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Paneer Pakora

Bite into a crispy, hot Paneer Pakora and it’s not hard to see why this north Indian snack is so popular. Pieces of tender paneer are batter fried to a crispy, crunchy golden brown.

low angle shot of a plate of paneer pakoras with sliced red onions and green chutney in the background.

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Paneer Pakora batter is made from gram flour (besan or chickpea flour) and seasoned with chaat masala, making them irresistible. These Paneer Pakora are a vegetarian version of my delicious Chicken Pakora.

These Paneer Pakoras are a great starter or snack. I love to serve them with a spicy Cilantro Mint Chutney and crunchy Kachumber Salad.

Pakora are essentially batter-fried paneer cubes, whether made of chicken, fish, shrimp, veggies, or the Indian fresh cheese paneer. They’re

Overhead shot of cheese pakoras with cilantro mint chutney, spicy red chutney, and sliced red onions on the side.

You can make Paneer Pakora in less than 30 minutes, too! They are super easy to make and perfect for those monsoon days when you want to eat something hot, crispy, and delicious.

I love to make Paneer Pakora using Homemade Paneer, but you can also use store-bought paneer that you can get at any Indian market.

The batter used to make crispy Paneer Pakora, and other pakora recipes, is made with chickpea flour (also called besan or gram flour), which you can buy in any Indian market or online. Chickpea flour is naturally gluten free, too, so this is a gluten-free snack!

The pakora batter is beautifully spiced with turmeric, chaat masala, and Kashmiri chili.

Overhead shot of the ingredients needed to make paneer pakoras.

What are paneer pakora made of?

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

This crispy Paneer Pakora recipe doesn’t require too many ingredients and all but a few are likely in your pantry already or are easy to find in your regular supermarket. Here’s what you need:

  • Paneer—This Indian cheese is a fresh cheese, with a mild flavor. You can easily make Homemade Paneer or you can buy paneer in any Indian market. It’s often called Indian cottage cheese. and many supermarkets. Either way, you’ll use paneer cubes or sticks as the basis of the pakora.
  • Chickpea flour—You can buy besan or gram flour in any Indian market. You can increasingly find chickpea flour in the gluten-free baking supply section of your regular supermarket.
  • Cornstarch or rice flour—This helps make the coating nice and crisp and golden brown. Rice flour will make it especially crisp while cornstarch will help get a nice golden brown color.
  • Spices—I use chaat masala, a spice mixture that usually contains tangy green mango powder, spicy Kashmiri chili, cumin, coriander, black pepper, and ginger. I also add salt, Kashmiri chili powder for an extra kick, and turmeric for color.
  • Baking soda—Just a pinch of baking soda keeps the batter light and crisp.
  • Water—Use ice cold water. This will keep your batter crisp and also reduce the amount of oil that the fritters absorb during cooking.
  • Oil—Any high smoke point oil will do. You can use avocado oil, peanut oil, canola oil, safflower oil, etc. You’ll need enough for deep frying.

How do you make it?

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

  • Make the chickpea flour batter: Combine the besan/gram flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and water. The will be like a thin pancake batter.
  • Heat the oil: Fill a heavy, high-sided saucepan with about 4 inches of oil and heat over high heat until it shimmers.
  • Batter the paneer cubes: Dunk the paneer cubes into the batter, coating them well.
  • Deep fry: Drop the coated paneer pieces into the hot oil and deep fry in batches. Cook until the fritters are dark golden brown all over.
  • Drain: Transfer the cooked pakoras to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
  • Serve: Serve hot with Cilantro Mint Chutney or other green chutney and Tamarind Chutney. Sprinkle the crispy Paneer Pakora with chaat masala and/or chopped cilantro, if desired.
Low angle shot of a plate of paneer pakoras.

more indian recipes you’ll love

If you love these cheese pakoras, you’ll also love Chicken Pakora. They can be served with the same delicious Cilantro Mint Chutney.

If you’re looking for more ideas for how to use paneer, try Palak Paneer or Instant Pot Palak Paneer.

Other favorite Indian recipes include Tandoori Chicken, Instant Pot Chicken Biryani, Chicken 65, and Mulligatawny Soup.

Yield: Serves 6

Paneer Pakora

Overhead shot of Paneer Pakoras with cilantro mint chutney and red chile paste on the side.

This popular Indian snack is totally irresistible. Pieces of tender paneer are batter fried to a crispy, crunchy golden brown.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ pound paneer cubes or batons
  • 1 cup besan (gram flour)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch or rice flour
  • ½ teaspoon chaat masala
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground Kashmiri chili
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup water
  • Oil for frying 

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the besan, cornstarch, chaat masala, turmeric, chile powder, salt, and baking soda, and stir to mix. Add the water and stir until well combined and smooth. The batter should be about the consistency of a thin pancake batter.
  2. Fill a heavy-bottomed saucepan with about 3 to 4 inches of oil and heat over high heat.
  3. When the oil begins to shimmer, reduce the heat to medium.
  4. Dunk the paneer pieces into the batter to coat them well and then drop them into the oil. Cook in batches to avoid crowding the pan.
  5. Cook the pakora in the hot oil for about 6 to 8 minutes, turning as needed, until dark golden brown.
  6. Transfer the cooked pakoras to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle chaat masala if desired.
  7. Serve hot.

Notes

You can sprinkle with chaat masala and/or chopped cilantro for serving.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 296Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 26mgSodium 682mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 12g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on August 15th, 2022

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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