Asian Food in Ocean City: Veg Pakora (2024)

Pakora is a type of fritter that originated from the Indian subcontinent. These fritters are commonly sold by street vendors and served in restaurants throughout South Asia. Pakoras are made by coating ingredients, such as vegetables (potatoes and onions are common choices), in seasoned gram flour batter and then deep-frying them.

It’s also known by other spellings, including pikora, pakoda, pakodi, and regional names such as bhaji, bhajiya, bora, ponako, and chop.

Source: RecipeTin Eats

History and Background

The word “pakoṛā” is derived from Sanskrit “पक्ववट pakvavaṭa” which is a combination of “pakva” (meaning “cooked”) and “vaṭa” (meaning “a small lump”) or its derivative “vaṭaka” meaning “a round cake made of pulse fried in oil or ghee.” The word “Bhajji” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Bharjita” which means “fried.”

It is important to note that there may be some differences in transliteration particularly in the third consonant in the word. In the Telugu language the sound is a hard “da” and the “ra” sound would be an incorrect pronunciation. The sound is the retroflex flap which is written in Hindi with the Devanagari letter ड़, and in Urdu with the letter ڑ.

Source: Boxed Halal

An early variation of pakora appears in Sanskrit literature and Tamil Sangam literature. However the recipe is not clearly provided as they only mention it as a round cake made of pulse fried in oil and crispy fried vegetables which were served as part of the meals. Early known recipes come from the Manasollasa (1130 CE) cookbook which mentions “Parika” (pakoda) and the method of preparing it with vegetables and gram flour. The Lokopakara (1025 CE) cookbook also mentions a unique pakora recipe where gram flour is pressed into fish-shaped moulds and fried in mustard oil.

Pakora Preparation

You can make pakoras with almost any vegetable suitable for cooking in fritter form. The common ingredients are onion, potato, and cauliflower, but you can also use other vegetables. Here’s a list of other vegetables that can be used.

Chickpea flour: also known as gram flour or besan is made from dried chickpeas and is a staple in Indian cooking. It has a nutty flavor and is denser than normal flour with better nutritional qualities.

Fenugreek powder: A common Indian/Subcontinental spice with a pungent and mysterious flavor. It’s available at stores with a decent range of spices and at Indian grocery stores.

Chilli powder: This is pure ground chillies, not to be confused with US ‘chili powder’ which is a spice mix.

Turmeric powder: Adds a beautifully warm, golden colour to the pakora.

Cumin, coriander and fresh ginger: Staple spices / aromatics in Indian cooking.

Fresh chilli: For their fruity flavour and a little warmth.

Potatoes: Any all-rounder or starchy potatoes work.

Onion: These add great sweet, savoury flavour to the fritters so I really do recommend keeping onions in.

It adds lovely texture to fritters as well as acting like a sponge that absorbs the spices in the pakora batter.

Coriander/cilantro: For a nice hint of freshness and colour in the pakoras.

Source: recipetineats

For preparing Pakoras first heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). While the oil is heating, dip cauliflower florets and onion rings in the batter to coat them. Working in small batches, fry the battered vegetables in the hot oil until they are golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Then, drain them on paper towels before serving.

Ideas for Serving and Storage

You can serve these pakoras with green chutney or sauce, such as those available at Indian grocery stores (the one shown in the picture is Maggi masala chilli sauce, which can be found online). It also pairs well with mint chutney or tamarind chutney. You can even offer it to kids with tomato ketchup.

Source: Sugar Spice & more

Leftover pakoras can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Place them in an airtight container lined with a paper towel as soon as they cool down, and refrigerate. Reheat them for 5-7 minutes in a preheated oven before serving. Take care not to let the pakoras brown.


A common and delectable snack in South Asian cooking are pakoras. Usually, they are prepared by deep-frying meat or veggies in a spiced flour batter made from chickpeas. Known for their delicious flavour and crispy texture, pakoras are frequently served with chutney or sauce for dipping. They are adaptable and can be made with other components like as spinach, potatoes, onions, or even paneer. Pakoras are a tasty treat valued for their savoury appeal and cultural importance, whether they are eaten as part of a meal or as street food.

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