Pakoray can easily be our national snack and we look for excuses to have more pakoras in our lives. It is a must iftar item during Ramadaan. When it rains, everyone make some quick pakoray and post pictures online. It is a very common street food all around the year and people turn this humble snack into a complete meal by having it with naan. It has few ingredients from start to finish, doesn’t require much skills to make, goes well with all vegetables by coating them, naturally gluten free and the best thing is the fact that it is very “forgiving” …. a little adjustment in the recipe won’t effect the outcome plus everyone has their own way of making it. It is all acceptable. I did a long and detailed post on perfecting this simple snack and you can find the post here. Do check it out and nail all sorts of pakora every single time.
Besides onion, cauliflower, egg plant, potato, green chilli, spinach or any other vegetable for that matter, you can make cottage cheese pakoray. Locally cottage cheese is known as paneer and those paneer pakoras are simply delicious! Since we are doing chicken pakoray, lets talk about that first. So we moved to a new city which has its own culinary heritage and at a local eatery these chicken pakoray are served as appetizer. My kids went all goo goo ga ga over these crispy golden bites. For reasons unknown I ended up saying, hey! theses are regular, simple pakoray.. anyone can make these. Everyone’s focus shifted towards me with their mouth stuffed with pakoras and with great relief and satisfaction they were like sure mom! we can have them tomorrow after school. Me and my big fat mouth (as Bugs Bunny would say!) Why o why I volunteered! I was still wishful that by the next morning they would have forgotten about this one sided commitment but of course they didn’t. While leaving for school they nonchalantly mentioned how happy they would be when they get back from school and an unlimited supply of chicken pakoray would greet them. Well, having a mother like me, I can’t blame them for thinking and dreaming about food all the time. Long story short, their wish came true and it was an instant hit…. just don’t ask how many times I have made these pakoray since that day.
Use chicken breast as they cook quickly, cut in small pieces for the recipe. Size does matter. Big chunks would not cook through when the outer coating of batter fries to perfection. Chicken pieces are marinated to keep them flavorful, juicy and tender during the frying. Batter is usual with chickpea flour/ gram flour/ baisin (in Urdu) and seasonings but keep it mild unlike regular plain pakoray or vegetable pakoray otherwise it would be too much of everything unless you prefer it that way. This is the beauty of desi cooking, you get to do what you like 🙂 Few points to remember though:
- Rest the batter for at least 20-30 minutes.
- There should be ample oil in the wok for pakoray to properly deep fry.
- Watch the oil temperature carefully, it should be hot enough that when you put a pakora in the oil it should come to the surface within 3-4 seconds.
- Do not over crowd the wok with too many pakoray at the same time.
- Maintain the oil temperature throughout the frying process.
- Keep flipping and moving the pakoray after every 20-30 seconds to ensure even browning and cooking.
- Do not lower the flame while taking the fried and cooked pakoray out of the wok.
- Put fried pakoray in a wire basket to keep them crispy. Placing on tissue or kitchen towel will make them soggy.
- Never ever re-fry pakoray.
For more tips and suggestions check out Pakora Perfection post.
Chicken Pakoray (Chicken Fritters)
An all time favorite desi fritters get an upgrade! Perfect for any occasion and time.
- For Chicken Marination
- 400 gm chicken boneless breast, cut into bite size pieces (washed and drained well)
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- ¾-1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- For The Batter
- 1½ cup chickpea flour/gram flour/ baisin in Urdu (see notes)
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp garam masala powder
- ⅛ tsp baking soda (not baking powder)
- ¾ tsp white cumin seeds
- water to make batter
- oil to deep fry
In a medium bowl combine chicken with all marination ingredients.
Make sure chicken pieces are well drained and there is no water before marinating them.
Cover and refrigerate.
In another mixing bowl combine gram flour/ baisin with all seasonings.
Stir with a whisk.
Gradually add water to form batter. Don't keep it too thick as it will form a thick coating over chicken pieces. It should cover the pieces and excess should drip easily.
Cover loosely and leave to rest on the counter for about 30 minutes.
For frying, heat oil in a wok over medium flame. Take the chicken out of the fridge
To check if oil is at the right temperature, put a little drop of batter in to the oil. If it isn't hot enough, batter will sink. If it is hot enough the batter drop will quickly come up to the oil surface and float.
Take a piece of marinated chicken, dip in the batter, shake a little to remove extra batter. We don't need a thick coating.
Carefully put the chicken pakora is the wok.
Working quickly (and carefully) pick one chicken piece at a time, dip in batter, shake to remove excess and put in oil. Do not over crowd the wok, work in batches for even frying.
Fry for about 3-4 minutes, flipping and moving the pakoray around after 20-30 seconds intervals.
When well golden brown, remove pakoray with a slotted spoon and place in a wire basket.
Repeat till all chicken pieces are fried.
Serve hot with preferred chutney.
Adjust the spices as you prefer.
Depending on how thick or thin the battery is, you might need more or less of chickpea flour /gram flour/ baisin.
Resting the batter will minimize the oil absorption.