This chicken pakora recipe features juicy boneless chicken thighs coated in a delicious Indian-spiced chickpea batter and then fried to perfection! It’s a deep-fried delight that’s perfect for those who love a spicy snack, complete with a sweet and creamy coconut dip for added complexity.
If you’re craving some delicious, spiced fried chicken, then this Chicken Pakora recipe is for you! You’ll get tasty deep-fried nuggets of chicken made with chickpea flour (which is also called besan) and packed with delicious spices that take this Indian fried chicken recipe to the next level!
This homemade version allows you to adjust the heat level to your liking and makes sure that you get the freshest, most juicy pakoras possible. It’s a great dish to prepare for a gathering or to enjoy as comfort food!
Read on to learn exactly how to make this delicious chicken pakora recipe today!
What is a Chicken Pakora?
Chicken pakora is a delicious and popular Indian snack, made from bite-sized tender chicken pieces that are marinated in a blend of spices, coated in a chickpea flour batter, and then deep-fried to perfection.
It's made up of bite-sized pieces of boneless chicken marinated in a mixture of spices, the chicken is then coated in a batter made primarily of besan (chickpea flour) and deep-fried to perfection.
The result is a spicy, flavorful snack that pairs perfectly with green or tamarind chutney, or a tangy, lemon-based dip. It’s a versatile dish that can be made with either chicken breast or thighs and can be customized to suit your heat preference.
It’s an incredibly popular snack that people enjoy making since it’s not only easy to prepare in large batches but also perfect for entertaining guests or enjoying as a family meal.
You’re going to absolutely love my chicken pakora recipe which also features a coconut dip that perfectly complements the spicy pakoras with its sweet and tangy notes.
Why You’ll Love This Chicken Pakora Recipe
Easy to Make: This chicken pakoda recipe is straightforward with simple steps. From marinating the chicken pieces in a mixture of spices, onions, and lemon juice to preparing the batter with besan and egg, each step is uncomplicated and easy to follow.
Versatile: This recipe is very adaptable. You can use boneless chicken breasts or thighs, depending on your preference. You can also adjust the spices, adding more chilli powder if you prefer it spicier or adjusting the amount of besan in the batter to achieve the desired consistency.
Delicious, Flavorful and Juicy: Marinated in a blend of garam masala, turmeric, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, and lemon juice, these chicken pakoras are packed with flavors. The addition of a sweet and tangy coconut dip only enhances the overall taste, making this recipe a real treat for the taste buds.
They Are Great to Entertain With: With its spicy, bite-sized chicken pieces coated in a crispy besan batter, this chicken pakora recipe is sure to be a hit at any gathering. Whether it is served as an appetizer, side dish, or a snack, everyone is bound to enjoy these delicious pakoras.
Innovative: The unique combination of ingredients like the fish sauce in the marinade and the coconut cream in the dip gives this chicken pakora recipe a delightful fusion twist. The use of besan and rice flour in the batter also results in pakoras that are light, fluffy, and crispy, making them a must-try for anyone that loves fried chicken!
Ingredients You’ll Need to Make Chicken Pakora At Home
All you need are some incredibly simple, pantry-staple ingredients to make this delicious chicken pakora recipe at home.
Here's an overview of the specific ingredients for this recipe. For the exact ingredients and measurements, please scroll to the recipe card below.
For the Chicken Marinade:
- Chicken Thighs: Boneless chicken thighs work great for this recipe. I highly recommend using dark meat for this recipe because it makes a juicier and more flavorful chicken pakora. If you prefer white meat, it will also work well, but it may not be as flavorful and juicy.
- Onion: Sliced onions will add a sweet and delicious onion taste to the marinade, enhancing the overall flavor of the chicken pakora.
- Garlic: Some finely minced or grated garlic will infuse the chicken with a delicious garlic flavor and aroma.
- Ginger: You’ll need some finely minced or grated ginger as well. The ginger will add a warm and spicy kick to the marinade.
- Fish Sauce: For a savory and umami taste, I use fish sauce or soy sauce instead of salt. It’ll add a lot of depth of flavor to the chicken pakora.
