Pyaaz Pakoras | Onion Bhajis

The Pakora… it’s as much of a favourite in restaurants, as it is at home. It’s so versatile – a great starter, a spicy canapé, a party nibble… but for me, as it is for most of my family, the pakora is the perfect comfort food. It belongs in the same class as the “onesie”, hot chocolate and mince pies! So it’s not a surprise that this recipe is such a favourite at my cookery classes.

You can make a pakora from basically anything – it’s an excellent way to recycle your left over veggies (and use up pesky things like broccoli stalks!). Crispy on the outside, steaming hot, spicy and fluffy on the inside – onion pakoras (or to be authentic… “pyaaz pakoras”) are my absolute favourite when I’m cold and in need of an internal hug.

So if you need an alternative for your mince pie this winter… try this – you will not regret it.


Pyaaz Pakoras | Onion Bhajis
Serves 4
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  1. 1 onion, thinly sliced (paper thin long slices)
  2. 1 small potato, peeled and very finely diced
  3. 1 birds eye green chilli, finely chopped
  4. 1⁄2 tsp salt or according to taste
  5. 2 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely crushed in a pestle & morta
  6. 1⁄2 tsp paprika
  7. 1⁄4 tsp turmeric
  8. Handful fresh coriander, finely chopped
  9. 1 measuring cup of gram flour
  10. Water to bind
  11. Sunflower/vegetable oil for deep frying
  1. Place all ingredients apart from the gram flour, water and oil into a bowl. Mix well so everything is incorporated. Now add in the gram flour and mix well.
  2. Gradually add enough water to bind the vegetables with the gram flour. You should be able to form clumps of the mixture with your hand/a spoon. If you find the mixture is not clumping - add more gram flour. Taste the mixture and adjust salt/chilli accordingly.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan (a small wok works best for this & you will need about 3-4" oil). Once the oil is hot, carefully place clusters of the pakora mixture into the hot oil (if you're confident, you can use your hands to do this or to feel more comfortable, use a tablespoon).
  4. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry on medium heat until the pakoras are golden-brown all over. It should take about 3-5 minutes. Drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the remainder of the pakora mixture.
  1. To test the temperature of the oil, place a little cluster of the batter into the oil. It should take about 5-6 seconds to rise to the top of the pan. If it comes straight up, it is too hot. Take the oil off he heat and allow to cool. If it stays at the bottom, continue to heat the oil.
  2. You may need to adjust the temperature of your pan as you begin to fry the pakoras as the temperature of the oil will drop. As a general rule it should take 3-5 minutes to ensure they are golden and cooked all the way through.
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog






Spicy Vegetable Pakoras

Last month John Lewis got in touch to invite me to submit a recipe for their Delicious Magazine Hotpoint fridge competition. This competition is now live. I was asked to create a quick and easy recipe that can be made using ingredients and leftovers often found at the back of the fridge.

I came up with a recipe that’s a great way to use up leftover vegetables. It’s a simple recipe and makes a filling and delicious snack that tastes great with fresh, home made chutneys or as a side dish without being too heavy. In India, pakoras are particularly relished during the monsoon season with a hot cup of fragrant, cardamom chai. Living in Manchester, we’re lucky enough to experience a prolonged year round monsooon season, so I regularly indulge in making this appetising snack! This recipe is customisable and works well with whatever vegetables you may have leftover in your fridge…

Makes approx 20 pakoras

What we need:

120g gram flour (ground chickpea flour)
100g of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 small potatoes, diced
1/2 carrot, diced
1 Green birds-eye chilli, finely chopped
1-2 tsp salt (or according to taste)
1 tsp Paprika powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Garam masala powder
1 tsp Whole coriander seeds
Handful fresh coriander, chopped
Oil for frying

How we do:

  • Combine all of the vegetables with all of the spices & herbs in a large mixing bowl.
  •  Add the gram flour and gradually begin to sprinkle on the water until the mixture begins to bind together. Make sure the mixture does not become too wet-the vegetables should be evenly coated yet visible.
  • Tip: Make sure to sprinkle the water rather than pouring it into the batter to bind the ingredients together – this will ensure your pakoras are crispy and light.
  • Heat 10cms oil in a medium-sized deep frying pan or a small wok on medium heat. To check if the oil is hot enough, place one drop of batter into the oil. The batter should rise to the top but should not change colour immediately.
  • Fry small spoonfuls or clusters of the pakora mixtures in batches of 4-6 at a time for about 3-5 minutes until they are golden brown in colour.
  • Remove the pakoras from the oil with a slotted spoon. Drain off excess oil and place on paper towels. Serve hot with green coriander chutney or sweet tamarind sauce.


    To view John Lewis’ range of cookware products and fridges, check out their website here.