Healthier Pan-Fried Pakora

Pan-Fried Pakistani Pakora

This is my healthier spin on the traditionally deep-fried Pakistani/Punjabi pakora (onion and potato fritter). These pakoras are an ideal snack, naturally gluten-free and vegetarian, and I've included a simple green chutney recipe to go with them!
Course Snack
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 small red or yellow onion or half large, thinly sliced into quarter moons
  • 1 small potato* or half large, peeled and thinly sliced into quarter moons
  • 1/2 Serrano pepper slit, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp cilantro leaves chopped
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves chopped (or sub more cilantro leaves)
  • ½ tbsp neutral oil may omit but this makes them extra moist
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 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 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

Optional add-ins:

  • 1/4 tsp whole carom seeds ajwain, roughly crushed using a mortar and pestle
  • ½ tbsp dry fenugreek leaves methi, crushed between the palms of your hands
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder for extra spice

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


  • 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. 


Be sure to slice the potatoes thin for faster cooking!
*For the chutney, you can also double the quantity of cilantro or mint and omit the other.