Next add turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, asafoetida, carom seeds and salt. Mix well.
Pour ⅔ to ¾ cup water in parts and mix well.
Use a wired whisk to mix the batter. Make a thick flowing smooth batter without any lumps.
Depending on the quality of besan, the water proportion will vary. You need to get a thick flowing batter. Thus add water bit by bit and mix until you get a perfectly thick flowing batter.
Heat mustard oil or your preferred oil for deep frying in a kadai or pan. Keep the heat to medium or medium-high heat.
To check if the oil is medium-hot, add a few drops of batter to it. If the batter droplets comes up on the surface quickly and gradually, the oil is ready for frying pakora.
When the oil becomes medium-hot, add the batter coated paneer cubes carefully in the medium-hot oil.
When one side is lightly golden, gently turn over the pakora with a slotted spoon. Continue to fry the paneer pakora until golden and crisp.
Remove the paneer pakora with a slotted spoon. Place them on paper towels to remove excess oil.
Serve hot paneer pakora sprinkled with some chaat masala paired with coriander chutney or tomato ketchup.
Batter consistency: Make a thick and flowing batter. Do not make the batter thin or runny. Batter with a thin consistency will absorb more oil making the paneer pakora soggy.
Soggy oily pakora: Frying at a low heat or in a warm oil will make the pakora absorb more oil resulting in an oily pakora.
Burnt pakora: Frying in a very hot oil, will make the pakora quickly browned or burnt from outside leaving the inside batter undercooked and raw.
Paneer: Homemade paneer is the best choice to make paneer pakora. If using frozen paneer follow the directions on the pack.
Slicing paneer: You can make decorative shapes like round, square, triangle or rectangle from a block of paneer if you plan to make a large batch for a party.
Spices and seasonings: The spicing in my paneer pakoda recipe is minimal. So there is a balance in the taste and the pakora is not overly spiced or spicy. If you prefer, adjust the ground spices according to your taste preferences.
Oil: As I have mentioned above in the post use any oil that has a high smoke point for deep frying.
Baking & air frying: I did not have great results when baking or air-frying paneer pakora. But you can bake or air fry them at a moderately hot temperature of 180 degrees celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit). Preheat oven or air-fryer for 10 minutes.
Leavening ingredient: I have not included baking soda or baking powder. Feel free to add these for a fluffy and crispy paneer pakora. About 1 pinch of baking soda and ¼ teaspoon of baking powder will give you the best results.