Eggplant/ baingan pakora is a classic fritter in which thin slices of eggplant are dunked in a spiced gram flour batter and fried till golden. Enjoy this vegan and gluten-free snack any time of the day!
Pakora is like the Indian tempura. It's a fritter made with vegetables like onions, cauliflower, potatoes, spinach, or any vegetable you can think of. But instead of white all-purpose flour, the batter is made with gram/ chickpea flour, which makes the pakoras gluten-free.
Pakoras are popular not only in India but also in countries influenced by Indian cultures, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, etc.
In South India, baingan pakora is also popularly known as brinjal bajji. In Bengal, it goes by the name beguni. In UK, they are popular as aubergine fritters. It's a popular street-style food with regional variations. You can make this delicious fritter with small or large eggplants.
You can make eggplant Pakoda for your loved ones in any season, but they will love it the most during the rainy and snowy days! This pakoda recipe, made with eggplant, gram flour, and a few spices, will undoubtedly leave you craving more.
If you are not a fan of eggplant, you must try this recipe. I bet you will ask for more. And you always have other fritter recipes to enjoy - potato pakora, paneer pakora, cauliflower pakora, and onion pakora.
The best part of this pakora recipe is how soft it is inside and quite crunchy on the exterior, creating a melt-in-your-mouth sensation.
- Eggplant: This is the main ingredient. Use a variety of eggplant that is firm and contains fewer seeds. Depending on the eggplant, you can either cut long or circular slices of approximately ½ cm thickness. Remember to clean and wash the eggplant and check for any worms when slicing.
- Gram Flour (Besan): Use fresh and good-quality gram flour. This is easily available at the Indian grocery store, or you can purchase it on Amazon.
- Spices: You need a few basic spices like - Kashmiri red chili powder, cumin (jeera) powder, turmeric (Haldi) powder, and coriander (dhaniya) powder and salt.
- Chaat Masala: A dash of chaat masala on the eggplant pakoras as a garnish lends a unique tangy taste! You can buy it at the Indian store or on Amazon.
- Oil: Use any vegetable oil with a high smoking point for deep frying the fritters.
How To Make Eggplant Pakora
Making these eggplant pakoras is easy, and the process is similar to other pakoras, where the battered eggplant is deep fried.
Make the batter
Add all the batter ingredients, including besan and spices to a bowl. Add little water as needed to make a thick flowing batter. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
Pro-tip: In case you are in a hurry, and don't have time to let the batter rest, add a pinch of baking soda to the batter. This will make the pakoras crunchy.
Prep the Eggplant
Wash and dry the eggplant. Cut the eggplant into thin slices. Sprinkle the spices - salt, Kashmiri red chili powder, chaat masala, and cumin powder. Mix well.
Fry the pakoras
Heat oil in a kadai or deep fryer on medium-high flame. You can use any neutral-tasting oil with a high smoking point. To coat each side, take each eggplant slice and dip it in the batter evenly. Add carefully in the medium hot oil.
Fry till the eggplant fritters are golden and crisp on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to turn them a few times while they cook evenly. Using a slotted spoon, remove the baingan pakoras and transfer them to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Serve the eggplant pakora hot or warm with Indian green chutney or tomato ketchup. Sprinkle some chaat masala, and enjoy.
- Pick fresh and firm eggplant that is of good quality and has few seeds.
- Slice the eggplant thinly and evenly; if you do not, it may not become crisp and remain undercooked on the inside.
- Traditionally, the batter is made with only gram flour. However you can add 1-2 tablespoons of rice flour as this makes the pakoras crunchy, while keeping them gluten-free.
- Make a thick flowing consistency batter. If the batter is too thin, it will absorb too much oil while frying. If the batter is too thick, then the pakoras will be doughy and won't taste as good.
- Add finely chopped green chili and cilantro leaves for extra heat and flavor.
- You can make Beguni - Add nigella seeds and some rice flour to the gram flour batter. Then follow the same process to fry the eggplant fritters.
How to Serve?
These pakoras are versatile and can be served as a part of any meal - breakfast, lunch, tea, or dinner!
Eggplant fritters are an ideal snack for a rainy day or during the winter to be enjoyed with some masala chai.
Bengalis relish it as a side dish with Khichuri (Khichadi) or with daal-bhath (rice-dal)
A yogurt-based garlic dipping sauce when served with eggplant fritters takes this dish to the next level.
Tomato ketchup is the go-to accompaniment if you do not have any chutney or dipping sauce handy.
I won't advise storing them because they get greasy and soggy. Eggplants, when kept for a long time, do not store well and kind of become mushy.
They are incredibly simple to make, so make them right before you want to eat and serve them hot.
Commonly Asked Questions
What variety of eggplant should I use?
You can use long, small, or large round eggplants but make sure they are firm and lightweight with fewer seeds. I do prefer the large round ones when I am making these pakoras.
How to get rid of bitterness from eggplant?
If you are worried the eggplant might be bitter, it is a good idea to soak the eggplant slices in salted water for 10-15 minutes before using them in your recipe. Make sure the eggplant is completely dry after you drain the water. Use paper towels to soak any extra liquid and dry the eggplants
How can you prevent eggplant pakoras from soaking up oil?
Before making the pakoras, remove any excess moisture and thoroughly coat it with the batter to prevent it from absorbing oil. The pakora will also absorb much oil if the batter is too thin. Pat dry with a paper towel and use as per recipe.
The eggplant pakoras will absorb more oil if the frying temperature is too low. So make sure the oil is on medium-high and heated well before frying the pakoras.
More Eggplant Recipes
Eggplant Pakora (Baingan Pakora)
For Gram Batter
- 1 cup Gram flour (Besan)
- ½ teaspoon Salt adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon Coriander powder (Dhaniya powder)
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Turmeric (Haldi powder)
- ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cumin (Jeera powder)
- ½ teaspoon Chaat masala
- ⅓ cup Water plus more as needed to make the batter
- In a bowl, add all the batter ingredients including besan and spices. Add little water as needed to make a thick flowing batter. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes. (See notes if you have less time)
- Wash and dry the eggplant. Cut the eggplant into this slices. Sprinkle the spices just before you are ready to fry the eggplant - salt, Kashmiri red chili powder, chaat masala and cumin powder. Mix well.
- Heat oil in a kadai or deep fryer on medium-high flame. You can use any neutral tasting oil with a high smoking point.Take each eggplant slice and dip in the batter evenly to coat each side. Add carefully in the medium hot oil.
- Fry till the eggplant fritters are golden and crisp on all sides. Use a slotted spoon to turn them few times while they cook evenly. Using a slotted spoon, remove the baingan pakoras and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil.
- Serve the eggplant pakora hot or warm with Indian green chutney or tomato ketchup. Sprinkle some chaat masala, and garnish with cilantro leaves.
Note: Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.