Gluten-free baked pakoras – break into easy, 7-ingredient, vegan pakoras. Chickpea flour keeps out the gluten, baking removes the oil and the flavor? Delish!
Open your vegetable crisper. Do you see that bit of leftover broccoli? Maybe cauliflower? A carrot or two? All you need is 1 cup of any of those veggies, and you are on your way to making healthy baked pakoras.
8 ingredients, folks. That includes water!
Once you’ve secured your 1 cup of broccoli (or other vegetables), you will definitely want red (or yellow onion). Onions are an integral ingredient for this recipe. They add flavor, and if you use thinly sliced onions, added color and texture.
The only other veggie I add is fresh chili. One fresh red chili or jalapeno is enough to spice things up. If you don’t like added spice, consider removing the seeds and the yellow inside flesh. That’s the hot stuff.
There are three spices in the mix: cumin, turmeric, and salt. Chickpea flour tastes slightly bitter to some folks, thus the salt. Turmeric will add an earthy flavor and will make your batter yellower. Cumin is also earthy and sweet. Plus, the aroma of cumin – who can resist?
What is chickpea flour?
Ground chickpeas. That’s what's in that bag of chickpea flour. And that’s what our pakoras need.
Feel free to praise chickpea flour for being gluten-free. It is.
But here’s something else to consider. Chickpea flour is super nutritious. It is lower in calories and higher in protein than whole wheat flour. A cup of chickpea flour has 21 grams of protein.
Add that to your collections of answers for ‘how do you get your protein?" if you are a vegan.
Look for chickpea flour in the gluten-free sections of the supermarket. You might also find it in the Indian food section. It is also known as garbanzo flour, gram flour, and besan.
If you can’t find chickpea flour, make it. Here’s how to do that:
Add dry chickpeas to a high-speed food processor or blender. Process until it’s broken into a fine flour. Be sure to use a mesh strainer or flour sifter to remove any larger, remaining pieces.
Once you begin working with chickpea flour, you’ll notice that it’s quite sticky. That’s why it makes a super-binder for burgers or spinach mini quiches.
Tips for making baked pakoras
1. Pakoras are more batter than dough so, don’t overdo the water. The
ideal batter is thick enough to stick to the food but not so heavy that you can form dough balls like you might for a falafel or veggie ball.
The 'right' amount of water is somewhere between ¾ - 1 cup of water. That variance accounts for the fact that we are not always precise with our measurements.
The other reason is that flour brands, including chickpea flour, can vary in density. This is a result of the milling process and the age and origin of the chickpeas used.
2. You can vary the ingredients, but always try to stick to 1 cup of chopped veggies and a small onion for every 1 ½ cups of chickpea flour. Be sure that you chop the veggies small.
3. If you mix up the batter and let it sit, it will get thick. It happens quickly. Add water, a tablespoon at-a-time, and mix after every addition of water. If you get overzealous and it becomes too thin, add another tablespoon of chickpea flour.
4. Be sure that the oven is hot before you dollop the pakoras on the baking sheet. They may start to spread quickly, so the minute you get them on the baking tray, get them into a hot oven. Otherwise, eating a pakora cookie isn’t a bad experience.
Traditional pakoras are deep-fried in oil. We won’t be doing that here. In fact, our recipes never contain added oil. Ingredients and approaches to cooking can have profound impacts on nutrition.
Be sure to pre-heat your oven to 3500F (1800C) before you add pre-baked pakoras. To prevent them from burning and help them heat in the center, cover them in foil or even a baking dish with a lid.
Reheating will take 15 minutes. If the pakoras are frozen, they will take about 20 – 25.
You can reheat in the microwave in about 20 seconds, although they will not crisp up as in the oven.
Freeze pakoras after baking them. Separate each pakora with parchment paper. Place them in a freezer bag or wrap them thoroughly in plastic wrap. Avoid storing them in foil as it can stick to the pakoras. No one wants to bite into tin foil.
There are three main reasons why your pakoras might flatten:
1. The oven wasn’t hot enough.
Be sure to pre-heat to 4250. An initially cold oven allows the batter to spread out. Sometimes, it's the reason why you think your food is burning in the oven, only to discover it is undercooked in the middle. I
2. You didn’t get the pakoras in the oven immediately after spooning them on the baking tray. If you linger, they will start to flatten. If you need to wait, leave the batter in a bowl until you are ready to roll.
3. The batter is too thin. If you want to check the consistency of the batter, add a tablespoon to a plate. If it flattens out like a pancake or crepe, it’s too thin. Add more chickpea flour to the batter. Mix it well and test it again.
I don’t add baking powder to my pakora recipe. If you want to add a teaspoon, it might make your pakoras lighter. They may also rise up a smidge. I leave this to you as an option. Add or don’t add. Experiment with half the batter if you’re up for that.
What to serve with pakoras
Try simple options, such as a dollop of your favorite jarred salsa or sweet chutney. A mixture of vegan sour cream with salsa can work wonders. Want a quick sweetener straight from the jar? Date paste, baby! It’s magic.
Ramping up healthy choices doesn’t require deprivation. Maybe it’s making the switch from buttery rolls to baked pakoras. Seriously, is this really such a deprivation? Not so much, my friends. Tasty compromises that are guilt-free. Who’s up for that? Peace.Print
gluten-free baked pakoras
Gluten-free baked pakoras with chickpea flour, broccoli, onions, chili, and spices are the oil-free, vegan side or snack that is sure to please.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 6 pakoras 1x
- Category: On the Side
- Cuisine: Indian
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 ½ cups chickpea flour
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 small red onion, cut in half, and thinly sliced
- 1 red chili pepper or jalapeno, diced (remove the seeds if you want your pakoras less hot)
- 1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into small floret pieces
- ¾ - 1 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 4250 F (2200 C).
- Line a baking sheet (enough for 6 pakoras) with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the chickpea flour, salt, cumin, and turmeric.
- Start slowly adding water, starting with ½ a cup and then 1 tablespoon at-a-time until you have a thin batter (think pancake). Whisk or stir the batter to thoroughly moisten the flour and reduce the lumps.
- Once the pakora batter is smooth, carefully mix in the vegetables.
- Test the batter by spooning some on a plate. If it immediately melts into a thin puddle, you need to add more flour.
- Use a large spoon or small measuring cup to add 6 equal portions of batter onto the baking tray.
- Immediately add the pakoras to the oven. Bake them for 15 minutes or until they are firm and golden on the top.
- Serve as a side with your favorite Indian cuisines or as a quick snack.
- To reheat baked pakoras, be sure to pre-heat your oven to 3500F (1800C). To prevent them from burning and help them heat in the center, cover them in foil or a baking dish with a lid. Reheating will take 15 minutes. If the pakoras are frozen, they will take about 20 – 25.
- Freeze pakoras after baking them. Separate each pakora with parchment paper. Place them in a freezer bag or wrap them thoroughly in plastic wrap.
- The easiest 'fix' for a batter that is too thin is to add more chickpea flour. Test the batter after you have mixed in all the ingredients by placing a spoonful on a plate. If it flattens out completely, then add a bit more flour to the batter. Be sure you put the pakoras in the hot oven immediately after placing them on the baking tray.
Keywords: baked pakoras