Onion Pakora (Indian Onion Fritters) is a traditional Indian snack that comes together with a handful of ingredients. Crispy, filled with spices, and so easy to make. It’s next to impossible to eat just one!
There’s something so comforting about fried food. Maybe it comes from memories that I have of family get-togethers, which always seemed to involve some sort of fried dish. Or maybe it’s all of that crunchy fried goodness that is so filling it makes you want to curl up and take a nap.
Whatever the reason, I love making (and eating) crispy and crunchy fried-to-perfection food. Recipes like these Halloumi Fries, my Greek Kolokithokeftedes (squash fritters), and Paneer Pakora are some of my favorites.
I knew I had to try my hand at Indian fritters next. They are called several different names: Onion Pakora, Onion Pakodi, Onion Pakoda, or simply Indian fritters.
You’ll need to make sure you’ve stocked up on several different Indian spices before you get started. Once you do, this recipe is easy to put together and make.
Enjoy these on your own, with family, or bring them as a unique side dish to your next party. Your fried-food-loving friends will thank you for it!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Red Onion - Opt for red instead of white for added spice. The white variety is too sweet for this recipe!
- Birds Eye Chile - You can use Serrano chili instead, if you would like. These chiles are spicy in all the right ways.
- Ginger Paste - If you don’t have any on hand, use 1 teaspoon of ground ginger for every tablespoon of paste.
- Flour - Like all fried dishes, you need some sort of flour for added crispiness. The flour will absorb the moisture and fat from the oil.
- Besan flour - You can substitute with chickpea flour. Besan or gram flour is a flour of chana dal or split brown chickpeas. Chickpea flour or garbanzo flour is ground up white chickpeas. Similar flavors, but not the same flour. Besan has a finer texture, too.
- Rice flour - For even more added crispiness. You can usually find it in the gluten-free section of your local supermarket.
- Spices - This recipe calls for Kashmiri red chili powder, ground caraway seeds, ground turmeric, salt, Asafoetida Hing, and dried curry leaves. It’s a beautiful combination of flavors that will give you perfectly seasoned Onion Pakodi every time.
- Vegetable oil - For frying. I like canola oil or peanut oil best.
HOW TO MAKE ONION PAKORA (INDIAN ONION FRITTERS)
- Mix. In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients (except for the oil – you’ll use that for frying) and mix using your hands. Squeeze and mash the vegetables through your fingers, making sure to mix well. Don’t add any water. Simply squeeze the mixture until you release the moisture from the onions and a clumpy dough forms.
- Prepare Your Pan. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan (or saucepan) over medium heat until it reaches 300 degrees F.
- Fry. Use a ¼ cup scoop to portion out your fritters. Fry in batches of 4 so as not to overcrowd the pan. Cook several minutes per side, until each one is golden brown all over.
- Drain. Use a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain any excess oil as you continue to fry the remaining fritters. This recipe typically makes between 12-14 pakoras.
- Serve & Enjoy. Serve hot with catsup, tomato chutney, mint, and coriander sauce, or a dipping sauce of your choice!
How Can I Make My Pakoras Crispy For a Long Time?
If you find that yours are mushy and not crispy enough for your liking, I’ve got a trick for you. You can double fry them! This does mean you’ll have to place your fritters in oil twice, so hold off if you want to avoid excess oil.
Simply fry the first batch on medium heat. Then, crank up the heat to high until they turn as crispy as you’d like them to be.
Why Are My Pakoras Not Crispy?
There are a few different reasons why your Onion Pakoda isn’t as crispy as you’d like it. First, be sure that your ingredients are sliced both thinly and evenly. A mixture of thick and thin slices will not get you the crunchy, crisp texture you’re after.
You also need to be aware of the temperature of the oil. It needs to be hot enough to cook the dish, yet not too hot as to burn it. 300 degrees F is the ideal oil temperature for crispy pakoras.
Is Onion Pakora The Same As Onion Bhaji?
If you remember, Onion Pakora is known by many names, and there is one more that I didn’t mention earlier: Onion Bhaji. That’s right — these dishes are one and the same.
In the Indian state of Maharashtra, “bhaji” means “dry vegetable preparation,” which is one way to describe Indian fritters.
Onion Pakora (Indian Onion Fritters)
- 2 cups red onions thinly sliced
- 2 Birds Eye Chile or 1 Serrano chili, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 1 cup besan flour or chickpea flour
- 2 tablespoon rice flour
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder (See Note 1)
- ½ teaspoon ground caraway seeds
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground asafoetida hing
- 10 dried curry leaves chopped if fresh crushed if dried
- 1 ½ cups vegetable oil deep frying
- In a large bowl add all of the ingredients, except oil, and mix using your hand. Squeeze and mash the vegetables through your fingers, mixing well (don't add any water, squeeze the onions until their moisture releases and a clumpy dough forms.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan or saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 300°F.
- Use a ¼ cup scoop and fry in batches of 4 to not over crowd and drop the oil temperature. Cook several minutes per side and golden brown. Drain on paper towel lined baking sheet and keep warm in oven (250°F ) while you finish frying remaining pakoras. Typically makes 12-14 pakoras.
- Serve hot and with catsup, tomato chutney, mint and coriander sauce or dipping sauce of choice.
- If you can't get kashmiri red chili powder a good substitute = ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika plus ¼ cayenne powder.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.