Onion Fritters | Pakoras | Pakoda | Pakavada

Pakoras or pakodas or what my family calls - Ulli vada is deep-fried onion fritters, a snack that every Indian family will make during monsoon or whenever they have guests who show up without any notice. Onion fritters are best served best with hot masala chai and laughter and chit chat. There is never enough of pakoras and so the worst sibling fights occur when this is served on one plate. :-)

Onion Fritters | Pakoras | Pakoda | Pakavada

Yesterday was a series of flop cooking starting with breakfast. I then tried doing a makeover of the breakfast for lunch but once again a flop. So I quit cooking and we were too lazy to step out. Don't ask me what I tried it is a long story and is totally worthless as I ended wasting food and burning my vessel to black. 

To make things a little better, I resorted to deep-frying happiness that never lets me down. It was time to make the simple and humble onion fritters for tea time which I am sure F will enjoy and I can go to sleep with a peaceful state of mind for doing at least one thing right. Not a single crumb of the onion fritters was left as they were so crispy and addictive...

Onion Fritters | Pakoras | Pakoda | Pakavada

Like most of the Indian snacks, onion fritters recipe too differ in each region and every family have their own way. Some like it with very loose batter almost like water, some make it like balls, some prepare without any shapes, some add cashews, some add mint leaves, and some add cornflour instead of rice flour, some add chaat masala etc. So there is absolutely no end for variations but everyone loves crispy onion pakodas! 

How to make crispy onion fritters?

The best tip is to avoid adding too much water. I will list a few tips that will help you to get crispy onion fritters!

Prep the onions: Make sure to slice them thin uniformly. The uneven thickness will not fry evenly leaving some soft spots in the fritters. 

Flour: I always use a mix of gram flour and rice flour. I never liked the cornflour version as they don't stay crispy for too long. If you have to use cornflour, then make sure to eat immediately. 

Oil temperature: This is a crucial factor as if the oil is not hot enough then the fritters will soak up oil making it very oily and soft. If the oil is too hot, then the onions will get fried faster leaving the flour undercooked and again a soft fritter! So fry on a medium flame and adjust the heat when you notice the oil is getting too hot and increase when it starts to cool down. You will know this when you drop a small piece of dough and while frying batches. It all depends on your burner and kadai bottom thickness etc. 

I have to say that while munching on these whole onion pakoras, it reminded me of Maddur vada that I used to relish from eateries in Bangalore. I have to make them soon.

Yields just enough for two

Onion Fritters | Pakoras | Pakodas

INGREDIENTS

Dry items:
1/2 cup chickpea flour (Besan)
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds or ajwain or fennel seeds
a pinch of baking soda
Salt to taste

Chopped Veggies:
1 onion thinly sliced in a crescent shape
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 to 3 green chillies, finely chopped
a fistful of chopped coriander leaves, chopped
a sprig of curry leaves, chopped 
1 tablespoon hot oil 
Water as required (a few tablespoons) A tight dough that you can shape with wet hands 

Oil to deep fry

METHOD

Prepare the dough:
  1. Add all the dry items in a big bowl and whisk to combine uniformly 
  2. Toss the chopped onions with your hands to separate each ring and add them to the flour mix
  3. Add rest of the chopped veggie ingredients 
  4. Combine the mixture by squeezing the onions and flour using hand and keep aside for 10 minutes. Onions will release moisture that will enhance the taste and you won't need a lot of water.
  5. Heat enough oil to deep fry 
  6. Spoon out a tablespoon of hot oil from the kadai and add to the dough mixture 
  7. Add a few tablespoons of water just enough to wet all of the dry flour and knead until tight and sticky (the batter should be just wet and thick enough to hold shape) 
Deep fry the onion fritter:
  1. Do a sample test by frying a tiny piece to determine the oil temperature and adjust the salt and spices if required 
  2. Wet your hand and use fingers to pinch a little dough and  then drop into the hot oil 
  3. Fry them until done turning sides (remember, nothing is cooked prior so it has to be fried in a medium flame until it is cooked inside) Also, remember onions tend to cook further even when out of the oil, so keeping it too long will make it too dark and bitter. 
  4. Use a slotted spoon to collect, drain and place the fried onion fritters on a kitchen tissue
  5. Serve with a hot cup of chai
Onion Fritters | Pakoras | Pakoda | Pakavada

While still here, do check my other fritter recipes:

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