- Lemon Juice: It will add light tangy flavor to the marinade, balancing out the richness of the other ingredients.
- Garam Masala: Garam masala, along with other spices, will add a complex and aromatic flavor to the chicken pakora.
- Turmeric: It will give the chicken a vibrant yellow color and add a subtle earthy taste.
- Indian Chilli Powder: Red Indian chilli powder is used purely to increase the spiciness. If you cannot find this, you can substitute this with cayenne pepper. Do not confuse Indian chili powder with chili seasoning, which is a mix of spices (cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder.) which is made to make Tex-Mex chili.
- Curry Leaves: Fresh curry leaves add a lot of great flavors but may be hard to find, but in most cases, these will be available at a local Indian grocery store in the fridge or freezer. I have not found a good substitute for curry leaves, so if you cannot find it, you can omit it.
- Cumin: Using cumin will add a warm and nutty flavor to the marinade, complementing the other spices used.
For the Chicken Pakora Batter:
- Egg: An egg will help bind the batter together and give the pakoras a light and airy texture.
- Starch: For a crispier batter, I mix in corn or potato starch.
- Chickpea Flour: Chickpea flour (aka gram or besan flour) gives this dish a nuttier and slightly sweeter batter that's soft and spongy on the inside. You can substitute chickpea flour with all-purpose flour, but you will miss out on the texture and flavor it provides. Plus, chickpea flour is also gluten-free!
- Water: Water will help you get the perfect consistency for the batter, making sure it's thick enough to coat the chicken and onions.
For the Coconut Dip:
- Coconut cream: For this dip, I use coconut cream instead of coconut milk. Coconut cream is creamier and a lot more flavorful than coconut milk. It's also a lot thicker, especially when chilled in the fridge, it becomes almost butter-like. If you cannot find this, you can use coconut milk instead, but you will lose a bit of the coconut flavor. Plus, the texture may be a bit runny, but you can add 1-2 tablespoons of dried unsweetened coconut to absorb the excess liquid to thicken up the sauce and give it a bit of texture.
- Fish sauce: You can use soy sauce or fish sauce as the salt element when making this dip. Adjust this to your taste.
- Maple syrup: It will add a subtle sweetness to the dip, complementing the other flavors. You can also use honey or sugar as well.
- Lime: Some freshly squeezed lime juice will add a tangy and refreshing element to the dip, balancing out all the flavors.
- Garlic: Some finely minced or grated garlic will add a garlicky aromatic flavor to the dip, taking it to the next level.
- Dried shredded coconut: Completely optional, but add 1 tablespoon of dried unsweetened coconut to add a bit of texture! It is also great to use a thickener if the dip is too runny.
- Onion seeds (optional): You may choose to add some onion seeds for an extra burst of flavor to the dip.
How to Make Chicken Pakora (Step by Step)
Making this incredible chicken pakora recipe at home is super easy and will give you great results every single time. Here's how to make it step by step:
How to Marinate Chicken for Chicken Pakoras
Begin by preparing the chicken. You can use boneless chicken breasts or thighs, as per your preference. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and place them in a large bowl.
Next, prepare the onions. Slice them up and add them to the bowl with the chicken pieces.
Now it is time to add the spices. Add in cumin powder, garam masala, and turmeric powder. These spices give the pakoras their signature taste. Don’t forget to add some finely chopped curry leaves, garlic, and fresh ginger for an aromatic twist.
Next, pour in the freshly squeezed lemon juice. The acidity from the lemon juice helps to tenderize the chicken and infuse it with flavor.
Mix everything well and make sure that the chicken pieces are well-coated with the spices and lemon juice.
For the best results, marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but overnight will give you the tastier pakoras. This allows the flavors to penetrate deep into the chicken, making it juicy and delicious.
How to Deep Fry Chicken Pakoras
When you’re ready to cook, it’s time to prepare the batter. Add an egg to the bowl with the marinated chicken. This helps the batter stick to the chicken pieces. Follow this with cornstarch, chickpea flour (also known as besan), and water.
