Onion pakoda

Onion pokada is a popular street snack in Tamil Nadu, enjoyed scrumptiously with family during evening times along with tea. I often crave for or remember the onion pakodas when the weather is pleasant or during rainy cold winters. Onion pokada is a deep fried fritter made with besan (gram flour) and spices. This recipe that I am sharing for onion pokada is in South Indian style known as vengaya pokada (onion pakoda) in Tamil, which is crispy and entirely different from the North Indian version of pokadas (kanda bhaji).

These onion pokadas are flavoured with South Indian spices, which gives a very different flavour and a unique taste. This onion pokada is not soft like other pokadas or pokaras. These onion pokadas require very little water. The dough is crumbly and loose, which makes them entirely different from other onion pokaras made in North India and other places. You can find this onion pokada near tea shops or tea stalls in the evening times, often wrapped in newspaper - quick and easy packing! You get this variety of pakodas in savoury and sweet shops or bakeries as well. These onion pokadas can be eaten as it is or with ketchup. The usual combination of these onion pakodas is with tea.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins

Cuisine: Tamil Nadu

Spiciness: Medium

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • Gram flour – 1 cup
  • Rice flour – 1/3 to 1/4 cup
  • Onion – 1 (big) or 145 gms
  • Green chilli – 1 tsp or 1
  • Ginger (optional) – 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic cloves (crushed with skin on, optional) - 2
  • Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 15 to 20
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4
  • Water (optional) – 20 to 25 ml
  • Hing (asafoetida, optional)– a pinch
  • Hot oil/ghee – 2 tsp
  • Mint – 12 to 15 leaves
  • Coriander leaves – 1/3 cup
  • Salt - as required

Method

  • Slice the onions. Roughly chop the green chillies, mint, coriander leaves and curry leaves. Keep it ready.
  • Add all the onions, chopped chilies, curry leaves, mint, coriander leaves and all the spices in a bowl except flour, oil and water. Mix well.
  • Keep it aside for 5 to 10 minutes. The moisture that is released by the onions is enough to bind the mixture. If needed you can add just a little bit of water. Meanwhile, heat oil in a kadai (medium to high flame).
  • Now add gram flour, rice flour and hot oil or ghee. Combine them all. Lightly squeeze the onion while combining with the flour.
  • Knead the mixture gently. It should be a moist and crumbly mixture and you can see the onions clearly as shown in the picture below.
  • When it is ready, immediately start cooking. Do not keep the mixture aside for long. The consistency of the mixture can change.
  • Try a sample first in hot oil. If it immediately floats, then the oil is ready to fry.
  • Turn the flame to medium. Take a lump of the onion mixture in your hand and just scatter little by little with your fingers. No shapes required. You can cook big or small - shapeless pokadas. I have made 4 to 5 medium sized pokadas for each batch.
  • Keep turning in between, until it is golden on all sides. Cook on a medium flame according to the requirement.
  • Drain the onion pokadas on a kitchen paper with the help of perforated ladle and cook the remaining batch with same procedure.
  • Homemade onion pokadas are ready to enjoy with a cup of hot tea.
  • Serve immediately when hot and enjoy!

Notes

  • Whenever I am deep frying pokadas or any snack, I always fry one or two pokadas as samples to make sure the temperature of the oil is right. If it is very hot, I will bring the temperature down and vice versa.
  • Ensure that there is enough oil and space in the kadai for the pokadas to puff up while it is being cooked.
  • These pokadas when cooled can be stored in a airtight containers at room temperature. It will stay good for atleast 2 days.
  • Instead of hot oil, you can mix ghee or dalda to the mixture, it gives different taste.
  • If the mixture becomes too soft, add more besan and rice flour, with salt as per requirement.
  • The oil should not be at low temperature or high temperature. It should be medium enough to cook the pokadas. If the oil temperature is low, then the pokadas will absorb much oil and it will be very greasy. If too hot, the pokadas gets quickly cooked and gets darker in colour quickly but will remain raw inside and it also becomes very hard.

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