Onion Pakoras

Onion Pakoras
©ShulieMadnick

This Indian onion bajjia (pakoras/pakodas) is my mom's recipe.

Pakoras are Indian street food. We also had pakoras at home, growing up for a snack. Since I  started making these onion pakoras for Chanukah, I can't go back to plain ole' latkes.

Author's Notes:

1. Chickpea flour can be found in Indian grocery stores, many supermarkets, and online.

2. I usually work with my hands, but you can also use a tablespoon to scoop the batter and gently drops it into the hot oil. 

3. My mom makes the pakoras with 1 whisked egg, but many don't add an egg to the pakoras, which keeps it not only gluten-free but also vegan. 

4. Pakoras are traditionally deep-fried, but you can shallow fry the pakoras. You can use less than a cup of oil for the shallow frying. 

5. You can seed the green chilis/jalapeños if you wish for less heat. 

6. You can dice the onions instead of slicing and interchange some of the onions with different vegetables, like potatoes, spinach, parsnips, and some of your favorite veggies. You can get creative with the pakoras. Though always have an onion in the mix. 

7. Many add with garam masala or another masala (spice mix), grated fresh ginger, but I am a die-hard for my mom's recipe minus the egg. With that being said, there's no wrong. Add ginger if you wish and adjust spices and vegetables to your taste.

8. You can add less water, or no water at all, if you let the onions sit in the batter and release moisture. You can mix the onions in the batter or massage them to accelerate the release of moisture from the onions. 

9. Transferring the pakoras into a cooling rack will maintain their crispiness. Moving to a paper-towel-lined plate will make the bottom of the pakora soggy. 

10. Number of pakoras depends on size of the onions and the size of the scoop of the pakora batter.

Onion Pakoras

Makes about 20-25 pakoras

Ingredients:

4 medium white onions (approx. 1.4 - 1.5 lbs), peeled, halved, and sliced thin
1-2 green green bird's eye chili, Thai chilis, serrano or jalapeños, stemmed, halved lengthwise and sliced thin into half moons
1/2 - 1/3 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 1/2 - 2 cups chickpea flour (also known as gram or besan flour)
1/2 - 3/4 cup water, or as needed to make a thick batter
1 egg, whisked (optional)
1/2- 3/4  teaspoon salt, or according to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 - 1/3 teaspoon cumin
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper or cayenne
1 cup vegetable oil for shallow frying  plus more for replenishing the oil)

Directions:

Heat up the oil on medium/high heat. 

Sift flour (optional) into a bowl.

In a large bowl, add the chickpea flour, turmeric, cumin, red pepper, salt, and mix. Slowly add water and mix until a thick batter is achieved. Add the whisked egg, if desired, and mix. Add the sliced onions, cilantro, and jalapeños to the batter and mix until batter mixture coats the onions well.

Tablespoon a small portion of the onion pakora batter into the oil to test it. If it sizzles, the oil is ready for frying (350F - 375F). Adjust/lower the heat if necessary so the pakora won't golden too quickly from the outside and remain uncooked from the inside. Tablespoon several pakoras into the hot oil and fry for approximately 2 - 3 minutes on each side till deep golden. With a heat resistant, slotted spatula remove from the frying pan into a cooling rack or a paper towel-lined plate. Serve hot with chutneys or on its own.

Can be re-heated in a pre-heated 350F oven for 10 minutes. 

Links to Chutneys:

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