Cauliflower pakoda also known as gobi pakora are crunchy and delicious Indian fritters made with cauliflower florets, gram flour, spices and herbs. These are addictive and make for a great party appetizer and a tea-time snack. Cauliflower pakoda are made much the same way as onion pakodas. These turn out so flavorful that your entire home will be filled with an exciting aroma.
Like any other fritters these gobi pakora are best served hot with or without any side. Honestly these don’t need anything on the side but for many Indians chai-pakora are inseparable so a cup of masala chai will be great with these cauliflower pakoda.
These are a great alternate to the gobi Manchurian or the chilli gobi if you are trying to avoid those store bought bottled sauces. So these are similar to the South Indian gobi 65 but are vegan as no yogurt is used here.
To make these, cauliflower florets are coated with dry ingredients and some water is splashed so they bind with the gobi. Then these florets are deep fried. They can also be baked in an oven or air fried. I have also included the instructions below.
Ginger garlic, curry leaves, garam masala and ajwain (carom seeds) are used for the flavors. If you do not have fresh ginger garlic, use garlic and ginger powder. Substitute curry leaves with mint leaves. There is no substitute for ajwain.
I have used gram flour and rice flour in this recipe. Rice flour makes these cauliflower pakoda crispy. If you do not have then you may use corn starch (white cornflour) as a substitute.
There is no substitute for gram flour and it imparts a great aroma to these fritters. However these can be made with wheat flour or all-purpose too but the flavour will be different.
Preparation for gobi pakora
1. Heat 4 cups water in a pot. We don’t need boiling water here. It has to be just hot. Clean the cauliflower florets and add them to the hot water. Let them rest for 1 to 2 minutes. You can also add some rock salt and turmeric to get rid of the worms and pesticide residue. I used about 300 grams of cauliflower florets, about 3 heaped cups of florets.
2. Add them to a colander, rinse them well under running water. Drain them to a colander.
3. Wash curry leaves and chop or tear them. Cut green chilies, make a fine paste of ginger garlic. We need
- 2 sprigs of curry leaves
- 1¼ tsp ginger & garlic paste
- 1½ tsp of ajwain / vaamu (carom seeds)
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 1 tsp of very good garam masala. If you like you can also add little chaat masala or amchur powder. I haven’t used them.
4. Flour to use: ½ cup besan, ¼ cup rice flour. You can also substitute 2 tbsp rice flour with 2 tbsp of corn flour. I have not used corn flour here. Mix together the flours with salt and generous pinch of hing (optional).
How to make cauliflower pakoda
5. Firstly sprinkle garam masala, chilli powder and ajwain all over evenly. Also add garlic ginger paste, curry leaves and green chilies. You can also use 1 coarsely crushed onion if you like.
6. Mix everything well. Cauliflower will begin to smell very good.
7. Sprinkle the salted flour mix evenly.
8. Sprinkle 2 to 4 tbsps water, only as needed. Do not pour as we are not making a batter here. We just need to coat the gobi with flours.
9. Mix everything well to get a mixture like you see in the picture. Flour must coat the gobi well without any drippings. Adding more water at this stage may make the pakoda very oily and the frying time will increase. You can also add more flour at this stage if you feel there is not enough coating. Taste test and add more salt if needed. Mix well.
Frying gobi pakoda
10. Heat oil in a kadai on a medium heat. When the oil is hot, drop a small portion of the batter to check if the oil is hot. If the oil is hot enough, the dough rises after few seconds. Do not heat the oil until smoky hot.
11. Gently drop each cauliflower floret separately to the hot oil. The oil will begin to bubble a lot as the florets are dropped. Adjust the flame as needed. Make sure it is medium and not high. Do not stir them for 1 to 2 mins.
12. Later keep stirring in between to fry them evenly. When the cauliflower is fried well, bubbles reduce on their own. This is the right time to get them out of the oil. Also they turn golden & crisp.
13. Remove them to a steel colander.
Serve cauliflower pakoda hot with a cup of tea or coffee.
To bake & air fry
Preheat air fryer to 180 C or 350 F. Arrange them on a parchment paper or greased foil, lined over a tray. Place them in the air fryer. Air fry for 10 to 12 mins depending on the size of your florets. Gently toss them and air fry for another 2 to 3 mins until crisp. Adjust the time as needed.
To bake in oven preheat the oven to 240 C, bake them for 18 to 20 minutes. After 15 minutes check them and shake gently. Avoid touching them if they are still moist. Gently using a wooden spatula mix them and bake the cauliflower pakoras until golden and crisp.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 300 to 350 grams cauliflower (3 heaped cups florets)
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 2 green chilies (adjust as needed)
- 1¼ teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 1½ teaspoon ajwain / carom seeds/ vaamu
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ cup besan (gram flour)
- ¼ cup rice flour (or 2 tbsp rice flour + 2 tbsp corn flour)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric (optional)
- water as needed to sprinkle
- oil for frying, as needed
- Separate the florets from cauliflower. Do not chop them to small florets. (check the pictures in the step-by-step guide)
- Heat 4 cups of water in a pot until hot (not boiling). Add the cauliflower florets and sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt. You may also add turmeric to the water. This step is done to bring out the worms if any in the florets.
- Leave them for a minute or 2 and then drain the water. Rinse them thoroughly. Drain to a colander.
- Transfer them to a mixing bowl. Add ginger garlic paste, chopped curry leaves & green chilies. Sprinkle chili powder, carom seeds and garam masala all over. Mix them well.
- Sprinkle gram flour, rice flour and salt all over evenly. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tbsps water and begin to coat the gobi well with all the dry ingredients.
- Keep splashing more water as needed and mix until all of the flour coats the cauliflower well. It should resemble a wet marinade. (check pictures above)
- Taste test the batter and add more salt if needed.
Frying cauliflower pakoda
- Heat oil in a deep pan for frying until hot enough.
- To check if the oil is ready to fry, Drop a small portion of batter to the hot oil. The batter should rise if the oil is hot enough.
- Regulate the heat to medium. Gently drop each floret separately in the hot oil. Do not crowd a lot of them as they will get stuck and won't fry well.
- Do not stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Then use a perforated ladle and stir them gently. Fry until golden & crisp on a medium heat.
- The bubbles in the oil will reduce when the florets are fried well.
- Remove them to a steel colander. Serve cauliflower pakoda hot with a cup of hot tea or coffee.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
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I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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