Onion pakora is a popular tea time snack made by deep-frying onion slices in a gluten-free and vegan chickpea flour batter.
There is no dearth of tea time snacks in Indian cuisine. These snacks can be an entire cuisine category on their own. From the bhajjis and vadas of South India to pakore and chaat from North India, the sheer variety of Indian tea time snacks will astound you. Most of these snacks are easy to make with just a few pantry staples.
When it is rainy or cold, the best thing to do is to warm up with a cup of chai and a plate of piping hot pakora. Pakora (also called pakoda, pakodi or bhajji) can be made with almost anything. Potatoes, onions, most vegetables, paneer, chicken and even bread pakoras are very popular. The binding agent is chickpea flour or besan which makes these onion pakora naturally gluten-free and vegan.
There are a couple of ways to make pakora. In one method, a batter is made with the chickpea flour, the vegetables slices are dipped in it and deep-fried. In another method, the flour and seasonings are mixed in with the vegetables, and using very little water, a thick batter is formed. You would drop small handfuls of this batter in the oil, forming pakoras that are free-form in shape.
The process of making onion pakora starts by slicing and salting the onions and letting them sit for a while. This makes the onions let out water and makes it softer and more pliable. Then when you add the flour, you will need very little water and the pakora turns out super crunchy on the outside and perfectly cooked inside.
I have been experimenting with cooking pakoras in an air fryer too and it works. It tastes slightly different from the deep-fried version of course, but if you are watching your calories, it is a good option. Just remember to spread out the onion fritters thinly when placing the batter in the air fryer bowl.
A good pakora needs a good condiment to go with it. Ketchup is always a crowd favorite, but I also like to make a tangy green chutney to go with it.
Onion pakora are also great as a side for a traditional Indian meal, I especially love pakora with rice and dal curry. If you have never tried it, you definitely should.
Here’s how to make onion pakora or onion bhajji.
- Red onions - 2, medium-large
- Salt - ½ tsp
- Turmeric powder - ¼ tsp
- Red chili powder - ½ - 1 tsp (as per taste)
- Garam masala powder - ½ tsp
- Green chilies - 2, finely chopped
- Cilantro leaves - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
- Chickpea flour - 1 cup, sifted
- Rice flour - 2 tbsp, sifted
- Water - as needed
- Oil - for deep-frying
- Slice onions thinly into half-moons. In a bowl, add salt, turmeric, red chili powder, chilies and cilantro to sliced onions. Using your hands, mix them together, separating the onion slices with your fingers. Rest for at least 15 minutes to let the onions soften.
- Add chickpea flour and rice flour to the onions and mix well. Add water, a little at a time, to make a thick batter. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Heat oil in a large, deep pan. Drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Fry pakora in medium heat, flipping them over to cook on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Serve onion pakora hot with ketchup, green chutney and a hot beverage.
Enjoy hot pakoras with this quick green chutney made with fresh cilantro and mint leaves.
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What’s your favorite tea time snack? Let me know in the comments. Do try this easy pakora recipe and let me know how you like it.
Here are more pakora recipes for you try.
If sweet snacks are more your jam, I’ve got you covered there as well.
- Pazham pori or ripe plantain fritters.
- Peanut butter stuffed banana ebelskivers (appe).
- Godhumai kozhukkatai (sweet wheat flour dumplings).
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