Bread pakoras were one of my favorite childhood foods. Typical street food in India, prepared and sold by vendors on the road-sides, although much better when made at home for a once-in-a-while Sunday brunch. Pakoras and tea in general are considered great comfort foods on a rainy day.
So it rained today here in Indy. It doesn’t usually rain this hard here and for only a few minutes it was like monsoons were here in Indiana. Needless to say, it made me crave pakoras. I have made them before for pitch-in parties at work or friend’s homes. Always found that they were quite appreciated by the American friends and colleagues, so I thought why not share the recipe for my friends who like to try new foods!
Just to clarify the terminology before I go on to the recipe – ‘pakora’ in general is fried batter. Dip different things in the batter before frying it and you get different varieties of pakoras. Here’s what you will need:
- Chick pea flour – Also called Gram flour or Besan in Hindi and can be easily found in any Indian/Pakistani store: 2 cups (makes enough for a family of 3-4)
- Salt: To taste (I used 2 teaspoons)
- Turmeric, red chilli powder, cumin powder: to taste (I used 1 teaspoon each). If you do not have these spices, no worries. You can be creative and use black pepper powder, oregano powder or any other spices you have on hand.
- Baking powder: 1/8th of a teaspoon
- Water: 1 cup (approximately)
- Oil: for deep-frying.
- Bread: 8 slices of wheat or any not-too-soft bread
- Veggies: alternately, for different types of pakoras, you can use onion rings, very thinly sliced potatoes, chopped spinach and even cauliflower or broccoli (see? that just turned it into a healthy dish).
To make pakoras, mix the dry ingredients (flour, salt, spices and baking powder) well in a somewhat flat-bottomed bowl (if you are making bread pakoras, the flat bottom will make it easy to dip the bread slice). The chick pea flour may have lumps. Squash them with a spatula.
Slowly add water to the dry ingredients, mixing constantly with a spoon/spatula to remove any lumps. If the batter is too thin, it will not stick to the veggies/bread and will fall off when you fry it. That’s why water should be added slowly and not all at once. Keep mixing until all the lumps are gone and the batter is smooth and of the consistency of pancake batter.
In the meantime, heat the oil on medium heat in a wok-style pan (or whatever you use for deep-frying). Drop a tiny bit of batter in the oil to check if the oil is ready. If the batter immediately pops up and dances in the oil, you are ready to go! Dip the bread completely in the batter to cover all sides, and drop it really slowly in the oil (be careful not to splash oil on yourself). Let it cook till it is golden on one side, then slowly turn over and cook the other side.
For veggie pakoras, mix chopped veggies in the batter and drop a few spoonfuls in the oil giving them enough space to dance around. Cook both sides till golden. Place the hot pakoras on a paper towel so that any extra oil is absorbed (healthy!) and enjoy with ketchup!
If you like this recipe, or have any questions about it or any other indian recipes, do let me know. I like cooking and blogging and would love to blog more about food and cooking :)