Make this pakoda recipe for crispy, batter-fried corn fritters. The vegetable pakora are a fantastic snack with chutney and a cup of chai.
Whether savory or sweet, nearly everyone enjoys a snack now and then. Mid-morning, afternoon, or midnight... If you ask me, snacking is one of life’s simple pleasures. It seems that every country has a unique snack recipe.
But nearly every country along the Silk Road, and even other places like the U.S., enjoy fried snacks like fritters!
Cuisine: Asian / Indian
During your travels in Asia, a visit to India is a must.
I first tasted these on the streets of Jaipur when I travelled there to celebrate the Holi Festival! Grabbing a sweet or savory snack from the street vendors was always a fun adventure and talking to the cooks was a must.
Alternate Names: Pakoda, Pakora, Pakodi, Bhajiya, Fritters
Course: Snack or Side Dish
Recipe difficulty: Moderate 🥄🥄
Corn pakoda are made by mashing sweet corn and adding it to a batter made with besan (also known as gram flour or black chickpea flour). It creates a thick dough that is then fried in hot oil. Indian seasonings and spicy chilis make the corn fritters a delicious, savory batter-fried snack or side dish.
A dish of creamy pudina chutney for dosa is sure to hit the spot, and you can also use the chutney as a dip for vegetable pakora, like these Indian corn fritters!
Types of Vegetable Pakora
Technically, pakoras can be made with any vegetable, but in India, popular pakoda recipes are green bean, zucchini, potato, and onion.
Although fried onion rings are popular in the United States, I don’t see onion fritters on very many American menus. Southern corn fritters are very popular though!
My love for the fritters is what inspired me to make this pakoda recipe with corn.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Besan Flour - This flour is made from black gram (chickpeas/garbanzo beans). You should be able to find it at any Indian grocery store or the ethnic foods aisle of your local grocery store. Otherwise, you can buy it online. Here’s an affordable brand of organic besan flour.
- Rice Flour - This gluten free flour is very easy to find in the states. The same brand that produces the besan flour also makes organic rice flour.
- Cooked corn- You’ll be mashing most of the corn to release its milk, so using canned or frozen corn niblets is the most convenient. If using cans of corn, be sure to drain them, and for frozen corn, thaw it first.
If you’d like to use fresh corn on the cob, cook the cobs in boiling water for several minutes before removing the kernels.
- Birds eye chili peppers- These are rather mild chile peppers but you can leave them out if you want less spice, or use serrano peppers for more spicy heat. Keep in mind that this pakoda recipe calls for kashmiri chili powder as well, so the fritters will have plenty of spicy flavor.
- Asafoetida- A spice used often in Indian cuisine to mimic the flavor of eggs is asafoetida, which is a resin extracted from a perennial herb. There are medicinal purposes and health benefits of asafoetida as well.
- Curry leaves- Either fresh or dried curry leaves may be used. If using fresh leaves, you’ll need to chop them up well to prevent the flavor from overpowering the other ingredients.
Tips For Making Vegetable Pakora
- Creating the right consistency batter is important.
The best way to incorporate the ingredients together is with your hands. This allows you to feel the consistency of the pakora dough. It should be thick, but slightly wet; more like a wet dough than a runny pancake batter.
If the batter is too thin or runny, the corn pakoda won’t puff up in the hot oil. Sadly, you’ll end up with something less like a fritter and more like a corn cake.
If the batter feels too wet or runny, just add more besan flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the consistency feels right.
- Preheat the cooking oil and monitor the temperature between batches.
When you add the fritter batter to the hot oil, it will drop in temperature. So, before cooking another batch, check the temperature of the oil to be sure it’s hot enough.
- Cook in small batches.
Avoid cooking too many pakoras at once; I recommend making no more than four at a time, unless your pot is very wide. If the fritters crowd together in the pot, they won’t cook evenly.
Pakoda Recipe FAQ
Pakora can become soggy when the cooking oil isn’t hot enough. Be sure to preheat the oil before cooking the first batch, and allow the oil to reheat to 350°F. before cooking subsequent batches.
For extra crispy fritters, add a small amount of baking soda to the pakoda batter. As a bonus, the alkaline in baking soda activates carbon dioxide bubbles. The gas bubbles make the corn fritters lighter and they puff up a bit as well.
Pakoda Recipe (Corn)
- 2 cups corn kernels cooked or thawed
- ½ medium red onion thinly sliced, ½ cup
- 1 tsp garlic minced or paste
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 Birds Eye Chile or Serrano minced (optional for more heat)
Dry Ingredients (mix in bowl)
- 1 ½ cups vegetable oil deep frying
- In a large mixing bowl add the corn kernels and red onion.
- Using your hand, squeeze and mash the vegetables through your fingers, mixing well and releasing corn milk.
- Add the Dry Ingredients to the vegetables, mixing well to form a wet, clumpy mixture. Add a tablespoon of water if needed to hold a scoop together (or tablespoon of chickpea flour if too loose) to fry.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large frying pan or saucepan (large enough to cook four pakoras at a time) over medium heat to reach 300°F.
- Use a ¼ cup scoop and fry in batches of 4 to not over crowd and drop the oil temperature. Cook 3 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 tomato chutney, mint and coriander sauce or dipping sauce of choice.
- If you can't get kashmiri red chili powder a good substitute = ¾ tsp 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.