Crispy chickpea-battered vegetable fritters are a popular street-food snack throughout India. This recipe calls for potatoes and onion, but cauliflower florets, eggplant slices, or plantains can also be used. Pair them with tangy tamarind chutney or herbaceous coconut-cilantro chutney for dipping. This recipe first appeared in the tablet edition of our August/September 2014 special India issue with Indrani Sen's story The School of Small Bites.
- Canola oil, for frying
- 1 1⁄2 cups besan (chickpea flour)
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1⁄2 small red onion, peeled and minced
- Tamarind and coconut-cilantro chutneys, for serving (optional)
Heat 2" oil in a 6-qt. saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 300°. Stir chickpea flour, cumin seeds, salt, and 1 cup water in a bowl into a smooth batter. Stir potatoes and onion into batter. Working in batches, fry 2 tablespoon-size amounts potato mixture, turning as needed, until golden and crisp, 8–10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pakoras to paper towels to drain; season with salt. Serve with chutneys on the side if you like.