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Onion Pakora
Alternative namesPakoda, pikora, bhajiya, pakodi, ponako, pakura, fakkura, phulauri, bora, chop
CourseAppetizer or snack
Place of originIndian subcontinent[1][2][3]
Region or stateIndian Subcontinent
Associated cuisine
Main ingredients
  • Vegetables
  • Gram Flour
  • Spices
  • Onions
  • Potato
  • Eggplant
  • Onion
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Paneer
  • Chicken
Similar dishesKyet thun kyaw

Pakora (pronounced [pəˈkɔːɽa]) is a fritter originating from the Indian subcontinent. They are sold by street vendors and served in restaurants in South Asia.[5] It consists of ingredients, often vegetables such as potatoes and onions, coated in seasoned gram flour batter and deep fried.

The pakora is known also under other spellings including pikora, pakoda, pakodi and regional names such as bhaji, bhajiya, bora, ponako, and chop.


The word pakoṛā is derived from Sanskrit पक्ववट pakvavaṭa,[6] a compound of pakva ('cooked') and vaṭa ('a small lump') or its derivative vaṭaka, 'a round cake made of pulse fried in oil or ghee'.[7] The word Bhajji is derived from the Sanskrit word Bharjita meaning fried.[8]

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 the letter ڑ.

However, in the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration, the Hindi letter ड़ is transliterated as <>, 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.


An early variation of pakora appears in Sanskrit literature and Tamil Sangam literature but the recipe is not clearly provided as they only mention it as 'a round cake made of pulse fried in oil' and 'crispy fried vegetables' which were served as part of the meals.[9][10] Early known recipes come from Manasollasa (1130 CE) cookbook which mentions "Parika" (pakoda) and the method of preparing it with vegetables and gram flour.[11] Lokopakara (1025 CE) cookbook also mentions unique pakora recipe where gram flour is pressed into fish-shaped moulds and fried in mustard oil.[12]


Pakoras are made by coating ingredients, usually vegetables, in a spiced batter, and then deep frying them.

Common varieties of pakora use onion, masoor dal (lentil),[13] suji (semolina),[14] chicken, arbi root and leaves, eggplant, potato, chili pepper, spinach, paneer, cauliflower, mint, plantain or baby corn.[15]

The batter is most commonly made with gram flour or a mixture of gram flour and rice flour but variants can use other flours, such as buckwheat flour. The spices used in the batter are up to the cook and may be chosen due to local tradition or availability; often these include fresh and dried spices such as chilli, fenugreek and coriander.


Pakoras are eaten as a snack or appetiser, often accompanied by chutney or raita. They are also offered with masala chai to guests at Indian wedding ceremonies.

Regional names[edit]

A gram flour fritter is known in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka as Pakoda or bajji, Gujarat as bhajia, in Maharashtra as bhaji, in Andhra Pradesh/Telangana and Karnataka as bajji or "Pakodi". Pakoda may be interpreted in these states as deep fried balls of finely chopped onions, green chilis, and spices mixed in gram flour.


See also[edit]

  • Bhaji – Deep fried fritters served as fast food in India, Pakistan and the Caribbean
  • Bread pakora – Indian deep-fried snack
  • Haggis pakora – Scottish snack food of haggis ingredients prepared as pakoras
  • Pholourie – Fried, spiced dough balls
  • Samosa – Fried or baked pastry with a savoury filling
  • Vada – Category of savoury fried snacks from India


  1. ^ "Pakora - food". Britannica.com. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  2. ^ Bloom, Leora Y. (10 May 2016). "Pakoras are tasty, versatile treats from the Indian subcontinent that work well as appetizers, snacks or meals". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  3. ^ Sanghvi, Vir (18 April 2015). "Take pride in the bonda or pakora. It is our gift to the world". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Hot Pink Puris and Onion Pakoras - the Brightest Snack You've Ever Seen?". 29 August 2013.
  5. ^ Devi, Yamuna (1999). Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian cooking. New York: E. P. Dutton. pp. 447–466, Pakoras: Vegetable Fritters. ISBN 0-525-24564-2.
  6. ^ R. S. McGregor, ed. (1997). The Oxford Hindi-English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 588. ISBN 978-0-19-864339-5.
  7. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1995). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 914. ISBN 81-208-0065-6. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  8. ^ Sanskrit Dictionary-Bharjita https://www.learnsanskrit.cc/translate?search=bharjita&dir=au
  9. ^ Monier-Williams, Monier (1995). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. p. 914. ISBN 81-208-0065-6. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
  10. ^ Food habits as represented in Sangam literature by Ce Namacivayam, 1981
  11. ^ K.T. Achaya (2003). The Story of Our Food. Orient Blackswan. p. 85. ISBN 978-81-7371-293-7.
  12. ^ Feasts and Fasts: A History of Food in India, pg151, Colleen Taylor Sen · 2015
  13. ^ "Masoor Dal Pakora Recipe". www.bharatkirasoi.com. 27 August 2022. Retrieved 9 January 2023.
  14. ^ "Suji Pakora Recipe". 22 September 2022. Retrieved 5 February 2023.
  15. ^ Siddiqi, Kamran (19 May 2016). "Mom's Onion Pakora Recipe". Sophisticated Gourmet. Sophisticated Gourmet. Retrieved 24 May 2020.