Pakora is a fried snack made of vegetables and gram flour, popular across South Asia. Pakoras are prepared by taking one or two ingredients such as onion, eggplant, potato, spinach, cauliflower, tomato, chilli, or occasionally bread or chicken and dipping them in a batter of chickpea flour and then deep-frying them. The most popular variants are made of onions (pyaz pakora), potatoes (aloo pakora), or cottage cheese (paneer pakora). The word pakoṛā has its roots in the Sanskrit word pakvavaṭa-,a compound of pakva 'cooked' and vaṭa 'a small lump'.
Commonly Used Ingredients and Method of Preparation of Pakora
Pakora recipe is simple and quick. For pakora recipe, the chickpea flour is sifted mixed with coriander, salt, turmeric, chili powder, garam masala and garlic in a medium bowl. Water is gradually poured into this, mixing it to make a thick, smooth batter. Now the cauliflower, onions or other vegetable pieces are mixed in the batter. Oil is then heated in heavy saucepan to190 degrees Cesius. The cauliflower and onions in the batter are taken in small amounts and, coated in batter, are gently dropped into the heated oil, and allowed to fry until golden brown, turning occasionally, so as to fry them well from all sides. When done, they are removed from the oil when done and placed on paper towels to absorb the oil before serving.
Pakoras are served as snacks or appetizers. They are best served hot with chutney or sauce, along with tea during tea time. They are specially preferred as a snack during the monsoon and winter season.
Types of Pakoras
Depending upon the ingredient used along with the gram four batter, pakoras can be of many kinds. A few popularly used ingredients include palak (spinach), paneer (cottage cheese), aloo (potato), onions, bread, green chillies and cauliflower.
Variants of Pakoras
Pakoras are known by different names in different places. Noon Bariya is another variant prepared with wheat flour, salt and tiny bits of potato or onion. It is popular in eastern Uttar Pradesh in India.
They are known as dhaltjies in Cape Malays of South Africa. They are eaten as an appetizer during Iftars, or at wedding, birthday and other celebrations.
Bajji is a South Indian version. To prepare potato bajji, a mixture of sliced potatoes, onions, green chillies and spices is mixed with gram flour, and deep fried. The name of the vegetable is suffixed before the word ‘bajji’ for each variant. These are very crispy on the outside and medium soft to crispy inside. Medhu Pakoda is another softer version..
Pakora is not considered a healthy snack due to high oil content on account of being deep fried. However, they are good sources of energy and nutritional elements as they contain vegetables and gram flour.