Onion pakora is crunchy, deep-fried onions coated with besan and seasoned with Indian spices. They can be air-fried for a healthier snack with a similar texture, using very little oil. Onion pakora adapts very well to the air fryer, but you can also use this recipe for deep-fried pakora.
About the Recipe
Onion pakora is typical, in my home at least and on the streets of Bombay, made differently than other pakoras. The main difference is that little to no water is added.
Instead, the water that is used to form the batter comes from the onions themselves. This way, they become much crunchier than typical, more spongy pakoras.
Air Fryer Version
It’s a fantastic snack made significantly healthier with the use of the air fryer. It’s tasty, and quick. It takes just a few minutes to put together. And just a few, very little active work effort.
Deep Fryer Version
Everything up to the cooking is the same between the air fryer version of this pakora and the deep-fried version.
To deep-fry pakora, heat the oil to a hot temperature – about 375°F. Test by dropping a little in, it should rise right away. Drop the pakora in the hot oil using a fork or your fingers. Fry until they are golden brown.
Besan – the pakora flour. It’s not pakora without besan. Besan gives it a flavor and a softness.
Salt – used to sweat the onions. Use everyday salt. I like sea salt. Do not skimp on the salt because the onion needs to sweat. If you decide to reduce the salt you may need to add a little water.
Turmeric and Green Chili – other pakoras tend to have more spices, often carom, garam masala, and red chili powder. For this one, spices are kept minimal to focus on the flavor of the onion.
Onions – traditionally use red onions, these are the most common in India, and Indian food. But you can use whatever onions you have.
Water – The batter should be more paste-like than batter-like. If you sweat the onions enough, you may not even need to add water. Don’t add any more than two tablespoons of water.
Semolina or Rava (Optional) – Adds crunch. My mom always adds it. I leave it out because I like to keep my recipes and ingredients simpler, and I don’t find it necessary. If you use it, add one tablespoon and do not reduce the besan. You may need to add a little bit of water, do not add too much. Your batter should be a thick paste that holds together.
How to Serve Pakora
Many families make pakora on rainy days. Pakora is traditional “rain food.” They are also a great snack to serve guests. They may be served with chai or a cocktail, like Chai Bourbon Fizz, or as an appetizer to a meal.
Onion pakora is great when served with green chutney or ketchup.
Onion Pakora | Kanda Bhaji Air Fryer Recipe
- 2 cups onion 1 large onion
- 1 green chili finely chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup besan
- 1 Tbsp rice flour
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- Oil spray
- Mix onions and salt. Allow to rest for 10 minutes so onions release their moisture.
- Add besan and rice flour, stir to coat. Add at most 2 tablespoons of water, only if needed, to form a thick paste.
- Air fry at 350°F for 9-11 minutes, flipping the pakoras halfway through.
Deep Frying: Everything up until cooking is the same between the air fryer version of this pakora and the deep-fried version. To deep-fry pakora, heat the oil to a hot temperature – about 375°F. Test by dropping a little batter in. It should rise right away. Drop the pakora in the hot oil using a fork or your fingers. Fry until they are golden brown.