Vegetable Pakora Recipe
Vegetable Pakora recipe made with mixed vegetables, spices, herbs and gram flour. Chai Pakora is a match made in the heaven & we love the crunchy pakora all-round the year, with our Chai. Chai Pakora is an emotion for the Indians! We treasure the moments spent with our near and dear ones enjoying those hot pakoras. Whether you are hungry mid-afternoon or guests arrive home unexpectedly or you meet a friend on the street, the first thing strikes to the mind is to enjoy the time with some pakora & a hot cup of chai.
In this post I share with you how to make the best crunchy vegetable pakora at home with step-by-step pictures.
Pakora are crispy fritters made with vegetables like onions, potatoes, gram flour, spices and herbs. Also known as pikora or pakura, it is a popular snack and street food from the Indian sub-continent. You will find many kinds of pakoras made in the homes, restaurants and street stalls.
Some popular ones are the Onion Pakoda, vegetable pakora, Cauliflower Pakoda, Cabbage Pakoda, Sweet Corn Pakoda and Chicken pakora.
There are mainly 2 kinds of pakoras, one is made with a batter and the other with a dough like these vegetable pakoras. When you want to make pakora with a sliced ingredient, like a slice of potato, eggplant, bread or paneer, we make the batter. These slices are dipped in the batter and straight away fried.
To make pakoras with fine cut ingredients like shredded veggies, thin slices of onions etc, we coat the ingredients with dry flour and mix to form a dough like pakora mixture. Small portions of this is deep fried until crisp, aromatic and golden.
Perfectly made pakora will fill your home with an invigorating aroma & am sure you won’t stop eating just a plate full of these! They are addictive & simply delicious!
Often a lot of people confuse pakora to be Indian style patties but they are not. Our patties are known as tikki and I have shared an Aloo Tikki Recipe here.
Pakoras are light fritters, not dense & are not shaped anytime. Small portions of dough is gently left into the hot oil which forms asymmetrical shaped fritters.
My Vegetable Pakora Recipe
My recipe is easy enough to make any time with left over veggies in your fridge. Also a few readers have successfully made these with store bought coleslaw mix. Here is what you need to make the recipe
Gram flour is not to be confused with chickpea flour. Gram flour is known as besan and these days it is either labelled as simply ‘gram flour’, ‘chana dal gram flour’ or ‘gram flour from kala chana’. Chickpea flour is made from white chickpea (garbanzo beans) also known as chana. But gram flour is made from skinned and split kala chana, which is nothing but chana dal.
In a pinch you may use chickpea flour but unfortunately it won’t give you the same flavor and taste as gram flour (besan). If you love pakora, I insist you source it from an Indian stores or from an Asian grocery stores. It is easily available. Also look for a fresher stock as old stock of lentil flours often taste bitter.
If you are allergic to gram flour, you may use wheat flour. But the texture will be very different.
Rice flour is more commonly used in South India for pakora. It gives a great crunch and helps to reduce the pakora from soaking up oil. The street side shops use cornstarch as the starch gives crispier vegetable pakoras. So feel free to substitute rice flour with corn starch. I also have a detailed recipe post to make a small batch of Rice Flour at home. You can also use yellow corn flour as a substitute.
Spices & herbs
Spices – Ajwain known as carom seeds are the main spice used in pakora. These help in digestion and also add a layer of flavor and heat to these fritters. You may simply skip them if they are not available. Garam Masala is a spice blend which is not commonly used but my vegetable pakora recipe uses it.
Herbs – In South Indian, curry leaves are abundantly available so a lot of people use them. They also help in digestion and impart a great aroma. In some North Indian pakora recipes, coriander leaves are added. However my mom always added mint leaves known as pudina. You are free to add what you like here.
