Lentil and Onion Pakora

By Ratnalentil  and  onion  pakora-708-2

It  snowed  again.  The  big  flakes  came  down  fast,  as  if  a   paper  shredder  had  been  emptied.   We  were  spoilt  with  a  bit  of  good  weather  for  the  last  few  days  and  got  carried  away.   We  opened  the  windows  and  let  the  fresh  air  in  after  four  months.  Severed  relationship  altogether  with  the  heavy  parka.  Felt  the  steering  wheel  with  bare  hands.  Why  even  the  Calendar  announced  the  first  day  of  spring!  Oh  well,  we  know  better  than  that  in  the  prairies.  April  will  bring  more  snow.  May  hasn’t  been  out  of  bounds  for  snow  either  for  some  years. To  go  with  this  cold  weather  I  made  these  crispy  onion  Pakoras.


I  read  with  interest  about  the  ”  Lentil  Recipe  Revelation  Challenge“.  My  blogger  friend  from  ” Keep  calm  and  eat  on   invited  us  to  join  it.  Coming  from  a  similar  background  in  India,  where   lentils  are  part  of   our  diet   24/7/365,  I  couldn’t  let  this  go  by  me  unchallenged.  In  fact  not  too  long  back  I  wrote  about  a  lentil  soup  here  . This  is  my  entry  for  ”  Best  in  the  appetizer ”  category.  It  was  lot  of  fun.  There  still  is  time  in  case  you  want  to  be  part  of  this  project.

Pakoras  are  usually  made  from  Besan  or  gram  flour.  Sometimes  rice  flour  is  added.  I  have  substituted  red  lentil  paste  in  place  of  the  rice  flour  to  give  the   pakoras  more  colour  and  crispiness.  Just  what  you  want  with  this  weather!

People  often  shy  away  from  Indian  Cooking  because  the  ingredients  list  runs  for  a  page  and  a  half.  I  am  on  a  mission  here.  For  this  challenge  I  have  made  a  point  to  use  the   minimum  number  of  ingredients.  Try  this  recipe  and  you  will  be  surprised  with  the  results.  I  have  put  the  difficulty  rating  for  this  recipe  as  “child’s  play”.  The  other  two  being  “knew  I  could  do  that” and  “evil’.

If  you  are  lucky  enough  to  be  enjoying  a  beautiful  warm  spring  day,  even  better.  Maybe  you  have  planned  an  afternoon  with  family  and  friends  barbecuing.  The  freshly  cut  green  grass  tickling  your  bare  feet,  children  on  the  trampoline  and  Fido  catching  his  breath  with  his  tongue  hanging  out.  The  noise  of  the  neighbour’s  lawnmower  in  the  background.  You  bring  out  a  batch  of  these  freshly  fried  pakoras.  Friends  do  you  feel  your  fingers  are  ready  to  grab  one,  like  the  ones  we  see  in  the  picture?

Have  I  been  able  to  entice  you  with  the  story?  In  the  virtual  world  of  “Challenges”,  for  these  pakoras  to  see  the  light  of  the  day,  I  need  your  help. Please  leave  a  comment  below,  telling  me  your  thoughts.  If  you’ve  tried  them already,  were  they  yummy?



Onion                               One  medium,  finely  chopped

Gram Flour  (  Besan  )    One  cup

Red  Lentils                      Half  cup

Cilantro                             Roughly  chopped , Half  cup

Baking  Soda                   Half  tsp

Salt                                   One  and  half  tsp,  and  another  tsp  to  sprinkle.

Chilli  powder                    One  quarter  tsp  (  optional  )

Asafoetida   (  hing  )           Small  pinch  (  optional )

Canola  oil                           For  deep  frying


Wash  and  soak  the  red  lentils  for  couple  of  hours.  Grind  it  in  a  paste  with  very  little  water.

In  a  bowl  mix  the  Gram  flour  and  baking  soda.  Add  all  the  other  ingredients,  next.  The  mixture  should  be  thick,  but  pliable.  I  did  not  have  to  add  extra  water.  The  water  that  I  added  to  grind  the  lentils  was  sufficient.  If  you  feel  add  very  little  water.

Heat  canola  oil  in  a  wok  on  high  heat. I  took  a  big  wok  and  filled  it  with  oil,  two  inches  deep.  Put  a   little  bit  of  the  batter  to  check  if  the  oil  is  ready.  The  batter  should  rise  up  to  the  surface  right away.  Turn  the  gas  to  medium  now.  With  your  finger  take  about  “loonie”  size  batter  and  carefully  dip  in  the  oil.  Do  not  overcrowd,  about  six  or  seven  in  a  batch  will  do.  The  batter  need  not  be  formed  into  a  round  ball.  The  little  unevenness  actually  makes  the  onion  pakora  more  appealing.  Turn  the  gas  lower  now,  between  medium  and  low.  The  pakora  has  to  cook  even.  If  the  gas  is  on  high,  it   will  only  cook  on  the  outside,  the  inside  remaining  uncooked.  When  the  colour  changes  to  golden  brown,  remove  them  on  paper  towels.  Sprinkle  a  little  more  salt on  them  now.

Serve   them  with  Tomato  ketchup  and/or  mustard  sauce.  This  is  what  my  family  prefers.  Any  sauce  can  be  used.

In  a  snowy  day  I’d  serve  them  with  a  hot  cup  of  tea.  This  is  such  a  versatile  dish,  you  can  enjoy  it  as  much  on  a  hot  summer  day  too.  I’d  probably  then  change  the  drink  to  a  cold  one….

Inside  Scoop;

Gram  flour  or  Besan  is  available  in  the  World  food  section  in  Superstore.

Asafoetida  or  Hing  is  available  in  Indian  grocery  store.


13 thoughts on “Lentil and Onion Pakora

  1. Thank you for the mention Ratna. So glad I could inspire a few to join the contest. The fun is when people do things together, I think! It has been so much fun. I hope you enjoyed as much.

    Now about your pakora: Like I said before, I think i should visit you because you make such lovely food! Red lentils are so delicious in pakoras I think and your version – I can almost taste it – hing, cilantro, heat from chillies and the delicious fried batter over the onions-mouth watering!

  2. Ratna having had the privilege of eating your amazing cooking previously, I am definitely going to try making these pakoras for my family. They look delicious, love the photography and as usual your story is a wonderful way to introduce your food choice. It looks like a 5 star recipe.
    Thank you for sharing that with us

  3. So yummy! Will definitely be trying these myself and bringing them into work for the happy (and willing) tasters. Good luck in the contest!! A

  4. Oh ratna didi the recipe seems to be amazing as always..you wrote it so good how do you get thoughts to put all these words together and make a beautiful story of a recipe ..i will definitely make it for Swati once she is back..you are a master of words..

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