A sweet and spicy Corn Fritter makes for a great appetizer or snack! Authentic Indian herbs and spices are fried into a rice and chickpea flour batter. Paired with sweet and juicy corn, these flavors are absolutely delicious!
Corn pakora, or corn pakoda, is an incredibly popular snack found all throughout India. It’s like your usual corn fritter you’d find in the Southern United States, but with a twist — smoky, earthy Indian spices.
While you still get the sweetness from the corn, you get a punch of spice from chiles and kashmiri powder too! Each bite is also greeted with a warm and earthy blend of seasonings including garam masala, curry leaves, cumin, and turmeric.
I’ve included a quick video to help you get the timing right and get perfectly crispy fritters every time. If you enjoy this recipe and would like to try something similar to Indian corn pakora, I’d recommend onion or paneer pakora next! My friend Dan over at The Curry Guy has these amazing Chicken Pakora, too!
Watch the Video!
Learn how to make these amazing corn pakora by watching the recipe video below in the recipe card!
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 Kernels – Fresh, canned, or frozen are all suitable. Just be sure the kernels are cooked/thawed/drained before proceeding.
- Red Onion – The crisp texture of this onion is preferred, but either white or yellow onions can also be used. If you dislike the texture of long slices of onion, try using leeks, green onions, or scallions.
- Ginger & Garlic – Either the minced or paste form of both of these can be used. Avoid powdered substituted – you will not get the same sharp flavor.
- Birds Eye Chile – This is an optional ingredient for extra heat.
- Dry Ingredients – In addition to many common Indian spices including ground cumin and turmeric and salt, we will also use:
- Besan Flour & Rice Flour – Besan can be substituted with regular white chickpea powder, if necessary. And, in a pinch, you can use all of one type of flour – but using both is what makes each corn fritter extra crispy!
- Kashmiri Powder – If unavailable, you can blend a substitute with ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika and ¼ teaspoon paprika.
- Garam Masala – Sweet, warm, and earthy. Purchase pre-blended or make your own at home!
- Ground Asafoetida – This is a sharp, onion-tasting and garlicky seasoning. Either garlic or onion powder can therefore be used as a decent substitute.
- Dried Curry Leaves – If using fresh herbs, chop them well. If using dried curry leaves then crush them finely.
HOW TO MAKE OUR CORN FRITTER RECIPE
1. Mash the Corn and Onion. Add the corn and red onion to a large bowl. Use your hands to squeeze the vegetables, mashing them down and releasing the juice. Mix well.
2. Add the Seasonings. Add the garlic, ginger, and chile. Mix together – a spatula will do for this and the following mixing.
3. Add the Dry Ingredients. Add the remaining dry ingredients and continue mixing until a very clumpy, still wet batter. If the batter is too loose then add a tablespoon of chickpea flour. If too dry, add a tablespoon of water.
4. Heat the Oil. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 300°F.
5. Fry. Use a ¼ cup scoop to spoon the corn fritter batter into the pan. Start with 4. Cook for 3 minutes per side until the batter crisps and turns golden brown. Transfer each corn pakoda to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain excess oil. Keep them in the oven at 250°F to keep warm until ready to serve.
What Nationality are Corn Fritters?
You can find them all over the world! The one that we in the U.S. are most accustomed to comes from the Southern states. Even before then, the original corn fritter was created by Native Americans.
This recipe is for an authentic Indian corn fritter. They have plenty of savory, spicy flavor to match the sweetness of the corn – I think you’ll find it’s much more balanced!
What is Fritter Batter Made Of?
It varies from recipe to recipe, as well as from region to region. Indian corn pakoda uses both besan and rice flour in the batter for a fluffy and crispy corn fritter. The Southern batter that we in the U.S. are more used to is usually just a combination of baking powder and all-purpose flour, in addition to any seasonings.
Corn pakora batter contains mainly spices and herbs, whereas Southern fritter batter has plenty of sugar to keep things rather sweet.
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!
Can You Reheat Corn Fritters?
Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, but fritters are always best fresh – that’s when they’re most crisp. However, leftovers can be warmed in the oven to bring back some of that crunchy texture.
This post, originally published on Silk Road Recipes July, 2021, was updated with new content, photos and/or video in April, 2023.
Crispy Corn Fritter (Indian Corn Pakora)
- 2 cups corn kernels cooked or thawed
- 1/2 medium red onion thinly sliced, 1/2 cup
- 1 tsp garlic minced or paste
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 Birds Eye Chile minced (optional, for more heat)
Dry Ingredients (mix in bowl)
- 1 1/2 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. Now add the garlic, ginger paste, and chile. MIx all together.
- 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 1/4 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.
- If you can’t get kashmiri red chili powder a good substitute = 3/4 tsp smoked paprika plus 1/4 cayenne powder.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.