Onion fritters! Worthy of being the national dish of India! A must-have for the monsoon and best paired with a hot cup of chai and chit-chat. Pakora or pakoda or ullivada or pakavada are deep-fried onion fritters and there is never enough chai pakoda.
On a not-so-happy day, deep-fried food like my Ripe Plantain Banana fritters will instantly pull me up. It was never a bad time to make the simple and humble onion fritters for tea time. Not a single crumb was left as there are crispy and addictive...try for yourself!
Like most Indian snacks, each region has a different take on onion fritters recipes. Some like it with very loose batter almost like water, some make it like balls, some prepare it 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 no end to variations but everyone loves crispy onion chai pakoda!
- flour: chickpea flour aka besan and rice flour.
- ground spices: red chilli powder and turmeric powder
- whole spices: cumin or carom seeds or fennel seeds
- baking soda
- veggies: onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies, coriander leaves, curry leaves
How to make crispy onion fritters?
If you have struggled to make a crispy batch of onion fritters that stay crispy longer, then this is your recipe.
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 it immediately.
- Oil temperature: This is a crucial factor as if the oil is not hot enough then the fritters will soak up the 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 this onion pakavada, it reminded me of Maddur vada that I used to relish from eateries in Bangalore. I have to make them soon.
Onion Fritters | Pakoras | Pakoda | Pakavada
- ½ cup chickpea flour besan
- ¼ cup rice flour
- ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or ajwain or fennel seeds
- 1 pinch baking soda
- salt to taste
- 1 large onion thinly sliced in a crescent shape
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 2 to 3 green chillies finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves
- 1 sprig curry leaves chopped
- 1 tablespoon hot oil
- water as required (a few tbsps)
- oil to deep fry
Prepare the dough
- Take a large bowl and add the chickpea flour, rice flour, red chilli powder, seeds, baking soda and salt and whisk to combine.
- Toss the chopped onions with your hands to separate each ring and add them to the flour mixture.
- Stir in the grated ginger, garlic, green chillies, coriander leaves and curry leaves.
- Combine the mixture by squeezing the onions and flour using your 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.
- Heat enough oil in a kadai to deep fry. Spoon out a tablespoon of hot oil from the kadai and add to the dough mixture.
- By now the onion would have sweated and added some moisture to the flour. Add a few tablespoons of water just enough to wet all of the flour and knead until tight and sticky (the batter should be just wet and thick enough to hold shape)
- Do a sample test by frying a tiny piece to determine the oil temperature and adjust the salt and spices if required.
- Wet your hand and use your fingers to pinch a little dough and then drop it into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the oil. Fry in batches.
- 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 keep it too long will make it too dark and bitter.
- Use a slotted spoon to collect, drain and place the fried onion fritters on a kitchen tissue. Serve with a hot cup of chai!