Crispy Onion Pakoda (Onion Pakora, Kanda Bhaji, Indian Onion Fritters) is one of the favorite Indian snacks during the monsoons or winter days. Make the best onions pakora using my easy recipe (vegan, can be easily made gluten-free).
About Onion Pakoda (Kanda Bhaji)
Crispy Onion Pakoda (Onion Pakora, Kanda Bhaji, Indian Onion Fritters, Pyaz Pakora) is a very popular North Indian snack that is served as a tea-time snack, especially during the monsoons.
Crispy from the outside and soft from the inside, these onion pakora are an all-time favorite in Indian homes.
Kanda Bhaji is also perfect to serve for tea parties, get-together snacks, monsoon snacks, or even for a game or movie night.
My onion pakoda recipe is vegan and can be easily doubled or tripled.
Onions – This is the star ingredient of this kanda bhaji recipe. Use red onions to make the pyaz pakora. They are slightly pungent in taste making the pakoda very flavorful. Having said that, yellow onions or white onions also work fine.
For The Batter – A batter to make kanda bhaji is made using chickpea flour (besan, gram flour). I add a little rice flour to the batter to make the pakoda crispier. You can replace rice flour with cornstarch.
You will also need salt, Kashmiri red chilli powder, fresh ginger, cilantro (fresh coriander leaves), green chillies, asafetida (hing), vegetable oil, turmeric powder, baking soda, and chaat masala to make the batter.
Oil – Fry the pakoras in vegetable oil, rice bran oil, or mustard oil. The ones fried in mustard oil will have a unique taste to them.
Skip adding asafetida to make the pakora gluten-free.
Adjust the green chilies as per your liking.
You can also add some chopped curry leaves, fennel seeds (saunf), mint leaves, sesame seeds, crushed coriander seeds, and carom seeds (ajwain) to the batter.
How To Make Onions Pakoda (Kanda Bhaji)
Peel 2-3 medium red onions, rinse them with water and drain well. Remove ½-inch from the top and bottom and cut the onions into even thin slices.
- 2 cups of thinly sliced onions
- 1 and ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- 2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
- 2 teaspoon finely chopped cilantro
- 2 teaspoon finely chopped green chilies
- ¼ teaspoon asafetida
to a large mixing bowl.
Mash the ingredients using your fingers using they all come together.
Keep the bowl aside for 10 minutes.
Note – The onions will release some water during this time. This is an important step to make crispy pakoras.
Now add 1 cup chickpea flour, 2 tablespoon rice flour, and 2 tablespoon vegetable oil to the bowl and mix well.
Add ⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 small pinch of baking soda, and 1-2 tablespoon of water and mix well to make a thick pakoda batter. The batter should actually feel like sticky dough.
Note – The consistency of the batter is very important to making crispy pakora. Add water just enough to bring the ingredients together. If the batter is thin, the pakoras will not turn out crispy.
Heat 3-4 cups of vegetable oil for frying in a pan over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium flame.
Note – The temperature of the oil is very important to fry crispy pakoras. It should nether be very high nor very low. Fry The pakoras on medium flame.
Drop small pakoda in the hot oil using your fingers and fry until they are golden brown and crisp. Flip the pakoras using a slotted spoon a few times while frying to ensure even browning.
Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle chaat masala on top and serve immediately.
Pro Tips By Neha
Slice the onions into thin even slices. If the onion slices are thick, they will absorb more oil making the pakoras oily.
Do not fry the onion pakoda on low heat. They will absorb excess oil and will become soggy.
Do not fry on too high heat either. They will turn brown from the outside and will remain uncooked from the inside.
Always use good quality fresh gram flour. Taste the flour before making the pakoda, as it can get bitter if it is too old.
Do not make the batter and leave it. The onions will keep leaving water and the batter might become loose. If you still have some leftover batter, then add some more gram flour to it and mix again before frying.
Frequently Asked Questions
To avoid deep-frying, you can also make onion bhaji in an air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 180 C (360 F) for about 5 minutes.
Brush or spray the basket with oil and drop small pakoda in one layer on the basket tray. Close the basket and air fry the pakoda for 10 minutes. Make sure to turn them once in between. Spray or brush more oil if needed.
Once done, air fry at 200 C for 2-3 minutes more to get a lovely brown color.
Make the batter as per the recipe. Now drop small pakora on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spray or brush oil on top.
Bake them for about 10-15 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
You can also serve it with Bread or Pav. In Maharashtra, it is popularly sold under the name of Kanda Bhajiya and Pav.
In south Indian darshinis and restaurants, these crispy onion fritters are served with Coconut Chutney.
Pyaz pakora tastes the best when made fresh, just out of oil. You can keep them for 1-2 hours, but they will start to soften a bit.
You can air fry or bake the leftover pakora until they are crispy again.
I also do not recommend making the batter and storing it. It becomes watery after some time. If you still have some leftover batter, then add some gram flour to correct its texture and then fry the pakoras.
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Crispy Onion Pakoda Recipe (Onion Pakora, Kanda Bhaji, Indian Onion Fritters)
- 2 cups thinly sliced red onions
- 1 and ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro (fresh coriander leaves)
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped green chilies
- ¼ teaspoon asafetida (hing) (skip for gluten-free)
- 1 cup chickpea flour (besan, gram flour)
- 2 tablespoons rice flour
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (plus 3-4 cups for frying the pakora)
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 small pinch baking soda
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala powder
- Add onions, salt, Kashmiri red chili powder, ginger, cilantro, green chilies, and asafetida to a large mixing bowl.
- Mash the ingredients using your fingers using they all come together.
- Keep the bowl aside for 10 minutes.
- Note – The onions will release some water during this time. This is an important step to make crispy pakoras.
- Now add chickpea flour, rice flour, and vegetable oil to the bowl and mix well.
- Add turmeric powder, baking soda, and 1-2 tablespoons of water and mix well to make a thick pakoda batter.
- Note – The consistency of the batter is very important to making crispy pakora. Add water just enough to bring the ingredients together. If the batter is thin, the pakoras will not turn out crispy.
- Heat vegetable oil for frying in a pan over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium.
- Drop small pakoda in the hot oil using your fingers and fry until they are golden brown and crisp. Flip the pakoras a few times while frying to ensure even browning.
- Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle chaat masala on top and serve immediately.