Vegetables: For this recipe I use a mix of onions, cabbage, French beans, bell peppers & carrots. These are basically small portions of the left over veggies in the fridge during the weekend. Always use quick cook veggies here. Avoid veggies like potato or sweet potato as the cook time is different from the other veggies. I have experimented and they won’t cook well. If you want you can also add some leafy greens like spinach or methi.
How to Make Vegetable Pakora (Stepwise photos)
1. Wash the veggies thoroughly. I have used 1 cup shredded cabbage, 1 medium onion sliced, ¼ cup capsicum, 1 medium carrot, 4 to 5 french beans julienned. Make sure you remove or chop off the bean inside the french beans. They may burst while frying.
You can use other veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, bhindi, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brinjal etc. Make sure all the veggies are almost of uniform size, thin and long. This helps in even frying. You will need about 2.5 to 3 cups for this recipe
2. You can also add chopped spinach, methi, coriander, dill or pudina/ mint leaves. I used a handful of mint leaves, they add a great aroma. Also add 1 to 2 chopped green chilies, 1 teaspoon crushed ginger garlic or paste, ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala and half teaspoon salt.
3. Mix all these and squeeze the veggies a bit to let out moisture from them. The mixture begins to smell very good. Set aside for about 10 mins.
4. Add ½ cup gram flour (besan) , ½ teaspoon ajwain and ¼ cup rice flour or 2 to 3 tablespoons corn starch.
5. Mix everything well to make a dough. If the mixture is too dry, sprinkle little water. Make sure not to pour a lot of water. We want a stiff dough here. I did not use any water, moisture from veggies was sufficient to make a dough. Taste test and more salt, garam masala and green chilies if required. If you feel the dough has less flour, you can also add more flour and all other ingredients proportionately.
Fry Vegetable Pakora
6. Heat oil in a pan on a medium heat. Test by dropping a small portion of dough, it should sizzle and come up without turning brown. This indicates the right temperature, adjust the flame to medium. Take small portions of this dough to your fingers, slightly flatten to 1½ inch portions. Don’t shape them to patties. Drop in hot oil. I have a video of similar onion pakoda here. You may check that. You can alternately use a fork and a spoon to do this. Remember not to drop the dough in lumps, you will get lumpy, undercooked and soft pakoras. Do not disturb them for 1 to 2 mins, then stir and fry them.
7. Fry until lightly golden. Transfer to a steel rack, colander or kitchen tissue. Make sure the oil is hot enough but not smoking hot. This way fry the entire dough in batches until you finish the dough.
Serve vegetable pakora hot with Coriander Chutney, Mint Chutney or Green Chutney & Chai.
1. The key to making best crisp pakoras is not to add too much water while making the dough. Veggies tend to release moisture when set aside. So add accordingly.
2. Fry the vegetable pakoras on a medium flame until crisp. Too low flame with make the pakoras soak up lot of oil. Too high flame will brown the pakoras without cooking the dough well from inside.
3. Always taste the gram flour before using it as it has a very short shelf life. It tends to turn bitter with in a few months of processing it.
We usually enjoy our pakoras with a cup of hot masala chai. However most people love these green chutney or any hot sauce like this schezwan sauce.
Pakora Recipe | Vegetable Pakora
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- ½ cup besan (gram flour, more if needed)
- ¼ cup rice flour (or 2 tablespoons corn starch, use more if needed proportionally with besan)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 green chili peppers chopped or ½ to 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes (adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoons mint leaves or coriander leaves or dill leaves chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste or crushed ginger
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon garam masala powder (optional)
- ½ teaspoons carom seeds (ajwain, optional)
- oil for deep frying as needed
Mixed veggies julienned 2.5 to 3 cups
- 1 medium carrot (¾ cup julienned)
- ¼ cup capsicum (bell peppers)
- 1 cup cabbage (shredded)
- 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)
- 6 french beans (julienned)
- 1 cup spinach chopped (optional)
- Wash the veggies and cut to thin 2 inch long strips. Check the pictures in the post.
