Winter Veg Pakoras- vegan, gluten free

Serve with a crisp salad and your favourite chutney/ dipping sauce
Deep- frying is not something that happens very often at all in our house- if we have any culinary vice, it's for sweet baked stuff like cakes and cookies rather than fried savouries. This said, though, we all enjoy a fried treat occasionally, and these pakoras were no exception. They popped into my head one afternoon when I was pondering on what to cook for dinner. Let me explain: dinner in our house is no longer an easy task, as me and my husband avoid dairy, the two teenagers love dairy (but hate quite a few types of vegetable), and the grown-up son is now dairy and wheat/ gluten (not sure exactly which yet) intolerant. Add to this the fact that my husband's digestion is delicate and he can't cope with pasta or anything too dry, and you have a very limited range of meals that will suit everyone. Even our former favourite, seitan, is out! (If any readers have suggestions for any dishes we could cook apart from vegetables, beans/ dal and rice, they would be very welcome- I'd love to hear about gluten-free pizza base...) Not wishing to cook 2 or 3 different dinners, I ended up making some brown rice and peas, the pakoras with a chutney, roasted almonds and a salad. (This variety ensured there was plenty left for tomorrow's packed lunches, too.) It was the flavour and texture of the parsnip pakoras that impressed me the most: crisp and a bit spicy on the outside, sweet and creamy on the inside. Parsnips seem to suit Indian flavours rather well. -But on to the recipe itself, which makes a really generous amount of pakoras (for about 6 people) with some batter left over:

A quantity of  seasonal vegetables (To give you an idea, I used 3 parsnips, a head of broccoli and 2 bell peppers- you could try pumpkin, sweet potato and Winter cauliflower too.)
300g gram flour (besan/ garbanzo)
2 tsps seasalt
1 tab turmeric (haldi)
1 tab powdered cumin (jeera)
1 level tsp chilli powder (or more if you like a spicier flavour, as the frying tends to kill it off)
1 tsp baking powder
550-600ml water
a suitable oil for deep-frying (such as rice bran oil)

  • Roughly chop the vegetables and steam until just softening -too squishy and your pakoras will fall to pieces :/ . Drain and cool thoroughly.
  • While you heat the cooking oil prepare the batter: Mix the gram flour, salt and spices in a large bowl.
  • Gradually whisk in the water- don't make it over thin; you may need to use a bit less than this recipe states. Don't make the batter too thick, either, as this results in stodgy pakoras that take ages to cook or else get brown on the outside but stay runny on the inside. (I speak from experience!) Your batter should be smooth, lump-free and just a bit thicker than double cream.
  • Lastly, stir in the baking powder.
  • Dip the cooked veggies in the batter and deep-fry in batches, placing the finished ones on a baking tray in the oven to keep warm. (They are crispest when eaten fresh from the frying pan, though.)
  • While you are doing this, you might want to have some chutney like this one bubbling away...
  • Serve as soon as possible with chutney and salad.


  1. Who does not like pakoras, crunchy and tasty!

  2. Yummilicious pakoras. Perfect with a cup of tea


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