Baked Pakora – Vegan Indian Food

  • Baked Pakora - a delicious, healthy alternative to the deep fried version - Gluten-free Vegan Indian Food

Hands up who loves 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’!

Baked Pakora - a delicious, healthy alternative to the deep fried version - Gluten-free Vegan Indian 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!

Still determined to create pakora, it immediately inspired me to create a BAKED alternative. 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. 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 - a delicious, healthy alternative to the deep fried version - Gluten-free Vegan Indian Food

Baked 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.

In order to avoid lumps in the chickpea flour (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.

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. If you need to add water just add one tablespoon at a time. If you need extra liquid, you will need very little.

It’s fun, so 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!

Baked Pakora - a delicious, healthy alternative to the deep fried version - Gluten-free Vegan Indian Food

I recommend that you serve them with chutney. For the recipe video, I whipped up a beetroot chutney. Mango chutney is also awesome. Check out my mango chutney here: Fresh Mango & Ginger Chutney Recipe

Baked Pakora - a delicious, healthy alternative to the deep fried version - Gluten-free Vegan Indian Food

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, although 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…

 

Baked Pakora - Vegan Indian Food

Baked Pakora - Vegan Indian Food

Yield: 8 pieces
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
A delicious baked pakora recipe, veggies coated with a chickpea flour batter. Naturally gluten-free and vegan. A great alternative to the deep-fried version of pakora/pakoda/bhaji.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Grate the carrot and potato (buy organic and leave the skins on).
  2. Grate the ginger using a fine grater.
  3. Add all ingredients into a mixing bowl (except the chickpea flour)
  4. Sift the chickpea flour (to avoid lumps) on top of the ingredients in the bowl.
  5. 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.
  6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  7. Spoon dessert sized spoon dollops onto the baking tray. Compress down slightly if you want them to be more like patties.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven (250C or 480F) for about 25 minutes.
  9. Enjoy with chutney right away as a starter, snack or as part of a curry might medley.
  10. 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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Baked Pakora - a delicious, healthy alternative to the deep fried version - Gluten-free Vegan Indian Food

11 Comments

  1. Jan February 27, 2019 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    I can’t WAIT to try these, even if it is just to ‘squidge’. 🙂 I wonder if they can be made in a giant batch and frozen for a crowd later?

    Love your little kitchen. xo

    • Anastasia February 27, 2019 at 2:43 pm - Reply

      I can’t wait to make a giant batch either!
      Haven’t frozen (no fridge or freezer currently lol!) – maybe you can try that and let me know Jan?
      Big Love xx

  2. Christine Pollock February 27, 2019 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    Hi These look fabulous and I can’t wait to make a batch. As a non-nightshade vegan would substituting the regular potato for sweet potato be alright?

    • Anastasia February 27, 2019 at 8:09 pm - Reply

      They are fabulous with sweet potato as an alternative, so absolutely!
      I’d like to post up more baked pakora recipe alternatives before long too.

  3. Jesse-Gabriel February 27, 2019 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Wow, sehen die lecker aus, die einfachen Rezepte sind doch oft die besten!
    Schön wäre auch wenn sie vielleicht auch gram Angaben machen könnten bei ihren Rezepten.
    Viele Grüße sendet,
    Jesse-Gabriel aus Berlin

  4. Suzi February 28, 2019 at 1:57 am - Reply

    OMG!!! These look and sound heavenly! Can’t wait to make them. Such a cute little kitchen and you look so healthy and comfy there, Anastasia. Thanks so much for all the lovely recipes you share.

    • Anastasia February 28, 2019 at 6:59 am - Reply

      Enjoy Suzi!
      It’s a sweet place although I do miss having a proper kitchen haha (and a fridge). It’s been awesome in so many ways.

  5. Lyn Cornell February 28, 2019 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    I cant wait to try these. Thank you so much Anastasia for sharing your scrumptious recipes and your transformational journey with us…You are one amazing. powerful lady. Blessings Lyn

  6. Susannah March 11, 2019 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    Made these last evening and they were yummy! I used sweet potato instead of potato. Next time I would cook them for longer on a slightly cooler oven as they started to burn on the edges quite quickly. Definitely a winner, will be making them lots 😊

    • Anastasia March 11, 2019 at 8:38 pm - Reply

      Yay! Delighted to hear it Susannah.
      Thanks also for the feedback on the temperature. I know I purposefully crank up the heat to try and mimic the intense heat of the deep frying… but I do wonder about it varying in different ovens. I will keep an eye on that when using different ovens and I might adjust the instructions slightly to accommodate.
      Enjoy!

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