Chicken pakora, the crispy Indian spiced chicken fritter is an all-time favorite snack for all chicken lovers across India. Try this recipe of chicken pakora and you will be in love with it too if not already!
Chicken pakora can be considered as the Indian version of popcorn chicken! And being an Indian, I am more strongly drawn to chicken pakora and you will see why! Chicken pakora is the crispy chicken fritters made from boneless chicken cubes and infused with all flavorful Indian spices which are simply super enticing to our senses! Chicken pakora is one of the very popular street foods in India and you will find different versions of it in different regions. In South India, you will get chicken pakora infused with flavors of curry leaves and in North India, it will mostly be dominated with flavors of asafetida or hing and garam masala.
Just like popcorn chicken, you can make different flavors of basic chicken pakora. Like today I added some finely chopped homemade basil leaves which complemented my chicken pakora beautifully. You can add any spice you feel like in your chicken pakora mixture which is a basic batter made of roasted gram flour. Besan, i.e. roasted gram flour is the primary ingredient for making any Indian style fritter; it gives crispiness as well as a depth of flavor to any Indian style pakora. I generally mix some rice flour too in the chicken pakora batter to add extra crispiness.
Boneless chicken breast is a very versatile portion of the bird and you can use it to make your chicken pakora; but if you are okay with little extra calories with tons of additional flavors then use boneless chicken thigh as this dark meat, being high on fat, retains the juiciness more beautifully as compared to lean chicken breast. Since chicken pakora is a deep-fried item, the extra moisture of chicken thighs is essential to achieve that succulent melt-in-mouth texture inside the crispy outer coating. I have stopped using chicken breasts since the time I have discovered the deliciousness of chicken thighs and I highly recommend you to do the same.
We Indians are very fond of our evening tea. This tasty chicken pakora is the ultimate companion of our evening tea especially on weekends when you get together with friends for that refreshing group chat. You can carry these chicken pakora to your next potluck party to see everyone relishing these like crazy! One quick tip before signing off – fry your chicken pakora on low-medium heat to make sure the chicken cooks thoroughly; else your outer besan coating will turn dark brown way too quickly leaving the inside chicken raw and you definitely don’t want raw chicken inside tour chicken pakora! So, get cracking and make these delightful chicken pakora at home asap! Enjoy!
- Chicken thighs or chicken breast – 300 gms, boneless & skinless
- Ginger paste – 1 tsp
- Garlic paste – 1 tsp
- Garam masala – 1 tsp
- Vinegar – 1 tsp
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Gram flour (besan) – ½ cup
- Rice flour – 1 tbsp
- Oil – 1 tsp
- Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
- Coriander powder – 1 tsp
- Baking powder – ¼ tsp
- Salt – ½ tsp or to taste
- Basil leaves – 15 to 20, chopped [You can add freshly chopped coriander leaves also. I added this twist by adding basil as my kitchen garden was offering me good number of basil leaves.]
- Green chilli – 2, chopped [Optional]
- Water as required
- Cut the chicken into small bite-sized cubes. Wash and drain well, then pat them dry.
- Add all the ingredients mentioned under marinade to the chicken pieces and mix well. Set aside for 30 minutes to one hour.
- In a big bowl, mix gram flour, rice flour, red chilli powder, coriander powder, baking powder, salt, oil and chopped basil leaves [and green chilli if using]. Using a spoon or whisk, mix the mixture thoroughly.
- Now add little water at a time to the gram flour mixture and stir thoroughly till you get a dropping consistency and there is no lump left in the batter. Beat the batter with a whisk for 10-15 minutes, it will incorporate air into the batter resulting in lighter and crispier pakoras.
- Add the marinated chicken pieces to the batter and coat all the side equally well.
- Heat lot of oil in a deep wok and get ready to deep fry your chicken pakora. Now you have to be a little careful about the oil. Oil must be hot enough so that when a pakora is dropped into the oil, it sizzles and rises to the top; but if you fry the pakoras in very hot oil, the outside batter will burn quickly leaving chicken uncooked inside; whereas if the oil is not hot enough, the pakora will absorb too much oil making it soggy. So, to fry the pakoras at the correct temperature, first heat the oil at high flame, then reduce the flame to medium and continue frying the pakora on medium heat; don’t bring your flame to highest or lowest.
- To make the chicken pakora, take couple of pieces of chicken out of the batter and press them together to make one pakora and slide gently into the oil. Don’t worry, since the batter was quite sticky, the two chicken pieces won’t separate out.
- Fry the chicken pakora in batches; if you overcrowd the pan too much the temperature of the oil will drop quickly. Fry the pakora till they turn golden brown, approximately 6 to 8 minutes per batch. Lift out from oil and make sure to absorb the excess oil on a tissue paper. Repeat with remaining pieces.
- Enjoy hot and crispy chicken pakora with tomato ketchup along with your evening tea! Enjoy!