Indian Bhajias (Pakoras)

Bhajias (Pakoras) - Fried Indian Snack

The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
343 Calories
23g Fat
23g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 343
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 29%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 26mg 9%
Sodium 435mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 48mg 240%
Calcium 288mg 22%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 646mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A bhajia is any bite-sized vegetable that has been coated in a delicious gram flour batter and then deep-fried to perfection. Also known as pakoras, these bites are very common street food found all over the Indian subcontinent and in plenty of Indian menus around the world. Though the spices might vary from place to place, the general take on the dish is similar, even if its accompaniments can also vary. Chutneys and raitas are commonly served on the side, and the dish serves as a snack, but you can serve it as a side dish or appetizer. Potatoes, onions, spinach, and paneer are our chosen ingredients to dip in the batter, but anything goes with this batter: you can coat anything from mushrooms to pepper or eggplants. A tasty batter of gram flour, chili powder, asafoetida, turmeric, and thymol seeds is quickly mixed so you can coat your veggies and fry them. The dish takes about 40 minutes and should be eaten right away to enjoy the crispiness of the breading while it's still piping hot.

The ingredients for the recipe are easily found in any Indian market, but you can also buy them online. Gram flour, or besan, is flour made out of split brown chickpeas, or chana dal, and is not to be confused with chickpea flour, which is made out of standard chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Gram flour needs less liquid to become a batter than chickpea flour, but because they are both made out of chickpeas, though different types, people often use them interchangeably even though they aren't. They both taste a little bitter but the overall flavor is different. For true pakoras, you need gram flour. The other key ingredients are asafoetida, a spice known for its savory and oniony smell and taste, and thymol seeds, known for their herby thyme flavor.


For the Batter:

  • 1 cup Bengal gram flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder

  • 1 pinch asafoetida

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon thymol seeds, or carom seeds

  • Salt, to taste

For the Vegetables:

  • 1 head cauliflower

  • 1 medium red onion

  • 1 medium potato

  • 1 cup spinach

  • 6 to 8 ounces paneer

For Frying:

  • 2 to 3 cups vegetable oil, such as canola or sunflower oil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Bhajias (Pakoras) - Fried Indian Snack ingredients

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  2. Mix the gram flour and all the spices with a little water at a time in a bowl, to make a thick batter, slightly thicker than pancake batter. Add salt to taste.

    batter in a bowl

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  3. If using cauliflower, separate the florets into bite-sized pieces. The potatoes and onions should be thinly sliced. Trim the stems off of the spinach leaves. Cube the paneer into 1-inch cubes.

    bowl with spinach, bowl with paneer, bowl with vegetables

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  4. Preheat oil and reduce the flame to medium. This will allow the bhajias to cook well both on the outside and inside.

    pot with oil

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  5. Coat the vegetables well with batter, and then deep-fry till golden.

    battered vegetables frying in a pot with oil

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

  6. Drain on paper towels and serve with tamarind chutney or tomato ketchup.

    Bhajias (Pakoras) - Fried Indian Snack on a plate

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram