Mom’s Onion Pakoras (Indian Fritters)

Makes 20-24
Serves 4 to 6 (or 2 very hungry adults)
Total time:

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It’s amazing how we inherit recipes through family. My mother inherited this recipe for crispy onion pakoras through marriage. When she married my father, she learned how to cook Indian food and she’s very good at it. She can make a mean pakora and her chicken curry is out of this world. My mother learned this recipe from my aunt S. who is a phenomenal Indian home cook.

I prefer serving this ketchup chutney to serve with the pakoras, buy my grandmother loves eating pakoras with sriracha sauce, which is also lovely. I prefer the Shan brand of chaat masala, which can easily be found at an Indian/Pakistani grocery. If you can’t find chaat masala, a mixture of ketchup and sriracha sauce tastes just as great.


Ketchup Chutney:
½ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon water
½ tablespoon chaat masala
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt

2 cups (250g / 8.8 oz) Besan (also known as: Chickpea Flour or Gram Flour)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 green chili pepper, sliced
½ cup Cilantro leaves, chopped
1 yellow onion, sliced into 1/8-inch half moons

1 cup luke-warm water

Sunflower oil (or any neutral oil like vegetable, safflower, canola, etc.), for deep frying


Make the Chutney: Mix all of the chutney ingredients together in a bowl.

Make the Pakoras:
Fill an 8-inch cast-iron skillet half-way up with oil. Heat the oil to 360-375ºF.

In a large bowl, mix together the besan, red chili flakes, salt, baking powder, sliced chilli pepper, cilantro, and sliced onion.

Slowly add in the water, while mixing with a wooden spoon or your hands. Vigorously mix for a couple of seconds. The batter should be thick, almost like heavy (double) cream and there should be air bubbles throughout.

Once the oil is heated, carefully place in heaping tablespoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Try not to overcrowd the oil because it will result in greasy pakoras. Fry until the pakoras are a pecan-brown. Drain on a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet.

Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

Serve right away, and enjoy.