Indian pakoras are delicious fried fritters often served as a snack along with tea. Generally, they are made using a variety of vegetables but they can also be made using paneer (Indian cheese), fish or even chicken. Pakoras are enjoyed throughout India and have even become popular around the globe.
My Fish Pakoras are always a crowd pleaser especially among the kids. They are simple, easy and absolutely delicious. I often serve them as appetizers when entertaining. There are no hard and fast rules but commonly used fish include: cod, tilapia, salmon, snapper, flounder, grouper, mahi mahi, sole, haddock… any firm fish variety will work well.
Besan (chickpea flour or gram flour) and rice flour can easily be found in any Indian grocery store or market.
1 lb boneless/skinless fish fillets, cut into 1.5” pieces
Oil for deep frying (vegetable or peanut)
1 cup besan (Bengal gram or chickpea flour)
2 tbsp rice flour
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 tsp turmeric
˝ tsp ground cumin powder
˝ tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp red chili powder (to taste)
1 tbsp HOT oil
water as needed
lemon wedges for garnish
In a deep cast iron skillet or wok, heat the oil on medium high heat. There should be enough oil for deep frying, this will obviously depend on the size of the vessel.
To make the Batter:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the besan/chickpea flour with the spices (salt, turmeric, ground cumin powder, ground coriander powder and red chili powder). Next add the rice flour and milk. Stir well to combine and add the water very slowly. Mix to form a fairly smooth but thick batter. Now add 1 tbsp of the HOT oil to the batter and mix it in. This is the key to crispy and crunchy pakoras.
Then dip the fish pieces into the batter. Remove any excess batter and very carefully lower the batter coated fish into the hot oil. Reduce the heat to medium, also be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry on medium low, turning the fish just once. The fish should be golden on all sides and crispy. Remove and drain well on absorbent paper towels. Sprinkle with just a little salt while still warm. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve immediately with your favorite chutneys and sauces.