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East Indian Vegetable Fritters

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I’ve been making this exact recipe for deep fried Vegetable Fritters for years. I call this favourite East Indian snack pakora but it is also called pakoda, bhajji or bhajia. The recipes and process vary among different parts of India but the main thing to know is that they are easy to make and delicious. Chickpea flour is the main ingredient so these fritters are naturally gluten free.

Chickpea Flour vs Besan vs Gram Flour

Hummus, that delicious chickpea dip, has taken North America by storm over the last several years. Perhaps not so common in the North American kitchen is chickpea flour. Made from dried chickpeas it is a staple ingredient in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent. Like many ingredients this flour goes by more than one name. If you are searching through recipes or shopping for flour it is the same as gram flour or besan. Chickpeas themselves can also be called garbanzo beans and I see that Bob’s Red Mill sells theirs as garbanzo bean flour.

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How to Use Chickpea Flour
How to Use Chickpea Flour -photo credit Jim Little

Organize for Success – Deep Fryer vs Wok

I don’t have a deep fryer because I have a great system for deep frying in my wokI organized this set up long ago when I had a small kitchen and it still works for me. Since I don’t deep fry too often it just seemed like I didn’t really need one. Either way, I encourage you to purchase a deep fryer if you want one because you don’t need to limit your cooking options at home. But if you want to try deep frying in a wok here’s how I make it work.

In my kitchen my flat bottom wok wok lives in the cupboard just above the fridge so it’s convenient to grab when I need it. My wok came with a long-handled wire strainer that I use to turn and remove food from the hot oil. A deep frying thermometer is a helpful little tool that is inexpensive and easily clips to the rim of a wok.

The clean up is equally important. Read how I do that in this post on Calamari with Ancho Chile Mayo.

Everyday to Gourmet – Vegetable Fritters

Does your usual rotation of home cooked meals ever get boring? My best tip is to look for inspiration in the foods of other cultures. Tandoori Chicken and Butter Chicken are East Indian favourites in North America so I encourage you to try them as well as other specialties. This cuisine relies heavily on spices so if you don’t have these spices in your cupboard make a point of slowly adding them to your pantry.

You only need a small collection of recipes from different cuisines around the world to add variety to your dinner table with no extra effort. Over the years my collection has expanded and these are my long time East Indian favourites together in one menu.

East Indian Gourmet Dinner Club Menu
An East Indian Menu – Gourmet Dinner Club


Do you deep fry food in your kitchen? If not I hope you’ll give it a try and then let me know how it went in the comments below.

More Deep Fried Delights

Calamari with Ancho Chile Mayo

Gluten Free Calamari with ancho chile mayo and lime salt
Calamari with Ancho Chile Mayo -photo credit Jim Little

Amusement Park Corn Dogs

Amusement Park Corn Dogs
Amusement Park Corn Dogs -photo credit Jim Little

Battered Fish and Chips

Gluten free Battered Fish and Chips served in a basket.
Gluten Free Battered Fish and Chips -photo credit Jim Little

Poutine with Ancho Chile Gravy

Canadian Poutine with Ancho Chile Gravy and cheese curds
Poutine with Ancho Chile Gravy -photo credit Jim Little

Garden Greens with Asian Dressing and Crispy Bean Thread Noodles

Garden Greens with Asian Dressing and Crispy Bean Thread Noodles
Garden Greens with Asian Dressing and Crispy Bean Thread Noodles -photo credit Jim Little


1¼ cups GF chickpea flour
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp salt
½ tsp poppy seeds
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp baking powder
¾ cup water
1 tsp vegetable oil
3 cups vegetables cut into bite size pieces (any combination of broccoli, cauliflower, red pepper, green onion, squash, eggplant, mushrooms)
SERVING – chutney


Oil for deep frying
Heat oil in deep fryer or wok to 350°F. Line a plate with paper towel and set aside.
In a medium bowl add chickpea flour, spices, cornstarch and baking powder. Stir with a whisk until evenly mixed.
Add water and oil whisking until smooth.
Fold in chopped vegetables.
When oil is at 350°F begin cooking. Using a large spoon slowly add big blobs of fritter mixture to the oil. Work in batches cooking only as many fritters as you can manage, starting with 3 or 4 at a time.
Cook fritters for 4-5 minutes then gently roll over using a slotted spoon. Cook another 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Remove fritters to paper towel lined plate.
Repeat until all fritters are cooked. Sprinkle with salt while still warm.
Serve with chutney.


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