The batter should have the consistency of a thick paste so that the onions and chicken can stick together in clumps.
If your batter feels too runny, add some more chickpea flour (a tablespoon at a time) and mix until it is thick, but if your batter feels too dry and the chicken and onions are not sticking together in clumps then add water to it, 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until everything sticks to together.
Heat up the vegetable oil for deep frying. The oil should be heated to 350F (176C) for optimal frying. If you are doing this on a stovetop, set the heat to medium.
Carefully spoon the chicken and batter mixture into the hot oil, one to two tablespoons at a time. Avoid overcrowding the pan as this will lower the temperature of the oil and your chicken pakoras will become soggy and oil logged.
Cook each batch for approximately 8 minutes or until the pakoras are golden brown and crispy.
How to Get EXTRA Crispy Chicken Pakora
Whenever I deep fry anything, I like to use the Korean method of deep frying and double fry everything extra crispiness. To double fry, remove it from 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.
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 smaller or larger.
How to Make the Coconut Dip
While your pakoras are frying, you can prepare a quick coconut dip. Simply combine all the required ingredients together. For an extra kick, consider adding ½ tsp of onion seeds.
This dip is the perfect companion for your hot, crispy pakoras. Enjoy your homemade chicken pakoras fresh from the fryer, paired with the delicious coconut dip!
Joyce's Tips For Making the Best Chicken Pakora Every Single Time
- Choosing the Right Cuts of Chicken: For the most flavorful chicken pakora, opt for dark meat like boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Dark meat tends to hold more juices and is fattier, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful pakora.
- Marinating Matters: Marinating your chicken overnight in a mixture of spices, ginger, onions, lemon juice, and fish sauce will make sure that the flavors are fully absorbed. If you’re short on time, a minimum of 4 hours of marinating can still produce tasty results.
- Perfect Pakora Batter: The batter for your chicken pakora should be thick enough to clump together the chicken and onions. If the batter is too runny, add more chickpea flour in small increments. If it is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- Deep Frying in Batches: To achieve the perfect crispy pakora, avoid overcrowding your pan when deep frying. Overcrowding can drop the oil temperature and result in soggy pakoras. Fry the pakoras in batches to maintain the right oil temperature and guarantee even cooking.
- Serving Fresh: The best way to enjoy chicken pakora is fresh from the deep fryer. They’re best served hot. If you have to reheat them, use an oven or air fryer instead of a microwave to maintain their crispy texture.
- Adjusting the Spice Level: The spice level in the chicken pakora recipe can be adjusted to taste. If you prefer it spicier, you can add more chili powder. For a milder flavor, reduce the amount.
- Double Fry to Get the Crispiest Chicken Pakora: Once you finished frying all the chicken pakoras, fry it again for a second time for about 10-20 seconds. This will make the batter extra crispy.
- An excellent serving suggestion for this chicken pakora recipe is to pair it with chilli chicken. The spiciness of the chilli chicken compliments the savory and crispy chicken pakora, creating a perfect balance of flavors for a satisfying meal. I love doing this whenever we have a Hakka takeout night.
- You can also serve chicken pakora along with chicken manchurian. The tangy and spicy gravy of chicken Manchurian contrasts perfectly with the crunchy and savory pakoras.
- Some hakka noodles are another fantastic dish to serve with chicken pakora. The soft and flavorful noodles offer a nice contrast to the crunchy pakoras, making for a hearty and diverse meal.
- Serving chicken pakora with lemon wedges on the side can add a splash of citrusy freshness that lifts the flavors of the pakoras, making it even more enjoyable. It also goes great with mint chutney or tamarind sauce as well.
Recipe Variation Ideas for Chicken Pakora
This delicious chicken pakora recipe is so flavorful and easy to make, you'll want to try out some of these delicious variations! Here are some great ideas:
Tangy: If you enjoy a sour kick in your food, try adding a bit more lemon juice to the chicken marinade. This will infuse the chicken pieces with a tangy flavor that contrasts nicely with the spicy batter.
Extra spicy: For those who love their food fiery hot, this variation is a must-try. Add an extra tablespoon of chilli powder or a few chopped green chillies to the batter mixture. Be prepared for an explosive burst of heat with every bite.
