my tiny cabin to show you how easy they are to make. Please do check out my video here for a quick visual guide…
- 1 large carrot
- 1 small potato
- 1 inch cubed of ginger (2.5cm cubed)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Twist black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 heaped teaspoon curry powder (or garam masala)
- 1 handful chopped parsley (or coriander leaves)
- 75g chickpea flour (garbonzo bean or gram flour) 3/4 of a cup approx
- Grate the carrot and potato (buy organic and leave the skins on).
- Grate the ginger using a fine grater.
- Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl (except the chickpea flour)
- Sift the chickpea flour (to avoid lumps) on top of the ingredients in the bowl.
- Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. This is easiest using your hands. Once everything starts to combine then 'squidge' and compress with your hands (see video) until everything is wonderfully melded together.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Spoon dessert sized spoon dollops onto the baking tray. Compress down slightly if you want them to be more like patties.
- Bake in a preheated oven (between 220C/250C or 425F/480F) for about 25 minutes. All ovens are not the same, so use the temporature that works best for your oven. Basically, you want them baking really hot in order to cook through and crisp a little on the edges (but not to burn).
- Enjoy with chutney right away as a starter, snack or as part of a curry might medley.
- They work nicely cold the next day in a lunch box. Alternatively reheat under a grill (broiler) for a few minutes.
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