Healthy Pan-Fried Pakora + Simple Green Chutney
I present to you my healthy spin on the traditionally deep fried Pakistani and Indian pakora (onion and potato fritter)! These naturally gluten-free and vegan pakoras are an ideal snack with chai on rainy afternoons. I’ve also included a simple green chutney recipe!
“These came together so quickly, and the flavors were on point. They were perfectly crispy and airy. Thank you Izzah, my iftar tonight was a real treat!”Zainab
We are deep into fall in our household. The fireplace is always on. Pumpkin has been given due respect. And I’m kind of craving this flavor called ‘chatpata’.
It’s this hot and sour, tangy, subtly sweet flavor that is prevalent in South Asian snacks. It’s especially celebrated during Ramadan, when a typical ‘iftar’ is incomplete without fruit chaat, chana chaat, or pakoras sprinkled with chaat masala. I’m not sure why our taste buds need that chaat shock after resting all day, but it’s tradition so I’d like to keep some semblance of it.
Pan-Fried Pakora (A healthier take)
My ancestors and I seem to be in agreement over most foodstuff. Parathas, turmeric, jaggery…I find it all brimming with wisdom and innovation. But deep-frying – that’s a different story.
My understanding of health and (maybe more importantly) my fear of flying hot oil preclude me from deep-frying much.
At first, I tried baking these pakoras, but they didn’t have the same flavor and distinct crisp of regular pakoras. I found pan-frying with minimal oil to be the happy medium between baking and deep-frying.
This recipe is super adaptable. I’ve included some optional add-ins, but you can make it to suit your taste. Feel free to add thinly sliced cabbage, roughly chopped spinach, cauliflower, or other vegetables as well.
Simple Green Chutney
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup mint leaves (or sub more cilantro)
- 1/2 small Serrano or other green chili pepper to taste
- black salt (or sub regular salt) to taste
- 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt optional
If you try this recipe, please leave a review! Your comments and ratings support this blog, help me improve the recipes, and show others how they can adapt the recipe too. I also love seeing your creations when you tag me on Instagram. Thank you so much!
Pan-Fried Pakistani Pakora
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) russet potato, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and thinly sliced
- 1/2-1 small Serrano pepper or Thai green chili pepper, finely chopped (remove seeds for less spice)
- 1 -2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped (optional)
- ½ tbsp neutral oil, may omit but this makes them extra moist
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 – 1 ½ tsp whole coriander seeds, roughly crushed using a mortar and pestle
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp crushed red chili flakes
- 1 1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- scant 1 cup chickpea flour, gram flour/besan
- 2/3 – 3/4 cup water
- neutral oil such as grapeseed or avocado, as needed for pan frying
- 1/4 tsp whole carom seeds (ajwain), roughly crushed using a mortar and pestle
- ½ tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (methi), crushed between the palms of your hands
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder, for extra spice
- simple green chutney, optional – for serving
- Combine all the ingredients up until the chickpea flour in a bowl.
- In another bowl, add the chickpea flour and 2/3 cup water and stir to combine so that no large lumps remain (small lumps are okay). Add additional water if needed to have a pourable consistency. Pour this mixture into the vegetables and mix well.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add enough oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pan.
- Add the pakora mixture a heaped tablespoon at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the pan (I do 4 at a time). Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, adding oil as needed. Repeat until all pakoras are cooked.
- Place on a plate topped with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Serve with green chutney (recipe in the notes) and/or ketchup.
- To prepare the simple green chutney, add all ingredients in a spice/coffee grinder or blender and blend until smooth. Add water as needed to thin it out. Put the mixture in a bowl and whisk with yogurt, if desired.
14 Comments on “Healthy Pan-Fried Pakora + Simple Green Chutney”
Air fryer pakora recipe pleeeaaassseee!
I’ll add to the list! 🙂
Thank you Izzah! I’ve been looking for a Pakora recipe that doesn’t need deep frying. My old neighbours in Canada used to make these and I was feeling nostalgic. They used to patiently show me (their very awkward little anglo/German neighbour) how to cook the most amazing vegetarian meals. Pakora was always my favourite. Great recipe!!
It’s so wonderful to get introduced to cooking from around the world. I’m glad I was able to help you recreate them! Thank you for writing, Susanne!
Great recipe—the only change I made to the ingredients was that there wasn’t enough batter for my liking, so I increased the besan and water until the mix reached a texture I was happy with. I baked these in muffin and mini-muffin tins (very cute, but a pain to flip and they stuck despite my oiling the cavities), then used them in your kardi recipe. Worked really well!
I liked them so much, I’m going to make a double batch tomorrow for snacking. 😛
Oh, yum! That sounds delightful. Thank you so much for trying this & the Kadhi, Jasmine!
These came together so quickly, and the flavors were on point. They were perfectly crispy and airy. Thank you Izzah, my iftar tonight was a real treat!
Forgot to mention I used eggplant, and it could not have come out better!
So glad to hear that, Zainab! Thanks so much for trying and sharing your review!
My daughter and I just started a new diet definitely going to try these pakoras. Will appreciate any other low fat recipes thanks
You’re very welcome, Sharien! Thank you for the suggestion. I’ve taken note! 🙂
My daughter and I just started a diet so I’m definitely going to try these pakoras .will appreciate any other low fat recipe
Oh my these look delicious! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much, Fatema!! You’re welcome! Let me know if you try!