- Add them to a bowl along with ginger garlic, green chilies (or chilli flakes), salt, garam masala, mint or other herbs. Mix well & squeeze them gently to release moisture. Keep aside for 10 mins.
- Add the gram flour, rice flour (or corn starch) along with ajwain (optional). Mix well to a slightly sticky dough. If the dough is too dry, sprinkle a few tablespoons of water and mix. It must be of a sticky dough consistency and not batter consistency.
- Taste test and add more salt, garam masala or green chilies.
How to Make Pakora
- Heat oil in a deep pan on a medium heat. Test by dropping a small portion of dough, it must sizzle and come up but not brown. This is the right temperature.
- Take small portions of dough and flatten with your fingers to 1½ inch size portions and gently slide to the hot oil. You won't shape it or drop it in lumps.
- Regulate the flame to medium. Do not disturb for a minute or 2 until they firm up a bit. Then stir them and fry until golden, crisp and aromatic.
- Remove the vegetable pakoras to a cooling rack or steel colander. To make the next batch, ensure the oil is hot enough but not smoking hot. Fry in batches until you finish all of the prepared dough.
- Serve vegetable pakora hot with a cup of masala tea, Coriander chutney or green chutney.
- To keep them crispy for longer, place them on a wired rack in a low oven setting. You can also reheat them in air fryer.
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)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
Pakora Recipe first published in March 2016. Updated & Republished in May 2022.
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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Did as per recipe, with mint leaves. Simply amazing. Used tamarind sauce as dip, will make again!
Glad to know Arek. Thank you
Fabulous Pakora recipe. Tried it and my friends said they are the best.
Just what I was looking for!
I don’t have besan flour though. Is it ok to use channa dal and blend it into a paste?
I’m planning to make some onion, Brinjal and potato pakoras. Each one separately. But you say potato comes soggy. What if I fried or roasted it a bit first?
Yes you can soak the chana dal for 3 hours and grind to a thick and slightly coarse paste. Add some corn starch or rice flour so the pakoras turn out crisp. But you can make brinjal and potato not onion pakoras as they may turn out soft with batter. I have a potato pakora recipe here. You can use the same recipe for brinjal too. Hope this helps.
I particularly love how you let us know that gram flour is different from chickpea flour. Tried this recipe last night and they were gone under 10 mins. Thank you, good work!
These were amazing, just made and put on rack, gone in 10 min, do you have a recipe for chicken pakora? Made a few of your recipes, not been let down once x
Glad to know Janice.
Yes you can check the recipe here – Chicken pakora
Thanks Jose! Glad they turned out good.
I made this today after constant urging from a friend to cook this for her. I bought the besan flour online and it arrived today so I was really excited to make this dish. I got everything right until I had to fry the vegetable mixture. I formed my pakora into small elongated patties and upon reading the comments, I should have just grabbed a small pice and fried them until golden. Still, it came out great. The flavor is just right and the spices do not overpower the vegetables which I like. Will be making this again very soon.
Glad you like them Dan.
Thank you so much
Absolutely delicious. I didn’t have all the ingredients but went with what we had – some coleslaw mix, shredded carrots, onions, red bell peppers, zucchini, fresh basil, fresh ginger, garlic powder curry powder, cumin, red chili flake, salt and pepper. Chickpea flour and ap gluten free flour. Tiny bit of water. We dipped them in a lime, curry mayo. And couldn’t stop eating them – we were sorry when they were gone. We have celiac so are gluten free in our household. I also cook vegan when possible so this is a great dish. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you so much for sharing!
What a lovely idea! Glad to know they turned out good. Thank you so much
Wonderful recipe. Easy to make, and appreciated by several skeptical family members. Shaping the pakoras was easy once I figured out to press it into a large spoon, then use another spoon to push it off into the hot oil – this method kept the pakora together, even though the batter was very sparse, as it should be. I used leftover bags of shredded coleslaw and broccoli slaw, along with julienned onions and zuccini, and the result was delightful.
