Craving some fried chicken? Switch it up with some chicken pakoras! These deep fried nuggets of chicken made with chickpea flour are packed with spices that deliver a medley of flavours that takes fried chicken to another level! Pairs awesomely with a creamy thick sweet and savoury coconut dip, this won’t disappoint!
When I was approached by Haley from Cheap Recipe Blog to participate in an Oscar themed virtual party, I was super thrilled but also a bit nervous! I will be joining Haley and 9 other food bloggers in this challenge to create a recipe that was inspired by our assigned 2017’s Academy Awards nominees for best picture.
- Oscars Signature Cocktail – Double Thyme – Pomegranate Ginger Red Carpet Cocktail
- Moonlight – K&R Adventures – Arroz Con Pollo Rice Balls with Spicy Cilantro Dip
- Hacksaw Ridge – Oatmeal With a Fork – Flourless Muffin Cup Potato Latkes
- Hidden Figures – Femme Fraiche – Galaxy Whoopie Pies
- La La Land – Flour Arrangements – Espresso Star Cookies
- Hell or High Water – The Honour System – Texas Glazed Pecans
- Manchester By The Sea – Dining With Alice – New England Clam Chowder
- Arrival – Pickles Travel – Chocolate Dipped Fruit “Spaceship”
- Fences – Cheap Recipe Blog – Spicy Buttermilk Chicken Bites
I picked the movie Lion. It’s based on a true story. Lion is about a 5 year-old Indian boy named Saroo, who gets lost on the streets of Calcutta (now known as Kolkatta). Stranded in Calcutta, all alone, he wanders the streets unable to speak the dialect, eventually becoming homeless. After a series of challenges of he is sent to an orphanage which is where he gets adopted by a couple in Australia. Fast forward 25 years and Saroo is all grown up now (played by Dev Patel) with a curiosity and drive to find his original family whom he lost 25 years ago. I don’t want to give a way too much if you have never seen it but definitely a heart-warming movie that put tears in my eyes.
While Saroo was lost as a kid, you see a lot of the streets of Calcutta which reminded me a lot of street vendors and street foods. I am a big fan of street vendors and street foods. It’s not always the cleanest food but you can bet its almost always the most interesting and flavourful foods. I had so many ideas for what my recipe for this post would be but it came down to :
- Chicken Pakoras (aka Pakodas) – A fried fritter made of chickpea batter, vegetable and/or a meat in this case, chicken.
- Onion Bhajis – Another fried fritter-like snack made with onions and chickpea batter (are you seeing a patterned of deep fried here? haha).
- Jalebi – A deep fried sweet snack, made by deep frying a fermented maida (a type of wheat flour) batter, and then soaked in a sugar syrup.
- Jhal Muri – A puffed rice snack made with different blends of spices and toppings.
- Panipuri – A puffed hollow crispy ball made wheat flour (pani) drizzled in a sour spiced water (puri) and stuffed with potatoes, chick peas, onions etc. Kinda like an open faced samosa! 🙂
I went for Chicken Pakoras because the meat lover in me took over, but the Jhal Muri came in close for second! but don’t worry I can see myself making them all sometime in the future for the blog because Indian cuisines are one of my fave things.
You should be able to find most ingredients from a local grocery store.
The lesser common items may be : garam masala, tumeric (which are both spices),curry leaves and the besan flour (chick pea flour). You can substitute the chick pea flour with all purpose flour but you will miss out on the texture and flavour it provides, which is a sweeter nuttier flavour with a more soft and spongy dough.
Note: There are affiliate links to these items to make it easier for you to find the less common items. I would never recommend to you something I wouldn’t use myself or I don’t think highly of.
With pakoras you can play around with the spices if they are harder to find but you absolutely cannot omit the ginger, garlic, lemon juice and cumin, else you will lose a lot of nice flavours. Fresh curry leaves also adds a lot of great flavours but may be hard to find, but in most cases these will be available at a local Indian grocery store.
I highly recommend using dark meat for this recipe. It makes a juicier and more flavourful pakora.
Creamy Coconut Dip:
Most items can be bought at the local grocery store for the coconut dip.
Traditionally, I would be making a proper coconut chutney made with fresh coconut (or frozen) curry leaves, ginger, spices & chillis but for this recipe I thought I’d have a bit more fun with the dip and give it a more Asian twist to it!
For this dip, I opted to use coconut cream instead of coconut milk.
I find coconut cream, creamier and a WHOLE lot flavourful. You can actually taste the coconut flavour and it is slightly sweeter.
Coconut cream’s texture is completely different than coconut milk, that it is textured like a soften butter and not as liquidy.
