These non-fried pakoras are a dream come true. Using only two tablespoons of olive oil, these come out super crispy and taste amazing.
I still remember the evening when I was desperately searching on the internet for a healthier version of pakoras. It was more than 10 years ago. My husband was recently diagnosed with fatty liver and I did not want to deep fry my pakoras. I was unable to find a single recipe that gave results that I was looking for. So I decided to experiment and create my own recipe. I tried and failed many time until I discovered one that worked perfectly. This Baked Pakora recipe was one of the first ones I shared when I started my blog because I knew how many people needed it.
The one shared above is for classic (onion) pakoras. I keep getting asked whether it is possible to make baked pakoras using other veggies. So I did some more experiments and sharing this one today using a mix of veggies that are: aubergine, pepper and spinach.
Ramadan Classics with a Healthier Twist
I believe in eating mindfully, more so during Ramadan. To maximise the benefits of fasting one should not over indulge and should avoid unhealthy foods. Deep fried food items, sugary drinks and desserts are poor choices. A healthy and well balanced diet will keep you fit and energetic even when you are fasting. But sometimes there are cravings for the food items that you grew up eating for iftar. Keeping that in mind, I have come up with four Ramadan classics that are made in a healthier way so you can enjoy them mindfully. Check this space on Friday afternoons for a new recipe.
Ingredients At a Glance
Baked Pakora FAQs:
- What Veggies will work for this recipe? Aubergines, pimento peppers, spinach and onion (as instructed in today’s recipe). Other veggies that may work are zucchini, broccoli and chilies. I have not tried the latter yet, so I cannot guarantee if they will work. I tried cauliflower and that did not work for me.
- Can I completely leave out the veggies and make pakoras using the batter only? The veggies are there to provide a base for the pakoras. The batter coats the veggies and then they’re baked to achieve a crispy texture. If you are not eliminating veggies, you will have to use some kind of mould to form the pakoras. I am not sure if those will come out crispy and how long they will take.
- Can I make these ahead of time or freeze? Pakoras taste best fresh out of the oven. I would not recommend making them more than an hour ahead of time, because they will go soggy when kept for too long. Transfer them immediately onto a wired rack to keep the crunch after taking them out of the oven. I will also not recommend to freeze them because they will loose their texture.
- Can I make these in an air-fryer? I don’t see a reason why this recipe would not work for an air fryer. As I do not own one, I can’t give instruction on the temperature and time settings.
- Can I make them without parchment paper by just greasing the baking tray? They might stick onto the baking tray. If you grease it well, it may work.
- Can I use any other oil? Tried and tested ones for me are olive oil, mustard oil and unrefined rapeseed oil.
- Can I replace baking soda with baking powder? Both of these have different effects. For best results, use baking soda (in Germany available as Kaiser Natron).
If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment below. I will get back to you.
Watch the video instructions to easily follow the recipe:
Crispy Baked Mixed Veg Pakoras
- 1 big aubergine
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 medium red onion
- 20 gm (1 cups) spinach
- a handful fresh coriander
- 1-2 green chilies
- 140 grams (1 cup) besan (gram flour)
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 150 ml (½ cup) water
- 5-6 pimento peppers (or chilies of choice)
- ½ lime (or lemon)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Slice the aubergines in moderately thick slices. Place them onto a tray in a single layer and sprinkle generously with salt. Flip and repeat on the other side. Let it rest for about 15 minutes. It will release some moisture. Dab it off lightly using a kitchen towel. Keep aside.
- Chop the spinach in long stands. Slice the onion in thin slices. Finely chop the coriander and green chili/es. Keep aside.
- Take a bog bowl. Place a big sieve onto it. Add the besan, turmeric powder,red chili powder, salt and baking soda. Sift it thoroughly. Break lumps using a spatula if needed.
- Gradually add the water while mixing with a whisk. Mix until a smooth paste is formed. The consistency should neither be too runny, nor too thick. It should be somewhat thick like honey.
- Set the oven to preheat (top and bottom rods) at 180℃. Prepare an oven dish by lining it with a parchment paper. Using a brush, spread a thin coating of olive oil all over the lined tray (onto the parchment paper).
- Dip the aubergine slices one by one into the batter. Wipe off the excess batter leaving a thin and even layer onto the aubergine slices. Place them in a single layer onto the lined baking tray.
- Coat the peppers with a thin layer of batter and place them onto the tray.
- (If tray is full already, then bake in batches). Into the remaining batter, add the chopped onion, spinach, coriander and green chili. Squeeze juice of lime. Mix thoroughly. The vegetables should be coated with the batter but the consistency should not be runny. If your batter is too wet, add some more besan (and season with salt).
- Place small amounts of batter into the lined (and greased) baking tray to form pakoras. Leave some space between each pakora.
- Put the trays into the oven and bake on 180℃ for 30 minutes (in total).
- After 10 minutes, take the tray out and brush with some olive oil. Put it back into the oven.
- After another 10 minutes, take the tray out again and flip all the pakoras. Brush with olive oil on the other side as well and put it back into the oven.
- After the final 10 minutes, take the pakoras out from the oven. If you are not serving them immediately, transfer them onto a wired rack to keep them crunchy.
- Serve with spicy mint and coriander chutney.