Lemon-Cilantro Pakoras

Photos by Janet Malowany

Lemon-Cilantro Pakoras

Hold on to your socks, this one has flavor that will knock them off! I have made these many times for catering events (including my own wedding!) and they never fail to disappear immediately. Pakoras are a traditional part of an Indian meal and are usually served with a chutney. However, these are so tasty that I usually just serve them plain. If you do prefer your pakoras to have a dipping sauce, I would especially recommend the "Cilantro Chutney Elixir" (page 125 of RHIW) or some tamarind chutney (shown, also from RHIW).

Dry Ingredients

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons garbanzo (chickpea) flour

1 tablespoon rice flour

teaspoon each: ground cayenne pepper and baking soda

¼ teaspoon each: dried turmeric and ground coriander

1 ½ teaspoons each: cumin powder, cumin seeds, and sea salt

Vegetable Mixture
½ cup finely chopped cauliflower (cut into very, very small pieces)

½ cup (packed) cilantro, washed well and chopped

¼ cup (4 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups chopped yellow (or white) onion*

For frying: coconut oil

1. Mix the dry ingredients together very well in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Combine the vegetable mixture (cauliflower, cilantro, lemon juice, and onion) together in a large bowl, stirring very well.

3. Add the dry mixture to the vegetable mixture in the large bowl and stir to combine thoroughly.

4. Place enough oil in a large, heavy skillet to form a ½-inch well. Set to medium-high heat.

5. To test the oil for the correct temperature, drop a small amount of the batter into it. If it sizzles immediately and begins to brown soon after, it is ready. If it takes a while to sizzle and brown, it is not yet hot enough.

6. To form the pakoras, you have two options. You can either use a small cookie scoop or your hands to gather small amounts of the batter. You will want each pakora to be about one tablespoon in size. Gently drop the pakora into the oil. Continue to put as many pakoras into the oil as will fill about half of the skillet. If you put in too many at once, the oil temperature will drop.

7. Cook for about 1-2 minutes (or until nicely browned on the underside) and flip over. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until nicely browned on all sides. Remove with a metal slotted spoon or spatula and drain on paper towels.

8. Serve immediately. If you do have leftovers, these reheat very nicely in a 400° F. oven.

*NOTE: It is best to chop the onions by hand for this recipe, as chopping them in a food processor can make them overly wet, causing the pakoras to fall apart.

Serves 4; 30 minutes or under! GF/SF/Purple (according to the guidelines in my books)


  1. Hey Tess, Do you think these could be baked instead of fried?

  2. Janet, you *could* bake them, but the flavors would be a bit unbalanced if you did. If you tried baking them, you could spray well with an oil spray to give a crispier coating. Let me know if you try it! :-)

  3. Yes, this recipe is a little more decadent than what I normally post.however, it's hands-down one of the yummiest.