Diwali recipe: chickpea pakoras

Diwali is all about indulgences. Vegan and gluten free chickpea pakoras are simple and delicious for a party snack, or even a barbecue or night on the couch with a Bollywood film. Yes, they’re deep fried (that’s the indulgence!) but all ingredients are otherwise clean, green, and healthy.

Lee Seabrook-Suckling from the AMC team went along to a Diwali Auckland cooking class, and learned how to make pakoras from scratch. They’re surprisingly easy and take around 20 minutes all up.

Making pakora Diwali in background

Making pakora with the team | Photo: AMC


  • 140g chickpea flour
  • 100-200ml warm water
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (ajwain)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda 
  • 1 large potato, shredded
  • 2 hot chillies, sliced
  • 100g spinach, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 curry leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup oil, for deep frying
  • chaat masala, for sprinkling

    Lee smiling at camera rolling dough

    Lee from AMC getting his hands stuck in | Photo: AMC

How to: 

  1. Sift chickpea flour into a mixing bowl. Add enough warm water to form batter to a thick paste-like consistency. Let it rest for 30 minutes. Add more water if the batter is too stodgy after resting.
  2. Add all other ingredients (except oil) and mix well.
  3. Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan or deep fryer. One heaped tablespoon at a time, drop the batter into hot oil to cover them completely. Be very careful the oil doesn’t spit on your hands as it will burn.
  4. Deep fry for about five minutes until the batter is very crispy and golden, turning with a slotted spoon. Remove and let cool for at least five more minutes.
  5. If you want them extra crispy, double fry the pakoras once dry. Reheat oil and deep-fry again on moderately high heat until brown.
  6. Sprinkle with chaat masala, and serve with mint, coconut, or mango chutney.
    Two volunteers with Pakora

    Volunteers put out a tray of ready-to-eat pakora | Photo: AMC

Check out the Diwali festival in Auckland and attend one of the free cooking classes yourself.

-        Asia Media Centre