If you cannot find this, you can use coconut milk in its place but you will lose a bit of the coconut flavour and the texture may be a bit watery so you can add 1-2 tablespoons of dried unsweetned coconut to absorb the excess liquid and thicken up the sauce.
You can use soy sauce or fish sauce as the salt element when making this dip and tune it up or down to adjust the saltiness to how you like it. For myself I wanted the natural sweetness of the coconut cream to shine through so I used less fish sauce.
Tip #1 : Add a few teaspoons of water or milk to water down the dip if you find it too thick.
Tip #2 : Completely optional, but add 1 tablespoon of dried unsweetened coconut to add a bit of texture!
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
For the chicken, use boneless dark meat. Cut them up into bite sized chunks and put it in a bowl with sliced onions, garlic, ginger, lemon juice and spices.
I highly recommend you marinate this overnight but if you’re in a rush you could get away with marinating it for a few hours.
When you are ready to deep fry this, add in the egg, corn/potato starch and chick pea flour with the water into the chicken mixture.
The batter should have the consistency of a thick paste so that the onions and chicken stick together better during deep frying. If your batter feels too watery, add some more chick pea flour (a tablespoon at a time), but if your batter feels too dry then add water 1 tablespoon at a time.
Set your deep fryer to 350F (176C) or medium heat over the stove top and put small dallops of the chicken onion mixture into the oil to form small fritters. Cook for approximately 8 minutes.
Note: The smaller you make the fritters the less time you need to cook them. My fritters were about golf ball sized which cooked fully in 8 minutes. You may need to adjust your cooking time if you are making them different sized.
Tip #3: I like to double fry mine for extra crispiness. To double fry, remove it out of the oil 1-2 minutes earlier and let it sit for 30 seconds, and then put it back into the oil to re-fry it for 1-2 minutes.
For the coconut dipping sauce, just throw it all together and mix! 🙂
Tip #4 : An alternate sauce! I sometimes like using a simple tamarind dipping sauce! If you have tamarind paste or concentrate, combine 1/2 tsp of tamarind concentrate, 6 tablespoons of warm water and 1/2-1 tsp of sugar and voila! Consistency should be watery. 🙂
- 6-8 chicken thighs
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tbsp ginger (minced)
- 3 tbsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 1/2 lemon (juiced) (approx. 2-3 tbsp)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp tumeric
- 1 tbsp chili powder (adjust up if you want it more spicy)
- 20 curry leaves (chopped)
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 egg
- 5 tbsp potato starch (or corn starch)
- 1 cup chick pea flour (besan flour)
- 1/3 cup water (+ additional 2 tbsp)
- 1/2 cup coconut cream
- 1/2 tsp fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 lime (juiced)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 1/2 tsp onion seeds (optional)
- 1 tbsp dried unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
Cut up the chicken into bite sized pieces and put it in a large bowl
Slice up the onions and add it to the bowl
Add in the cumin, garam masala, tumeric, chopped curry leaves, garlic and ginger into the bowl
Add the lemon juice and fish sauce into the bowl
Mix well and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
When you are ready to start cooking the chicken, add in the corn starch, chick pea flour and water and mix until the batter is a thick consistency. You want the batter to stick to the chicken and onions. If the batter is too runny- add some more chick pea flour 1 tablespoon at a time, if the batter is too thick and hard to mix - add in water 1 tablespoon at a time.
Pre-heat oil to 350F (176C). If you are doing it on a stove-top, and don't have a thermometer, it is approximately medium heat (stove top powers vary, adjust accordingly)
Add in the chicken mixture into the oil gently, 1-2 tablespoons at a time, careful to not overcrowd else it will drop the temperature of the oil. (Note: Try to refrain from making too big of a spoonful of chicken. If your pakoras are too big the middle will not cook through and the outside will come out burnt.)
Cook for approximately 8 minutes.
Enjoy fresh with the coconut dip! 🙂
Combine all ingredients together and enjoy with pakoras!
(optional) Adding 1 tablespoon of dried shredded unsweetened coconut will thicken up the dip and give it a bit of texture.
(optional) Adding 1/2 tsp of onion seeds adds a bit more spice and flavour to the dip.
- Dark meat yields a juicier and flavourful pakora
- The batter should be thick and should stick to the chicken and onions. If it is too runny, add more chickpea flour, if it is too thick and hard to mix then add water 1 tablespoon at a time
- Add 1-2 tsp of water or milk to adjust how thick you like the dipping sauce
- Add 1 tbsp of dried unsweetened shredded coconut to give the dip a bit more texture