Pakoras With Coriander & Walnut Chutney

November  1, 2021
0 Ratings
Photo by Matt Inwood
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • makes about 20 pakoras
Author Notes

In India, snacks are a big part of our daily routines. Whether it’s grabbing a quick bite to eat on the go or a snack before the big evening meal, we’ll normally make our favorite snack foods in large quantities so that the whole family—and sometimes also the neighbors—can enjoy them.

Head to most parts of India and you’ll find street food vendors selling pakoras. The spiced, bite-sized bites are vegetables coated in spiced gram flour (also known as ​​besan, a type of chickpea flour) batter and deep-fried. They’re a classic Indian finger food, and one that reminds me hugely of my childhood: my mum used to make them for special occasions to share both as a family and with friends. They were my friends’ favorite snack, and they were always so happy when they came round on a day that my mum had made them.

One of the beautiful things about pakoras is that you can make them with all sorts of different vegetables. Eggplant, potato, spinach, plantain, onion, and cauliflower are all popular across different parts of India and beyond. When I had my restaurant, Romy’s Kitchen, the most popular variety was with elderflowers—in season here from May to June—which I served with a variety of chutneys.

If we had any leftover pakoras (it was rare, but it would sometimes happen!), Mum would use them to make kadhi. It’s a dish that’s made in different ways throughout India, but in Punjab, where I’m from, it’s made with yogurt, gram flour, and spices to form a broth, and the pakoras are added at the end.
Romy Gill MBE

What You'll Need
  • Pakoras
  • 175 grams chickpea flour
  • 150 grams cauliflower florets, diced roughly into ¼-inch chunks
  • 150 grams Russet potatoes (about one large), peeled and diced roughly into ¼-inch chunks
  • 75 grams kale chopped finely
  • 150 grams red onion (about one medium), peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 Thai green chillies, chopped
  • 10 grams ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table or fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • Sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
  • Coriander & Walnut Chutney
  • 35 grams cilantro, including stems, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 Thai chillies, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (from one large lemon)
  • 2 scallions, with greens, roughly chopped
  • 25 grams raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl, then add all of the ingredients except the water and oil. Mix the ingredients in the bowl, gently add 130 milliliters of water, and mix together with your fingers so everything is coated well. If the batter is very thick, add 10 ml extra water. If the vegetables aren’t sticking together, add a sprinkle of chickpea flour until you can make small clumps of the batter that stick together.
  2. Next, fill a large heavy-bottomed skillet halfway with oil and heat over a medium heat to 345 to 355ºF (175 to 180ºC). If you don’t have a thermometer, to check if it is hot enough, drop a tiny spoonful of the mixture into the oil. If it floats to the surface, the oil is ready—if it sinks to the bottom, it needs to be hotter.
  3. Make golfball-sized portions of the mixture, slightly flatten, and drop into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Fry in small batches—make sure not to overcrowd the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain the excess oil. Repeat until all of the mixture has been cooked. Serve hot with a cup of chai, plus chutney or ketchup.
  4. Make the chutney: Add all of the ingredients and 40 milliliters of water to a blender or food processor, blend until smooth and serve with the pakoras.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • hikesforcupcakes
  • Annie Slocum
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  • Charleen

3 Reviews

Annie S. November 3, 2021
An ingredient is missing-line 4 of the recipe!
hikesforcupcakes November 4, 2021
Think it's supposed to be 75 grams of kale!
Charleen November 5, 2021
Having absolutelyno idea myself, Why would you say Kale?