Pakoda is a spiced fritter from the Indian subcontinent and there are many types of pakodas with subtle variations. It is quick as well as easy to cook and is popular as a snack on its own or to accompany hot tea. It is a deep fried snack where chickpea flour or gram flour is the main ingredient. Spices, herbs and other ingredients are added to make different flavored pakoda recipes. Apart from onion, some common varieties of pakoda use potato, spinach, Indian cottage cheese, cauliflower, tomato or chili pepper etc.
Onion Pakoda is made by deep frying thinly sliced onions dipped in spicy gram flour batter. The colorful, hot and crunchy pagoda is tempting and tantalizes your taste buds. It is one of the most loved monsoon snacks across the entire Indian subcontinent. It is also a favorite snack during cold winters in North India. Onion Pakoda can be served with some fried salted green chillies and a green chutney or sweet chutney. You can also serve with tomato chutney, mint chutney or coriander chutney. It is best served hot and a cup of hot ginger tea or filter coffee also goes very well with it. It has the texture of some onions caramelized from the outside, while the texture inside is in contrast with softened onions in a well-cooked batter. Cabbage Pakoda is an easy-to-make appetizer. This pakoda recipe is cooked with shredded cabbage, rice flour, gram flour, green chilli and a melange of spices.
Generally in the Indian pakoda recipes, the spices and herbs that are added help in digestion. In the Punjabi style onion pakoda, the spice that aids in digestion is carom seeds (ajwain). They also lend some sharp aromatic notes to the fritters. The addition of curry leaves, coriander leaves and fennel seeds make these fritters very flavorful and also help in digestion.
The crunch, the crispness, the spice quotient and the pairing with fresh chutney, all these make pakodas a wholesome experience of eating that satiates the senses. Since pakodas are mostly made of lentils, they are gluten-free and there are minimal chances of any possible allergies. Some pakodas are even made of seeds and nuts, some with wild foraged greens and some with the most inconspicuous raw materials, and they suit all sorts of dietary preferences.
Pakodas are usually served as snacks or appetizers. They are also sold as fast food snack as an alternate to french fries or kebabs. They are served normally during weddings, birthday parties or any special occasions too. Enjoying this snack on a rainy or cloudy pleasant weekend evening, sipping hot tea or coffee is a heavenly experience. Head to Amma’s South Indian Restaurant, and order for a plate of pakodas to get that heavenly feel.