Fish Pakora

Fish Pakora

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Marinate Time: 60 mins
Total: 71 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
478 Calories
31g Fat
31g Carbs
24g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 478
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 2g 12%
Cholesterol 42mg 14%
Sodium 275mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 31g 11%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 24g
Vitamin C 76mg 378%
Calcium 70mg 5%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 652mg 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.)

Pakoras are a favorite deep-fried snack food in India and usually made with vegetables, but nothing should stop you from experimenting with meats, chicken, and fish, as in this recipe. Pakoras are made by dipping the ingredient in a seasoned gram flour batter and then frying until crispy. Every region has its variation of pakora batter, and this recipe reflects the flavors of northern India.

These pakoras include carom, or ajwain, an herb made up of leaves and fruit (often referred to as seeds). Although it smells almost exactly like thyme, it tastes similar to oregano and anise. The carom "seeds" are a lovely counter to the flavors of the fish. And because the batter uses gram flour, the recipe is gluten free.

Serve the fish pakoras with lemon wedges and mint-coriander chutney. They are a terrific appetizer for your next party, but you don't need a planned event as a reason to make a batch—try them as a unique "movie night" snack or even as a rainy or cold day treat.


  • 1 1/2 cups Bengal gram flour

  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste

  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon carom or ajwain seeds

  • 1 teaspoon Indian chili powder, optional

  • 1 dash salt, or to taste

  • 2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

  • Water, as needed

  • 1 pound firm white fish fillets such as cod, pin bones removed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

  • Neutral oil, for frying

  • Lemon and lime wedges, for serving

  • Mint coriander chutney, for serving, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Fish Pakora ingredients

    The Spruce Eats / Ahlam Raffii

  2. In a large, deep, nonmetallic bowl, mix together the Bengal gram flour, ginger and garlic pastes, turmeric, coriander, cumin, carom seeds, red chili powder (if using), salt to taste, and lime or lemon juice. Mix well to form a thick batter, like that of pancakes. If it is too thick, add water a teaspoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

    Fish Pakora batter in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Ahlam Raffii

  3. Gently fold the fish into the batter, making sure to coat each piece well. Allow to marinate for 1 hour.

    Fish and batter in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Ahlam Raffii

  4. In a wide, flat pan, heat enough oil to deep-fry the fish. To check if the oil is hot enough, drop in a 1/4 teaspoon of batter; the oil should sizzle, and the batter ball should rise quickly to the top.

    Oil in a pot

    The Spruce Eats / Ahlam Raffii

  5. When the oil is hot enough, drop in a few pieces of battered fish. Do not overcrowd the pan, as the pakoras will stick together. Fry until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Use a slotted spoon to turn over fish pieces.

    Fish frying in a pot of oil

    The Spruce Eats / Ahlam Raffii

  6. When done, gently remove the fish from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

    Fish Pakora on a paper-towel-lined plate

    The Spruce Eats / Ahlam Raffii

  7. Serve while still piping hot, arranged on a platter. Squeeze lemon juice over the pieces just before serving and garnish with lime wedges. You can also serve with​ ​​mint-coriander chutney for some extra zing.

    Fish Pakora on a plate, served with sauce

    The Spruce Eats / Ahlam Raffii

Recipe Variation

Instead of adding water to the batter, you can use club soda. The carbonation will add lightness to the batter, making the fish even crispier.

What is Indian chili powder?

A staple in Indian cuisine, red chili powder is a way to add spice to various dishes. It comes in different varieties and is available online or in Indian markets.

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