Pakora (pronounced [pəˈkoːɽaː]), also called pakoda, pakodi, fakkura, bhajiya, bhajji or ponako, is a fried snack (fritter). Originally from the Indian subcontinent, it is a popular snack across the Indian subcontinent, especially in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
Some divergence of transliteration may be noted in the third consonant in the word. The sound is a hard 'da' in the Telugu language and the 'ra' sound would be an incorrect pronunciation. The sound is the retroflex flap [ɽ], which is written in Hindi with the Devanagari letter ड़, and in Urdu with letter ڑ.
However, in the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration, the Hindi letter ड़ is transliterated as <ṛ>, popular or non-standard transliterations of Hindi use <d> for this sound, because etymologically, it derives from ड /ɖ/. The occurrence of this consonant in the word pakora has given rise to two common alternative spellings in English: pakoda, which reflects its etymology, and pakora, which reflects its phonology.
In India, particularly in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, such preparations are known as bajji rather than pakora. Usually, the name of the vegetable that is deep-fried is suffixed with bajji. For instance, potato bajji is sliced potato wrapped in batter and deep-fried. In such states, pakoda is taken to mean a mix of finely chopped onions, green chilis, and spices mixed in gram flour. This is then rolled into small balls or sprinkled straight in hot oil and deep-fried. Pakodas are very crisp on the outside and medium soft to crisp inside. There is a variety that is softer overall, usually termed media pakoda in restaurants, that is made from any other ingredient, such as potatoes.
Pakoras are popular across South Asia and Great Britain (particularly in Scotland). They are sometimes served in a yogurt-based gravy (curry), as a main dish pakora curry, rather than as a separate snack. In this case, the pakoras are generally doughier and are made from chopped potato, onion, and chili mixed into the batter, instead of individual fried vegetable slices.
Pakora are encountered in Afghan cuisine. In Bengal it is most commonly known as pakuṛa or pakoṛa while in Sylhet they are known as fakkura. In China and Nepal, they are called pakoda and pakauda, respectively. In Somalia, they are known as bajiye.
Pakoras are created by taking one or two ingredients, such as onion, eggplant, potato, spinach, plantain, paneer, cauliflower, tomato, or chili pepper. They are also occasionally prepared with bread, buckwheat, groundnut, fish, or chicken. They are dipped in a batter made from gram flour and then deep-fried. The most popular varieties include pyaaz pakora, made from onion, and aloo pakora, made from potato. Other variations include paalak pakora, made from spinach, and paneer pakora, made from paneer (soft cottage cheese). When onions, on their own, are prepared in the same way, they are known as onion bajji. A variation of pakora made from wheat flour, salt, and tiny bits of potato or onion (optional), is called noon bariya (nūn = salt) (Hindi: नूनबरिया), typically found in eastern Uttar Pradesh in India.
Pakoras are usually served as a snack or appetiser. In Great Britain, pakoras are popular as a fast food snack, available in Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani restaurants. They are also often served with chai to guests arriving to attend Indian wedding ceremonies, and are usually complemented with tamarind chutney, raita, brown sauce, or ketchup.
Buckwheat Pakora, which are made during Hindu fasting seasons and holidays.
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