There's nothing like a crispy corn fritter! Also known as corn pakora, these Indian snacks featuring sweet corn in a batter with warm spices like cumin, turmeric, garam masala, garlic, and chilis. Fry these corn fritters up in a bit of vegetable oil for a hearty snack perfect for dipping in chutney!
I’m not going to lie to you all — I’m a huge snacker! I love indulging in little treats in between meals. Mid-morning, afternoon, or midnight, if you ask me, snacking is one of life’s simple pleasures. The other interesting thing about snacks is that every country has its own unique recipe. So many snacks to try, so little time!
In Turkey, stuffed flatbread called gozleme is a favorite. The Chinese enjoy fried pork belly and mung bean cake, and Russians have their chebureki hand pies. In India, crispy corn pakora is a favorite. You may already have a lot of the main ingredients on hand, especially if you’re a fan of Indian-inspired cooking like me. There are tons of spices involved and they are really what makes this dish so special. The complex seasonings are the stars of the show.
This pakora recipe can be enjoyed whenever you have a craving for it. The best part? It all comes together in under 30 minutes!
Corn Fritter (Corn Pakora)
Cuisine: Asian / Indian
During your travels in Asia, a visit to India is a must.
My first taste of vegetable pakora was on the streets of Jaipur when I traveled there to celebrate the Holi Festival! We also visited New Delhi, Agra and Ranthambore, 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: Pakora, Pakoda, Pakodi, Bhajiya, Fritters
Course: Snack or Side Dish
Recipe difficulty: Moderate 🥄🥄
Corn pakora are made by mashing sweet corn and adding it to a batter made with besan (also known as gram flour or black chickpea flour).
The thick dough is then fried in hot oil. Indian seasonings, and spicy chiles.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Corn - You can use cooked or thawed corn for this pakora recipe. You’ll be mashing most of the corn to release its milk, so using canned or frozen corn niblets is the most convenient.
- Onion - I like using red varieties for this dish.
- Garlic - A little bit of garlic never hurt anybody! It marries so well with the other seasonings.
- Ginger Paste - This spicy paste also adds much to the overall flavor profile of this snack.
- Birds Eye Chile - This ingredient is optional, but if you like spicy foods, you won’t want to skip it!
- Besan Flour - Made from black gram (chickpeas), this flour will help form the corn fritter batter. You should be able to find it at a specialty supermarket, otherwise, you can purchase it online!
- Rice Flour - This gluten-free flour is very easy to find in the US. The brand linked above also makes organic rice flour.
- Kashmiri Red Chili Powder - You can also buy this spicy chili powder online. If you don’t have the time to order it, you can replace it with a mixture of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper.
- Cumin - An Indian-inspired recipe wouldn’t be the same without it!
- Turmeric - This spice adds a bit of color to your pakora recipe as well as earthy flavors.
- Garam Masala - Another classic Indian spice that can’t be skipped. Try my homemade version!
- Ground Asafoetida - Resin extracted from a perennial herb, this spice is used often in Indian cuisine to mimic the flavor of eggs. There are medicinal purposes and health benefits of asafoetida as well.
- Dried 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.
- Vegetable Oil - You’ll need this to fry up your fritters. You can use your preference!
HOW TO MAKE A CRISPY CORN FRITTER
1. Mix The Wet Ingredients. Add the corn, red onion, garlic, ginger place, and chile (if using) to a large mixing bowl. Here’s the fun part — use your hands to squeeze and mash the vegetables to mix and release the corn milk.
2. Add The Dry Ingredients. Next, you need to add the flours, spices, and seasonings to the wet ingredients to form a clumpy mixture. If your batter isn’t holding together, you can add a tablespoon of water at a time to get the consistency you’re after. If it’s too loose, add a bit more flour.
3. Fry The Fritters. Place a large frying pan or saucepan (that’s large enough to cook four at a time) with vegetable oil over medium heat. Use a food-safe temperature to ensure that the oil reaches 300 degrees F. Scoop out ¼ cup-sized portions of the fritter batter into the oil. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan! Cook for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
What Are Indian Pakoras Made Of?
Why Are My Pakoras Soggy?
This pakora recipe only works with hot cooking oil. Otherwise, the fritters will turn out soggy. Be sure to preheat the oil before cooking the first batch, and allow the oil to reheat to 350°F before cooking subsequent batches. You can use a food-safe thermometer to check the temp.
How Can I Make Pakora Crispier?
For extra crispy fritters, add a small amount of baking soda to the 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!
This post, originally published on Silk Road Recipes July, 2021, was updated with new content, photos and/or video in August, 2022.
Crispy Corn Fritter (Indian Corn Pakora)
- 2 cups corn kernels cooked or thawed
- ½ medium red onion thinly sliced, ½ cup
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced or paste
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 Birds Eye Chile minced (optional, for more heat)
Dry Ingredients (mix in bowl)
- ½ cup besan flour , chickpea flour
- 2 tablespoon rice flour
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder (See Note 1)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon garam masala seasoning
- 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 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 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.