Thank you Kim
Glad the pakoras turned out good.
Great recipe. One lesson I learned that I think a lot of first timers to making pakora is, do not expect it be able to shaped like a patty. If you are able to shaped it into a patty then you have added too much flour. Expect it to be difficult to handle and just spoon it randomly into the hot oil. Don’t even try to shape it. Another tip is don’t worry about it sticking. They do not stick. Just keep spooning until the pan is full.
You have the best method – much better than making a batter then worrying if the veggies are to watery. Minimum batter, max veggies. It works great, and it’s foegiving if you make a mistake.
Swasthi,thank u always sharing your recipe I always copy your recipe every time I prepared for lunch and dinner to my boss..the like it so much especially my madam she is a vegetarian..
Glad to know the recipes are helpful!
Thanks for leaving a comment!
Just want to thank you for your amazing recipes online. I had tried and failed so many times with pakora, but these always turn out just perfect and I have had so many compliments from friends and family when I make them. Easy, no fuss, and an array of colour in the pakora with all those different vegetables. Perfect!
Thank you! Glad you like them
Thank you for the great recipe! Used a mix of cabbage, zucchini, onion and carrot because that is what was on hand. Easy and delicious, will definitely make these again.
Glad to know!
Thanks for leaving a comment.
Hi I just made this with potatoes, carrots, bell pepper, onion, poblano peppers, eggplant. It is over-the-top delicious so good. Thanks for the recipe!
You are welcome! Glad to know. Love the addition of potatoes. Thanks for leaving a comment
I would like to thank you for all these recipes that I’ve been religiously following, I’m from north east India and the food that we eat is quite different over there, my husband is from UP so I started learning how to cook from your recipes, any type of food and snacks, I learned everything from your recipes. Thank you so much.
I have one question – the measurements you use when you say “cup”, what type of cup is it? Is there a measurement cup that I can buy? How much ml is one cup?
Glad to know you!
You are most welcome! Yes You can find measuring cups in most supermarkets. I use both 240 ml & 250 ml cups for my cooking. Both are just fine. 1 cup is 240 or 250 ml. Any will do. You can look for the whole set – ¼,½ ,¾, 1 cup. Also get the measuring spoons – ¼,½ ,¾, 1 tablespoons & ¼,½ ,¾, 1 teaspoons. Hope this helps
Hi Swasthi, I normally eat the pakoras made by my wife. Today, I ventured into the kitchen, followed your recipe and got to impress my wife with my maiden effort! Thank u, I used red bell pepper, onion, carrot and cabbage and it was awesome!
Glad to know!
wow Swasthi ..i made it today ..It was very easy and tasted awesome..thanks a ton .my fly adored it..grt evening
Glad to know
Like you said I used same recipe in air fryer. It worked well. I put it in air fryer for 9 minutes at 390 degrees F. I flipped them in middle. Oil must taste better but This was good healthy version. Thanks a lot for recipe and your feed back:)
Glad to know they turned out good. Yes I feel there is a huge difference in taste.
I wonder if I placed parchment paper in the air fryer. Spray oil .place pakora on it and spray oil on it again. Is it possible to make it.
No rush for answer….
You can do it without the parchment paper. The same recipe works.
I made this tonight! It was excellent. I followed the recipe and it was easy and I had perfect results! The family was eating them before I could get them to the table!
Thank you for your great recipe!
You are welcome! Glad your family loved the pakoras. Thank you so much!
Amazingly crispy and delicious!
Thank you for this recipe, Swasthi. I miss onion bhajis from the UK and living in the US we haven’t found anywhere that does them well, mostly too cakey. We found a local Southern Indian restaurant which makes delicious onion and chilli pakoras that look just like yours, so I am very excited to find your recipe and make our own.
You are welcome. Too much flour and even more moisture can make the pakoras cakey. Hope you enjoy making them!