Cheese-stuffed: For a cheesy surprise, try stuffing small cubes of cheese inside the chicken pieces before dunking them in the batter. As the pakoras are deep-fried, the cheese will melt, creating a delicious center that contrasts beautifully with the crispy exterior.
Fresh herbs: You can also add some fresh coriander leaves (cilantro leaves) to the batter to add a delicious herb flavor to these fried chicken cubes!
Frequently Asked Questions
The batter consistency is crucial as it needs to be thick enough to stick to the chicken and onions. If it’s too runny, it won’t adhere properly and if it is too thick, it won’t coat the chicken evenly.
Yes, you can substitute chicken with other meats. Just make sure that they are cut into bite-sized pieces and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
While you can use regular flour, chickpea flour gives a unique flavor and texture to the pakoras that regular flour might not provide.
For a vegetarian version, you can replace the chicken with a variety of vegetables such as potatoes, cauliflower, or bell peppers. The remaining steps and ingredients remain the same. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
How to Store Leftover Chicken Pakora
Storing and reheating your leftover chicken pakora from this delicious recipe doesn’t have to be a daunting task. For best results, place your leftover pakoras in an airtight container and store them in the fridge. They should retain their freshness for up to 3-4 days.
When it comes to reheating, it is best to avoid the microwave as it can make the pakoras soggy. Instead, consider reheating them in the oven. Preheat your oven to a medium heat (350f) and place the pakoras on a baking sheet. Reheat them for about 10-15 minutes or until they’re hot and crispy again.
Unfortunately, freezing is not recommended for this chicken pakora recipe. The texture of the pakoras, particularly the batter coating the bite-sized chicken pieces, may not hold up well during the thawing and reheating process.
More Takeout Recipes You May Like
- Chilli Chicken
- Chicken Manchurian
- Buttermilk Popcorn Chicken
- My Ultimate Fried Chicken Recipe
- Crispy Beef
- Singapore Noodles
- Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Chinese Lemon Chicken
- Crispy Fried Wonton Chips
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Chicken Pakora with Creamy Coconut Dip
Joyce's Recipe Notes
- I highly recommend using dark meat for this recipe, for a juicier and more flavorful chicken pakora.
- The batter should be thick. The chicken and onions should be able to clump together easily. If the batter is too runny, add more chickpea flour, 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until the batter is thick. If it is too thick and hard to mix then add water 1 tablespoon at a time until it is easy to mix but still thick enough that the chicken and onions can clump together.
- I highly recommend marinating this overnight but if you're in a rush you could marinate it for a minimum of 4 hours.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of water or milk to thin out the dip if it is too thick.
- Add additional dried unsweetened shredded coconut to give the dip a bit more texture and thicken it.
- Chilling this dip in the fridge will make it thicker before serving.
- 6-8 boneless chicken thighs
- 1 onion (sliced)
- 4 cloves garlic (finely minced, or grated)
- 1 tablespoon ginger (finely minced, or grated)
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (or soy sauce)
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (approx. half a lemon)
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon chilli powder (add more if you like it spicier)
- 20 curry leaves (chopped)
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
Chicken Pakora Batter
Chicken Pakoras - Preparation
- Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put it in a large bowl
- Slice 1 onion and add it to the bowl
- Add 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice and 3 tablespoons fish sauce into the bowl
- Mix well and marinate in the fridge for 4 hours, but preferably overnight.
Chicken Pakoras - Deep Frying
- When you are ready to start cooking the chicken, add 1 egg, 5 tablespoons potato starch (or cornstarch), 1 cup chickpea flour, and ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoon water into the bowl with the chicken (including the marinade and sliced onions) 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 chickpea flour 1 tablespoon at a time, if the batter is too dry 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, set the oil to medium heat.
- 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. I use a ¼ cup to measure out the 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!
Coconut Dip (Optional)
- (Optional) Adding ½ tsp of onion seeds adds a bit more spice and flavor to the dip.
*Nutritional information is calculated using online tools and is an estimate*
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