Who doesn’t love Pakoras? This is a popular snack in India at tea time, snack time or anytime. Pakoras are also known as Pakodas, Pakode and Bhajiyas in some parts of India and Bhajis if you’re from England. A typical and traditional Pakora that we’re going to make today is made very simply with a gram flour batter that I’m going to dip onion and potato slices in, but you can get fancier with chillies, spinach, cauliflower, bread and chutney, chicken and seafood – the varieties are endless! There’s a belief in India that when it pours, you should be cocooned indoors with a cup of hot tea and some crispy Pakoras or Bhajijas.
Because the ingredients are so basic, I always have these in my kitchen and whipping up a batch of Pakoras is one of the easiest things to do. I’m going to start with 1 cup Besan or Chana ka atta, also known as gram flour. This is used a lot in Indian cuisine and is gluten free. Bonus!
If you ask anyone that grew up in India what they like to do when they are caught at home on a rainy day, I can almost guarantee that they would say they’d like to be curled up with a cup of chai(tea) and garma garam(literal translation – hot) pakoras. Now they are likely referring to potato or onion slices that are dipped in a simple chick pea batter flavoured with whole and ground spices and herbs and deep fried. The pakoras are fritters are crispy and should be eaten immediately.
I’m making a popular twist on this recipe which has a blend of Indian Chinese ingredients called the Chicken Pakora. Pakora is an Indian term for a deep fried fritter but pairing it with Asian ingredients makes this recipe uniquely Indo Chinese. If you haven’t heard about Indian Chinese cusinine before, I’m here to tell you that it is simply the best. India is home to generations of Chinese immigrants that brought their wonderful cuisine with them. Over time with the influences of their new adopted country these flavours got bolder and incorporated ingredients not typically seen in regular Chinese menus. The recipe for Chicken or Shrimp Pakoras likely evolved over time and is a wonderful blend of the two cultures. Although the population in India is predominantly vegetarian, there are plenty of people that love their meat, chicken and fish to enjoy these delights!
I use boneless Chicken boneless thigh in this recipe and coat it in a wonderful batter before deep frying it till crunchy. You can use Chicken breast if you prefer. Bear in mind that thigh meat, although more succulent, does take a bit longer to cook.