Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Baked Pakoras

Pakoras are fried snacks made from Basen (gram flour) batter. You can use a variety of vegetables such as potato, onions, cauliflower or some of the leafy greens; dip them in batter and deep fry them until lightly golden and crisp. My Mom used to make super delicious Pakoras with water spinach (Ong Choy, Ga Zun Ywet). She did not use that many ingredients or spices but they still tasted really good. 

    “A book, a cup of hot steaming tea and some pakoras.........a perfect combination for a rainy day”
     -- Kawser Patel

Few days back, the weather was so gloomy and cold that I could not think of anything else other than eating hot Pakoras. The only drawback for me with Pakoras is the frying process but I found this baked version online which is a good compromise.  The difference between the fried and baked version is the batter consistency. The fried version has thinner pancake-like batter and baked version has a pretty thick, almost cookie dough-like batter. My Mother-in-law likes to spice up her Pakoras so I’m following that concept and spicing up these baked Pakoras but you can use as many or little variety of spices you like depending on what you have on hand and your taste.

Baked Pakoras

Serves: 2
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 cup besan (gram flour, chickpea flour)
2 tablespoons rice flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to taste)
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon ajwain/carom seeds (optional)
2 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves/methi leaves (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon ghee or melted butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup red onion – finely chopped
1 Serrano pepper or any green chili – finely chopped (adjust to taste)
1 tablespoon cilantro – finely chopped
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon water (plus more if required)
Oil spray

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat it with oil spray.
  2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients except water and mix with a spoon or rubber spatula. While stirring, add water little at a time just until all flour is wet without any dry patches. You should be able to scoop out with spoon on baking sheet.
  3. Drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto the prepared baking sheet spacing about 2 inches between each Pakoras.
  4. Bake the Pakoras for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden in color. Serve hot with Ketchup and Masala Chai.
Note: I used toaster oven in making these as it cooks much faster. If you’re using conventional oven, you might have to bake for a bit longer.

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