If you want something crunchy, spicy, satisfying and healthy (?) appetizer or snack in a jiffy—this is it. Palak Pakoda, aka Spinach Fritters. I believe this is a perfect way to initiate Spinach haters into Spinach lover’s world. I know, I know, ‘healthy’ part of it is debatable. It is a fried snack after all. But it has Spinach in it. Do they outweigh each other? I like to believe they do.
If you are in the ‘fried foods are unhealthy’ camp, pause a second before you dismiss it. Although fried, Palak Pakoda does not soak up much oil. How do I know? I measured the oil level before and after in the frying pan and they are almost the same. Very scientific! Of course I don’t make these too often—more like once in a month indulgence. They are way too addictive and my self-control is out of the window when these are around. But Palak Pakoda always on the top of my list of super quick snacks. And this article bolsters my belief in fried foods.
Classic Pakodas are made with Onions. But Spinach Pakodas are as popular as Onion pakodas. They are quicker and easier to prepare because you don’t have to tear up, as you would while chopping onions. It is even simpler if you are using pre-washed Spinach. Just open the bag, rough chop and mix in the flour. I also make Cabbage Pakodas, with finely shredded Cabbage. Although I have not tried, Pakodas can be made with other greens too. That would be one tasty project!
What you need:
4 cups Spinach (approximately)
1 cup of Besan (Chickpea flour)
1 tsp Salt, or to taste
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1/4 tsp Garam Masala
1-2 Green Chillis, finely chopped (optional)
2 tbsp Rice flour (optional)
2 tbsp of Water (approximate)
Oil for deep frying
How to make it:
• In a deep skillet, add oil to reach about 2 inches deep in the pan. Heat it on medium.
• In the meantime, rough chop the Spinach and put in a large mixing bowl.
• Add Chickpea flour along with Salt, Red Chilli Powder, Green chilli, if using, and Garam Masala.
• If you are using Rice Flour, add it now. It provides additional crunch.
• Sprinkle 2 tbsp of water and mix the Spinach and Besan until well coated. There should be good amount of Spinach showing through. See below picture of raw batter. If needed, add a bit more water. The mix should be of the consistency that you can pick some up with your fingers—neither runny nor fall-apart dry.
• Pick some batter with your fingers and drop it in hot oil.
• Fry the batch until batter turns into golden color, about 4-5 minutes. Spinach cooks in no time. It’s the flour that should be cooked through.
• Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
• Serve immediately as-is or with Mint Chutney or Tamarind Chutney.