onion pakoda recipe with step by step photos and video. onion pakoda are onion fritters made with gram flour (besan) are a popular and yummy indian street food. it is one snack that is easy to prepare and tastes good too. onion pakoda are very much in demand during the rainy season or during winters, as their combo with hot ginger tea tastes too good.
onion pakoda are usually served with some fried salted green chillies and green chutney or sweet chutney. this whole combo is also served with the indian chai.
since onion pakora are often made in my home, i have updated the old pics with new ones. this is how i make this recipe. we also make a different version and in marathi we call it kanda bhaji (where kanda means onions & bhaji means fritters). in south india, these onion fritters are prepared in different ways:
which type of onions for onion pakoda
you can use any variety of onions to make onion fritters – be it red onions, yellow onions or white onions. just make sure to slice the onions thinly to get a crisp texture. i always use a chef’s knife to slice the onions thinly. you can even use a food processor.
tips for making onion pakoda
- slicing onions: the onions have to be sliced thinly and not thickly as thin slices will get cooked faster than thick slices. if the slices are thick, then while frying the gram flour gets cooked but the onion slices remain half cooked. thinly slices also give a crispy texture in the pakoda.
- to add or not to add baking soda: some cooks use a pinch of baking soda in the batter to add that extra fluffiness to the onion pakora. we don’t like the taste and flavor of baking soda, so i have not used it. adding baking soda helps the pakoda to have a soft texture.
- adding hot oil in the batter: in the gram flour batter, you can also add 1 or 2 teaspoons of oil. this makes the onion pakoda crisp and it absorbs less oil while frying.
- frying temperature: the temperature of the oil has to be correct while frying. the oil should not be too hot or cold. if it is hot, then the outside of the onion pakoda will get fried but the inside will be undercooked. if it is not hot, then the pakoda will absorb oil while frying and will be too oil-laden once fried.
- additional ingredients: you can add some rice flour in the batter too. this will make the pakoda crunchy. for a mumbai style onion pakoda, skip the carom seeds and add some crushed coriander seeds. you can add more red chilly powder to get a spicy pakoda. basically, you can add your choice of spice powders in the batter.
- for a gluten-free pakoda: store brought asafoetida (hing) has some amounts of wheat in it. to make a gluten-free pakoda, skip the asafoetida or use wheat-free asafoetida.
- crisp vs softer pakoda: to get crisp onion pakoda, slice onions thinly and add less water in the batter. to make soft pakoda, add some more water in the batter. addition of baking soda or baking powder also helps in making pakoda soft and light.
- baking or air frying: you can also bake or air fry them. baked onion pakora will taste differently than fried ones. baked or air fried onion fritters won’t be as crisp as the fried ones. i have made onion fritters both in the oven and in an air fryer. in terms of crisp texture, the pakoda fried in oil were better. if you want to have a fried version, then just best to make that and enjoy the hot onion pakoda with a steaming cup of indian chai.
a) if baking, then bake at 180 degrees celsius in a preheated oven till the pakora look crisp and golden. add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil in the batter. add less water just enough to coat the onion slices.
b) if air frying, then air fry at 180 degrees celsius. preheat air fryer for 10 minutes and then air fry till crisp. in between remove the air fryer pan and shake or turn over each pakoda.
note: this onion pakoda recipe has been updated and was first published on 3 august 2009.
how to make onion pakoda
1. slice the onions evenly & thinly. take them in a mixing bowl. also, add chopped green chilies. if you do not have green chilies, then add red chili powder. you can also add chopped coriander leaves if you want.
2. add the spices – carom seeds (ajwain), turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt as required. asafoetida is optional and can be skipped for a gluten-free pakoda. you can even use gluten-free asafoetida.
3. mix everything well. cover and keep the onion, chilies and spice mixture aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
4. the onions would release water and then you can add water as required in the batter.
5. add gram flour (besan). for a soft and light texture in the pakoda, you can add 1 pinch of baking soda.
6. add the required amount of water to make a medium-thick batter.
7. stir the whole mixture very well with a spoon or with your hands. the onion pakora batter is ready to be fried. you can either shallow fry or deep fry.
frying onion pakoda
8. in hot oil, add spoonfuls of the pakora batter.
9. depending on the size of the kadai or pan, you can add less or more. just make sure you don’t overcrowd the onion pakoda while frying.
10. when the pakora is a bit cooked, turn over with a slotted spoon and continue to fry.
11. you will have to turn the pakora a few times for even frying.
12. fry the onion pakoda, till they look crisp and golden.
13. remove fried onion pakora with a slotted spoon and drain them on kitchen paper towels for excess oil to be absorbed.
14. in the same oil fry slit green chilies.
15. sprinkle some salt on the green chilies and mix well.
16. serve onion pakoda or kanda bhaji with the fried green chillies or coriander chutney or mint chutney or tomato sauce.
serving onion pakoda
onion pakoda is a tea time snack and can be served plain with some chutney or sauce and a few fried & salted green chillies. at my mom’s place they are served with bread or pav (bread rolls). so i am so used to eating these crispy & crunchy onion pakoda with soft bread slices or bread rolls. we sandwich the pakoda between the bread and have them dipping in some spicy coriander chutney or any spicy sauce.
at my in-law’s place, onion pakoda is had with (hold your breath) – chapati. so they make pakoda for lunch or dinner and not as a snack. onion pakoda, chapati and some coriander chutney is their favorite combination. in my home, i just serve these plain as an evening snack with some chutney or sauce.
few more pakoda recipes
- palak pakoda – crisp and tasty deep fried spinach fritters.
- potato bajji – crisp potato fritters.
- paneer pakoda – gram flour coated cottage cheese fritters.
- mirchi bajji – tangy, spiced, crunchy and tasty stuffed chilli fritters.
- 2 medium to large-sized onions
- 1 cup gram flour (besan) or chickpea flour
- 1 to 2 teaspoon green chillies OR ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves - optional
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder - optional
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder - optional
- 1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
- 1 generous pinch asafoetida (hing) - optional or use gluten-free asafoetida
- oil as required - for shallow frying or deep frying, sunflower oil or any neutral-flavoured oil
- water as required to make a medium thick batter
- salt as required
making pakoda batter
- slice the onions thinly and take them in a mixing bowl. also, add chopped green chillies.
- if you do not have green chillies, then add red chilli powder. you can also add chopped coriander leaves if you want.
- add the spices - carom seeds, turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt.
- mix everything well. cover and keep the onion, chillies and spice mixture aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
- the onions would release water and then you can add water as required in the batter.
- add gram flour (besan).
- add the required amount of water to make medium-thick batter.
- stir the whole mixture very well with a spoon or with your hands. the batter is ready to be fried.
making onion pakoda
- in hot oil, add spoonfuls of the batter.
- depending on the size of the kadai or pan, you can add less or more. just make sure you don't over crowd the onion pakoda while frying.
- when the pakora are a bit cooked, turn over with a slotted spoon and continue to fry.
- you will have to turn them a few times for even frying.
- fry them till they look crisp and golden.
- remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper towels for excess oil to be absorbed.
- in the same oil fry slit green chilies.
- sprinkle some salt on the green chilies and mix well.
- serve onion pakoda with the fried green chilies or coriander chutney or tomato sauce.
- you can also bake or air fry them but the taste will be different than the fried onion pakoda.
- for a softer pakoda, add some more water.
- for a crisp pakoda, slice onions thinly and evenly.
- recipe can be halved or doubled or tripled.