Crispy and crunchy on the outside and soft and moist inside, these paneer pakoras are delicious and easy to make. They are perfect with a cup of masala chai and also make great party appetizers. Gluten-free, freezer-friendly, and ready in 10 minutes.
Pakoras, in general, are a popular Indian snack and are often enjoyed with masala chai, especially during the rainy season and winter. There are many types of pakoras made with different vegetables and lentils. Some of the most popular varieties are onion pakora and chicken pakora.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Paneer pakoda has a great combination of flavors and textures. The paneer itself is creamy and soft, while the spiced chickpea flour batter adds a savory taste.
- Paneer pakoras are easy to prepare and the recipe requires basic ingredients. It can be made within a short time, including the preparation and frying process.
- Paneer pakora can be enjoyed in various ways. They make a great snack or appetizer for parties and gatherings and can also be served as a tasty tea-time snack.
Paneer: You can use either store-bought paneer or homemade paneer.
Flour: I am using a mix of two flours - chickpea flour (besan) and rice flour.
Spices: I use chaat masala and chili powder (or cayenne) to coat the paneer. I also use carom seeds (ajwain), ground turmeric, and chili powder for the batter.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Step 1: Cut the paneer into medium-sized cubes and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle chaat masala powder, red chilli powder, and salt. Toss them gently to make sure the paneer is coated with the spices (images 1 and 2).
Step 2: In a large bowl, combine besan, rice flour, carom seeds, spice powders (red chili powder and turmeric powder), and salt. Slowly add water and make a thick and free-flowing gram flour batter. Start with ½ cup of water and add more as needed to get the right consistency (images 3 and 4).
Step 3: Add baking soda and mix again. The batter is ready (images 5 and 6).
Step 4: Heat oil in a deep pan. To check if the oil is ready, take a few drops of batter and pour in the oil. If it immediately floats to the top, the oil is ready (image 7).
Step 5: Dip the paneer pieces in the besan batter, making sure it is well coated (image 8).
Step 6: Carefully slide the paneer into the oil. Repeat with more paneer cubes. However, do not overcrowd the pan (image 9). Carefully flip them using a slotted spoon and fry until both sides are golden brown (image 10).
Step 7: Take them out of hot oil and place the paneer pakora on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Make sure the batter is thick yet free-flowing. If it is too thick, it will not cook well, and if it is too runny, it will not coat the paneer cubes.
Season the paneer cubes first before dipping them in the thick batter. This way, they will not taste bland.
Check if the oil is ready. Take a drop of the batter and pour in the oil. If it immediately floats to the top, the oil is ready. Also, do not overcrowd the pan when deep frying. Depending on the size of the pan, fry them in two or three batches.
Do not disturb the pakoras for one minute after adding to the oil. This allows the coating to set and the paneer to stay intact. Flip them only after that.
Rice flour can be substituted with cornstarch in this recipe. You can also replace paneer in this recipe with halloumi or extra firm tofu.
What to serve with paneer pakora?
Chutneys: Mint coriander chutney and tamarind chutney are popular choices to serve with paneer pakora. Mint chutney adds a refreshing and tangy flavor, while tamarind chutney provides a sweet and tangy taste.
Dips: You can serve paneer pakora with tomato ketchup, spicy tomato dip, schezwan sauce, or any other favorite dip of your choice.
Tea or coffee: Chai pakora is the classic combination and my favorite, particularly on a rainy day. A strong cup of South Indian filter coffee is a perfect combination with this crispy paneer pakoda.
Check out this recipe to make delicious spinach balls recipe.
Yes. They are freezer-friendly and can be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Place them on a tray and freeze them for a few hours first, then transfer to a ziplock pouch and store them.
No. Paneer is made with milk and so this dish is not vegan. For a vegan option, replace paneer with extra firm tofu.
Yes, they can be made ahead of time and reheated. After frying the pakoras, allow them to cool completely and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, reheat them in an oven or
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Marinate the paneer:
- Cut the paneer into medium-sized cubes and place them in a bowl.
- Sprinkle chili powder, chaat masala, and salt.
- Toss them gently to make sure the paneer is coated with the spices.
Make the batter:
- Start with heating oil in a pan or kadhai for deep frying.
- In a large bowl, combine besan, rice flour, carom seeds, chili powder, ground turmeric, and salt. Mix well.
- Slowly add water and make a thick and free-flowing batter. Start with ½ cup of water and add more as needed.
- Add baking soda and mix again. The batter is ready.
Fry the pakoras:
- Check if the oil is ready. Take a drop of the batter and pour in the oil. If it immediately floats to the top, the oil is ready.
- Reduce the heat to medium.
- Dip the paneer cube in the batter making sure it is well coated.
- Carefully slide the paneer into the oil.
- Repeat with more paneer cubes, however, do not overcrowd the pan.
- Do not disturb for one minute.
- Carefully flip and fry until both sides are golden brown.
- Take them out and drain them on a paper towel.
- Serve with chutney, ketchup or dip of your choice.