I’m not sure there’s a snack out there I’d choose over these crispy, crunchy, flavorful onion pakoras. Serve them with your favorite chutney and a cold cocktail or hot chai.
What is an Onion Pakora?
Think of onion pakora as an Indian onion ring. You add onions to a well-seasoned batter and then deep-fry until golden and crisp.
If you’re not familiar with pakoras, they are crispy, spiced fritters. You can make pakoras using almost any vegetable or bread or dal – basically, anything that you can coat in besan and deep-fry.
That said, you can’t use the same method for all different kinds of pakoras. For example, I recently shared a recipe for Aloo Pakora. You can’t just dunk onions in that batter and expect it to turn out perfectly. That’s because onions release water, and so you have to take that into account when making the batter for onion pakoras. Don’t worry – I’ve got your back and am sharing exact ingredient ratios/amounts in the recipe card below.
These onion pakoras are perfect with ketchup, Green Chutney, or my Tamarind Date Chutney (pictured below).
I love making fresh onion pakoras when we have close friends or family over. I’ll deep-fry pakoras and everyone will eat them while hot and crisp.
There’s nothing like eating a fresh pakora. The only thing better? Eating a fresh pakora while it’s raining outside. In Indian households, pakoras are a rainy day treat. ☔️ You’ll find many Indian families making crispy pakoras when it’s cold and soggy outside. Masala Chai with a plate of hot pakoras will warm you up from the inside.
Onion Pakora Ingredients
These Indian onion fritters are made with ingredients commonly found in Indian pantries. Once you get all of these ingredients, you can make pakoras anytime. They’re also vegan and naturally gluten-free, so most people can eat them. That makes this the perfect snack to serve any last-minute/surprise guests. Here’s what’s in them:
- Onions: Peel and thinly slice them. I suggest using small or medium-sized yellow onions to ensure the onion slices aren’t too long.
- Besan: besan is an Indian chickpea flour made from black chickpeas (not garbanzo). This type of flour is also known as gram flour.
- Rice Flour: I use Bob’s Red Mill rice flour. The addition of rice flour to the batter makes the pakora more crispy.
- Green chilli: use whatever you’d like. I typically use Indian green chillis, which you can find at your local Indian grocery store or Serrano peppers work too.
- Fine Sea Salt: I like using ground pink himalayan salt – you can find this at Costco.
- Other Spices: Ajwain, Amchoor, Cayenne, Black Pepper
- Oil: I like using avocado oil because it’s a neutal in flavor and works well with high heat.
How to Make Onion Pakoras
Peel and slice the onions. Separate the onions. Make sure the slices are nice and thin! Then, in a separate bowl, add the besan, rice flour, green chilli, spices and mix well. Add water, and mix well again.
Then add the onions and mix really well to coat the slices – you can mix with your hands or a fork. Let this sit for at least 10 minutes (you can heat the oil during this time – see next step). As it sits, the onions will release their own water, so once the 10 minutes are up, mix well again.
Heat oil in a deep, wide-bottomed pot such as a dutch oven, over medium-high to high heat. Once the oil reaches 360°F, or when a small drop of the mixture sizzles and floats to the top, the oil is ready.
I like to use a digital thermometer to get the frying temperature just right, but you can always test the oil by adding a bit of batter to it – if the batter sizzles and rises to the top, it’s ready.
Use your hands to carefully drop some batter into the oil (try to keep the onions together when you drop the batter in – you don’t want it to spread), wait for a minute or until slightly firm and golden, then flip the pakora and wait another minute to cook the other side.
Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon, and place on a paper towel to absorb any remaining oil. Then serve with chutney!
Tips for Making Pakoras:
- Make sure the oil is hot before you begin frying the pakoras. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the potatoes will end up absorbing a lot of oil.
- The temperature of the oil will fluctuate and is best when within the 360 to 380 range.
- Depending on the size of your pot, you may want to use more/less oil.
How to Store Pakoras:
Pakoras taste best fresh – while they’re hot and crispy. After a while, the crispy exterior will turn soft, and so while the flavor will remain, the texture will not. They’ll still taste good, but nothing compares to a freshly made pakora.
What to Serve with Pakoras:
Pakoras are the perfect tea-time snack. Serve with chai and chutney! Here are some ideas:
- Masala Chai
- Instant Pot Chai
- Tamarind Date Chutney
- Ketchup or Maggi Hot and Sweet Sauce
- Green Chutney
- Amchur Chutney
- Tamarind Chutney
- 1 pound yellow onions peeled and thinly sliced (use small or medium sized onions)
- 115 grams besan 1 cup
- 42 grams rice flour ¼ cup
- 1 Indian green chilli minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt I use ground pink himalayan salt
- 1 teaspoon ajwain
- 1 teaspoon amchoor
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 ounces water ½ cup
- Oil for frying approx 3 cups
- Peel and thinly slice the onions. Separate the onions.
- Add the besan, rice flour, green chilli, and spices to a bowl and mix well.
- Add water and mix well.
- Then add the onions and mix really well to coat the slices – you can mix with your hands or a fork. Let this sit for at least 10 minutes (you can heat the oil during this time – see next step). As it sits, the onions will release their own water, then mix well again.
- Heat oil in a deep, wide-bottomed pot such as a dutch oven, over medium high to high heat. Once the oil reaches 360°F, or when a small drop of the mixture sizzles and floats to the top, the oil is ready.
- Use your hands to carefully drop some batter into the oil (try to keep the onions together when you drop the batter in – you don’t want it to spread), wait for a minute or until slightly firm and golden, then flip the pakora and wait another minute to cook the other side. (The temperature of the oil will fluctuate and is best when within the 360 to 380 range).
- Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon, and place on a paper towel to absorb any remaining oil.
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