Tender chicken marinated in a blend of fragrant spices, then coated in a chickpea flour-based batter for that signature mild nutty taste. This Chicken Pakora is then fried until beautifully golden and crisp.
These pakoras are packed with flavour and make a brilliant lunch or crowd-pleasing party food. I'll show you how to make them ahead and ensure they stay lovely and crispy.
These little crispy, spicy bites of chicken are so good and amazingly crispy.
Forget about serving them as a starter. In fact, forget about the rest of dinner. I'll just have a plateful of these dipped in sweet chilli sauce.
I love how the gram flour gives them a mild, nutty taste. Plus it also happens to be gluten-free, so it's a great option if you have gluten-free guests or family members.
They're mild enough for the kids to enjoy. Lewis (aged 10) declared them to be even better than regular fried chicken (which is saying something - I think he could demolish a whole chicken-worth of that if I let him!).
What do we need?
- Chicken thigh fillets - yo can replace with chicken breast fillets if you prefer.
- For the marinade: minced ginger, green chilli, cumin, ground coriander, coriander leaf, chilli flakes, ground fenugreek
- vegetable oil for deep frying
- For the pakora batter you'll need - salt, garlic salt, gram flour (or besan/chickpea/gram flour), cornflour (cornstarch), bicarbonate of soda and water.
How to make Chicken Pakora
Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Mix the chicken thigh pieces with minced ginger, chopped chilli, cumin ground coriander, dried coriander leaf, chilli flakes and ground fenugreek and marinate in the fridge.
- Take the chicken out of the fridge and add salt, garlic salt, gram flour, cornflour and baking soda.
- Mix together to combine, then add in the water a splash at a time until you have a batter about the thickness of double (heavy) cream.
- Deep fry the chicken pakora until the coating is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.
- Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh coriander. Serve with sweet chilli sauce.
How to keep pakoras light and crispy and ensure they don't go hard
- The gram flour can go a little hard if the batter is left to sit too long, so it's important to fry the pakoras right after mixing in the batter.
- Don't let the pakoras sit in the oven for too long after cooking (presuming you're keeping the first batch warm in the oven while you cook the second batch). They can go in the oven for 5 minutes or so whilst you're cooking the second batch, but if you're cooking multiple batches, place on a tray and cover in foil. This will keep them crispy, but will stop them from going hard.
- Be sure to include the bicarbonate of soda and cornflour (cornstarch) in the recipe. It helps to lighten the pakoras, and helps to ensure they're crispy rather than having a heavy, thick crunch.
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Chicken Pakora Recipe
- 6 chicken thigh fillets - chopped into bite-size pieces (approx 500g/1.1lb)
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 green chilli - finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp dried coriander leaf
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp ground fenugreek
- vegetable oil for deep frying - approx. 3-4 cups (720-960ml)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic salt
- 100 g (1 ¼ cups) gram flour - also known as chickpea flour or besan
- 1 tbsp cornflour - cornstarch
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda - (baking soda)
- 180 ml (¾ cup) water
- fresh coriander
- sweet chilli sauce
- Place the chicken thigh pieces in a bowl.6 chicken thigh fillets
- Add the minced ginger, chopped chilli, cumin ground coriander, dried coriander leaf, chilli flakes, and ground fenugreek. Mix together to coat the chicken, then cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.1 tbsp minced ginger, 1 green chilli, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tbsp dried coriander leaf, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1 tsp ground fenugreek
- Heat the oil in a wok or large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. You need at least 3 inches of oil but do ensure the pan or wok is less than half full of oil as you don’t want it to bubble over.vegetable oil for deep frying
- Take the chicken out of the fridge and sprinkle on the salt, garlic salt, gram flour, cornflour, and baking soda.½ tsp salt, ½ tsp garlic salt, 100 g (1 ¼ cups) gram flour, 1 tbsp cornflour, ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Mix together to combine, then add in the water a splash at a time until you have a batter about the thickness of double (heavy) cream. You may not need all of the water.180 ml (¾ cup) water
- Test the heat of the oil by dropping a little blob of the batter in the wok. It should sizzle and rise to the top.
- Add the chicken into the oil, one piece at a time, using a set of tongs. You will need to work in 2 batches to ensure the pan isn’t overcrowded.
- Fry for 4-5 minutes until the coating is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.
- Keep the first batch warm in a warm oven (approx. 130C/250F (fan)) whilst the second batch is cooking.
- Once all of the chicken pakoras are cooked, place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with fresh coriander.fresh coriander
- Serve with sweet chilli sauce.sweet chilli sauce
To reheat, place the pakoras on a baking tray in a single layer and cover in foil. Place in the oven at 190C/375F for 10 minutes, or until piping hot throughout. If you find they coating has softened a little, cook in the oven for a further 2 minutes with the foil removed. Can I freeze them? Yes, cook the pakoras, then cool, cover and freeze.
Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat as per the make-ahead instructions above. How to scale up and scale down this recipe You can halve or double the recipe, keeping to the same ratios. However, if you are doubling the recipe, it's worth noting that the recipe will take longer, as you'll have to cook it in 4 batches. Nutritional information is per serving and is approximate. I've estimated that approx ⅓ cup of oil will be absorbed during the cooking process. You make find your pakoras absorb a little more or a little less.
Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.