Quick Indian - Pakoras and Bhajias

Monday, January 18, 2010

Posted by Bina

These deep-fried, absolutely addicting fritters made of chickpea flour and vegetables are one of the most popular tea-time snacks in India. They are quick, need just a few ingredients and are easy to make. Versatile too. You can use vegetables like potatoes, onions, cauliflower, eggplant green peppers, shredded cabbage, spinach and even hot, green chillies. They are also made with paneer and sometimes slices of hearty white bread.

Pakoras or Bhajias with a hot cup of tea is a combination that is hard to match! Especially on cold, rainy days. It brings back memories of coming home soaking wet during the monsoons and in the time it took to dry off, my mom would have some hot tea and a plate of piping hot pakoras waiting for me. In my house, the batter dipped vegetables were called bajjis (bhajias)and the ones made with sliced onions, chickpea flour and spices were called pakodis (pakoras). This terminology seems to be typical to the south while it is reversed in the north. Call them pakoras, pakodis, bhajias or bajjis. Or simply call them delicious!


4 medium onions, thinly sliced (approx. 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tbsp chopped green chillies
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp coriander powder (optional)
1/4 tsp garam masala (optional)
1-2 tbsp water
salt to taste
oil for deep frying


  • Heat oil in a kadai or a small wok to about 375F. If using a heavy flat pan, make sure the oil is about 3 inches deep. This will prevent the pakoras from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Combine the sliced onions and salt in a medium bowl and mix well.

  • Add the cilantro and green chillies.

  • Add the chickpea flour, cayenne pepper powder, coriander powder and garam masala(optional). Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to make mixing easier.

  • Mix well and drop the mixture into the hot oil with a 1/8 cup measure for larger ones or scoop it with a tablespoon and drop in hot oil for smaller ones. You can also scoop up a small mound with your fingers and drop carefully into the hot oil (watch those fingers!).

  • Turn them over once they turn golden brown on one side and fry till they turn the same color on the other side.

  • Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels.

  • Serve hot with some green chutney or ketchup.

  • Bhajias

    Vegetables like thinly sliced potatoes, cauliflower broken into small florets, green pepper wedges, thinly sliced onions or eggplant.
    1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder
    1/8 cup chopped cilantro
    1/2 tsp carom (ajwain) seeds - optional
    salt to taste

  • Heat oil in a kadai or small wok to baout 375F. If using a heavy flat pan, make sure the oil is about 3 inches deep. This will prevent the bhajias from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  • Add the chickpea flour, salt, cayenne pepper powder, carom seeds (if using) and cilantro to a large bowl.

  • Add enough water to make a thick batter (I use a whisk). The batter should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and when you run your finger through the batter, the line should remain.

  • Dip the vegetables in the batter. one slice or piece at a time, making sure they are well coated

  • Drop into the hot oil and fry until they are crispy and goden brown all over.

  • Drain on paper towels and serve hot with green chutney.

  • Pakoras and Bhajias will become soft after a few hours. Reheating them in a 350F oven for about 5 mins makes them crispy again.

    Thanks to my friend, Helen, for the the fantastic photography.

    This post was written by Bina

    Are you interested in contributing to The Daily Tiffin? Drop us an email: thedailytiffin@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing your ideas.


    Let me start by saying Pakoras in particular remind me of rainy weekends growing up as a child, playing with paper boats in the puddles left behind.

    Then we would come back into the house and snack on a plateful of pakoras.

    The description on this blog is very enticing.

    It seems like Bhajias can come with different kinds of fillings. If I had rank my taste for these filling they would be:

    5. Eggplants
    4. Spinach
    3. Potatoes
    2. Onions
    1. Cauliflower

    I have tasted an Indian-Chinese Bhajia, with Cauliflower and Machurian sauce - now, there you have a creative Indian-Chinese combination.

    Great recipe entry - looking forward to putting it into action!


    SPK-NY said...
    January 18, 2010 at 6:05:00 PM GMT+1  

    I love this. I had my share or fried food this weekend and swore it would be enough for a few months and now here you come along and tempt me with your pakoras and bhajis. I love both but if I had to pick I would go for the bhajis - love onions crispy fried with a nice spiced batter around them.

    Brilliant article and thanks to Helen for the photography!

    Meeta K. Wolff said...
    January 18, 2010 at 7:56:00 PM GMT+1  

    This article brings me back to my homeland Singapore. Now I'm so homesick for my country food.

    January 18, 2010 at 8:32:00 PM GMT+1  

    good recipe going to try it

    Handy said...
    January 19, 2010 at 3:10:00 AM GMT+1  

    Bina this is great! I love these and I am so glad to have these fantastic recipes.

    Jamie said...
    January 19, 2010 at 10:33:00 AM GMT+1  

    platter looks yummy,...

    notyet100 said...
    January 19, 2010 at 11:54:00 AM GMT+1  

    This is a great and easy to follow recipe; I'd like to add that my 3 yr old loves these, and they're popular at playdates as well! We've so far used your recipe and made pakoras with onions, potatoes and cauliflower florets too. Next on my list: broccoli bhajias! ;-) Thanks!

    Kavita Daiya said...
    January 19, 2010 at 7:45:00 PM GMT+1  

    Lovely photos! Yes, I would agree that each of these fried goodies would get the distinction of delicious! My favorite would probably be the cauliflower.....but I would go for all of them. Thanks for sharing your memories with us!

    January 20, 2010 at 1:14:00 PM GMT+1  

    I can attest that they were good and that I ate way more than my share :)

    Thanks to Bina for allowing me to photograph her as she was making it. Truly a great moment in our friendship.

    Helene said...
    January 21, 2010 at 8:09:00 PM GMT+1  

    I love indian food so much i think this recipe will be amazing

    PageRank Check said...
    January 25, 2010 at 4:03:00 PM GMT+1  

    Great post Bina! Looks super yummy! Maybe next time we have a get together at your house I can come early and help you make these! Wonderful job!

    Unknown said...
    January 27, 2010 at 2:32:00 AM GMT+1  

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