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 chicken, fish or even paneer (Indian cheese). Pakoras are enjoyed throughout India and have even become popular around the globe.
My Chicken Pakoras are always a crowd pleaser especially among the kids. They are simple, easy and absolutely delicious. I often serve them as appetizers or snacks especially when entertaining.
Besan (chickpea flour or gram flour) and rice flour can easily be found in any Indian grocery store or market.
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken pieces, cut into 1.5” pieces
1-2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp garam masala
2-3 large garlic cloves, rough chopped
1½” piece of ginger, peeled & rough chopped
¼ cup cilantro leaves
salt & pepper, to taste
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
½ smoked Spanish paprika
½ tsp ground cumin powder
1 tsp ground coriander powder
1 tsp red chili powder (to taste)
1 tbsp HOT oil
water as needed
lemon wedges for garnish
In a small blender or mini food processor, combine the yogurt with the garam masala, garlic, ginger, cilantro leaves, salt & pepper -- blend or puree into a thick paste. Now in a large mixing bowl, combine the chicken pieces with the aromatic yogurt marinade and mix well to combine. Then cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (the longer the better).
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, paprika, 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 chicken pieces into the batter. Remove any excess batter and very carefully lower the batter-coated chicken into the hot oil. Reduce the heat to medium, also be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry on medium low, turning the chicken just once. The chicken should be golden brown 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.