Saturday, November 14, 2015

Indian Cauliflower Pakora

Indian pakora is essentially a vegetable fritter. But without using flour, at all! Come here and see how these yummy fritters can also be pretty healthy!

Blog's Category: DK Challenges, Hors D'oeuvre, Indian, International, Snacks, Vegetarian


Indian pakora is Indian version of fritters, chunks of different variations of doughy vegetables, cooked in oil. But there is a wonderful detail behind pakora recipe - there is no dough! Actually, there is a batter made of chickpea (or garbanzo bean) flour called gram flour. As you know, chickpea is a legume and a great source of vegetable protein and generally, is a very nutrient-rich food. With onion, garlic and spices, added directly to a gram batter, and a piece of vegetable inside of fritter, you have yourself pretty nutritious food here. Forget that it is fried in an oil! With a rule number one - everything in moderation - these fritters are healthy option after all.

You can buy gram (chickpea) flour at any asian grocery store. Some whole food stores most likely have it also. All the rest is a matter of your creativity - you can add to a batter whatever seasoning or finely chopped vegetables you like. As a "core" of pakora, you can use practically anything - piece of vegetable, piece of meat or shrimp. But, before flying free, I suggest to make this traditional Indian pakora first :)

What is it?

Slice of raw cauliflower, dipped in chickpea flour based batter and fried in olive oil. Chopped onion, garlic and some Indian spices are added to a gram flour batter. Classic preparation calls for deep frying. I use about 1/2 inch of oil in my frying pan. As I know many Indian homecooks do just that.

Taste Description

Delicious! Cooked fritter is not just crispy on outside, it's crispy-hard, you can almost knock at it!. Inside it is soft, very flavorful, a little chewy. All that spices, onion and garlic make a wonderful combination of flavors. It has just faint hint of spiciness from a regular chili powder. If you like spicy food, you will definitely want to add some cayenne or fresh chopped chili to it. Or you can enjoy pakora with a spicy sauce! In a recipe below, I'm offering to you simple mayo-based sauce, which is spicy and a bit smoky.

How to Serve

Serve right off the stove, with a spicy mayo-base sauce (recipe below). Also, pakora is sensational with a dollop of plain sour cream on a side, or any yogurt based sauce. Dairy sauce for pacora is really good if you decide to make your pakora spicy, adding some cayenne to a batter ;)

Pakora, cooled down, is yummy also. It will keep in a fridge nicely as well - it won't be crispy next day but still will be pretty tasty. In this case I would recommend to eat it as is, cold, or place it in a toaster-oven for a five minutes - it will regain its crispiness. 


- As I mentioned above, there is so many variations for pakora - different herbs, spices, vegetables, meats and seafood additions! Be creative, but only after trying this traditional version - learning first, creativity comes after :)

- Sometimes ghee (clarified butter) is used for frying pakoras. Next time I'll try to use it and will post results. I think, it should be pretty cool.

Indian Cauliflower Pakora

For a family size platter with a pile of pakoras:
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut in medium florets, which then cut in half
  • 2 cups of gram (chickpeas) flour
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground or crushed coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder (mild, the kind you would use for your chili)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala (or cumin powder)
  • 1.5 cup tap water
  • flavorless frying oil (I used light olive oil)
  • 4 tbs mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs sriracha (hot chili sauce)
  • 1 tbs ketsup manis (or any smoky sauce such as BBQ)

- In an extra-large bowl, using your hands, mix, rubbing, all ingredients together, except cauliflower, water and oil.

- Mix in water to create thick but still slow-runny batter.

- Add all cauliflower pieces into the batter and mix, turning over, to coat all pieces in batter.

- Fry in a pre-heated frying pan, 1/2 inch filled with oil, on a medium, medium-low heat, spooning pieces of battered cauliflower on a hot pan, and then flipping them over. Combine small pieces together if you wish, or fry them separately.

- Enjoy!



Chickpea flour has such a beautiful creamy hue...

Don't skimp on onion, trust me, you'll be wanting more onion in your bite :) I used red onion, but any kind of onion is acceptable.

It's plain tap water. It's cloudy just because I'm lazy to wash measuring cup after I use it for gram flour... should I? 

It's therapeutic to feel this batter under your fingers, right? 

Do not hesitate, just throw all together and mix.

Frying is my least favorite process..What I liked about frying these pakoras - there was almost no splattering of oil around. Probably because cauliflower is not particularly juicy vegetable and other, such as onion, is enclosed in a batter!

For convenience, I suggested (above) to cut florets in half just to have fairly flat pieces. Anyway, some pyramid-shaped pieces needed third side frying...

Crispy-hard..knock, knock.. who's there? pakora :)

Pakora piece, cut in half. Remember - no flour! It's all chickpeas!

Blog-checking lines: Vimala was our host for the November daring cooks challenge and she invited us to try our hands at some Indian snacks and treats

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