These tasty fritters made with coriander leaves (cilantro) are incredibly crispy and flavorful. These golden bite size savory snack is a wonderful rainy day comfort food. It is an awesome thing to snack on with your tea or can be a wonderful starter at your cocktail party.
Coriander is a quintessential ingredient in Indian cuisine. We use coriander in all forms, seeds, powder and especially the leaves which is called cilantro here is such a flavorful herb. I love the aroma and flavor of cilantro so I always buy a big bunch whenever I go past the fresh herb section in the grocery.
Crispy Coriander (Cilantro) Pakora
Pakora which is also called pakoda is slightly different from fritters, unlike fritters they are not soft on the inside, It is totally crispy.
I’m very picky in buying cilantro, let me tell you why…
These are the two things you have to look for when buying coriander leaves.
Cilantro with thick short stems and dark green leaves are less flavorful where as the ones with long tender stems and small light green leaves are extremely flavorful.
This type is seasonal so whenever I get my hands on it, I make something with it before it looses its freshness. Usually I make coriander chutney, But this time I wanted to make something different so I made these tasty pakoras. It turned out awesome!
Let’s get to the recipe …
Wash this fresh bunch of cilantro in cold water, make sure you clean all the dirt from the roots. Take out the yellow leaves if there is any and chop them up finely including the stems,actually the stems have more flavor than the leaves . Drain and keep it aside.
- Chopped coriander ( cilantro) leaves – 1 1/2 cups
1. In a large bowl add …
- Chickpea flour(or)corn flour – 1 cup
- Chili powder – 1 teaspoon
- Paprika – 1 teaspoon
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Finely ground pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
- Baking soda – 1/4 teaspoon
- Asafetida – 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
- Salt – 2 teaspoons
Use a fork and mix the flour and the spices nicely.
2. Now add the chopped cilantro to the flavored flour mix and slowly combine it with your hands.
3. Add water one tablespoon at a time just enough to bring it to a thick dough as I have shown in the picture above.
This recipe does not need much water, This is key in getting the pakoras crispy.
Heat oil in a deep pan, To test the oil if it is hot enough put a tiny piece of the dough if it bubbles and rises to the top then the oil is ready.
Use a fork or your hands and put small clumps of the dough in the oil . It has to be in a rustic shape like this, This allows the oil to go deeply inside and makes the pakora really crispy. Do not roll it into a smooth ball it doesn’t cook properly.
Once it’s cooked, bubbles around it reduces and you don’t hear much of the sizzling sound , it’s an indication that the pakoras are ready scoop them out of the oil and drain them in paper towels.
Frying it at the right temperature allows the pakoras to crisp up slowly and allows it to keep the fresh green color even after they are fried.
Make sure you keep the oil at the medium flame otherwise it burns the cilantro leaves so quickly.
The aroma of the coriander leaves while this is frying is intoxicating.
What can I say, the amazing aroma of the coriander, the golden brown color and the crispiness is so hard to resist.
You can eat this as just as it is or dip it in a bowl of your favorite sauce or ketchup.
- If you are using canned chickpeas it is very important that you wash and drain them nicely
- Then add all the seasonings and grind it into a smooth paste without adding any water.
- Add couple of teaspoons of all purpose flour to the chopped cilantro and coat it well, this acts as a binder.
- This helps the ground chickpeas stick well to the leaves, Otherwise it separates while frying it.
- Bring it to a thick dough like consistency, Add water only if it is necessary.
- Then deep fry them until they are golden brown.
1. Instead of chickpea flour you can use freshly cooked chickpeas or frozen chickpeas. Make sure you thaw it nicely before you grind it.
2. You can also make this just with All purpose flour, but you don’t get this golden color. I recommend you to use a little bit of corn flour with it so that you get the right texture and color.
3. You can also use Sakthi’s Bajji-Bonda Powder for this recipe, it’s pre mixed with all the spices including the salt. I love this powder but it is so hard to find it here.
4. If you are not a big fan of cilantro, you can also make these pakoras with spinach, kale or parsley it tastes great too .