Vegetable Pakora with Kale
Vegetable Pakora Recipe with Kale – Vegetarian Vegetable Pakora features hearty, healthy kale and is a perfect gluten-free homemade fried snack. Enjoy it with our easy recipes for Indian Green Chutney and Raita Yogurt Sauce!
What is Pakora?
Crispy fried pakora is a classic snack food found in street markets throughout India and much of Asia.
These fried morsels are typically made with either chicken and/or vegetables and a spice-filled chickpea batter. They are deep-fried in vegan-friendly oil, and served hot with a variety of cool, creamy dipping sauces.
Because they are so delicious and easy to make, many Indian-American restaurants offer pakora as appetizers on their menus. Our favorite local spot for the best Indian food is Chai Pani in Asheville, NC.
We were inspired by the different pakora options from Chai Pani, and decided to create our own Chicken Pakora as well as a veggie-packed version with this Vegetable Pakora with Kale recipe.
It features, you guessed it, LOTS of hearty kale leaves, which become incredibly tender when fried in a flavorful gluten-free batter.
Crispy Vegetable Pakora with Kale and Homemade Dipping Sauces
Pakora recipes generally use chickpea flour as a base, and are therefore gluten-free. Yet this vegetarian version is an even healthier option that is great for accommodating nearly any dietary restriction.
The chickpea flour creates the ideal airy and crisp texture that you want in a classic pakora. It also helps to make this fried food much lighter than many of the wheat flour-coated fried recipes that are common in the United States.
While there are a great number of traditional condiments that can be served with pakora, we love enjoying homemade Indian Green Chutney and Raita Yogurt Sauce with these Kale Pakora. They of course aren’t essential for making pakora, but I can’t recommend them enough for creating a truly yummy Indian street food experience!
Indian Green Chutney is a vibrant blend of cilantro, mint, and ginger, and is excellent for brightening the spices of the pakora. The Raita Yogurt Sauce is a creamy and refreshing Greek yogurt-based sauce that perfectly cools every bite. Each sauce is terrifically unique in flavor. Yet when both are served alongside a hot plate of pakora it’s utter perfection!
What Ingredients You Need for The Best Vegetable Pakora Recipe
Many of the ingredients required to make the best Kale Pakora recipe (and dipping sauces) are pantry staples, or are easy to find at your local grocery store.
You will need:
- Chickpea flour – aka garbanzo bean flour
- Spices – salt, Kashmiri chili, garlic powder, onion powder, garam masala, ground ginger, and ground turmeric
- Egg whites
- Lemon juice
- Oil for frying – I prefer peanut oil for this recipe
- Dipping sauces – Raita Sauce and Green Chutney
If you can’t find Kashmiri chili, you can substitute with 1 teaspoon of paprika + 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne.
Garam Masala is another common spice blend used in Indian cooking, and should be available in your grocery’s spice aisle or can be homemade!
How to Make Kale Pakora
This easy appetizer or snack can be made in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
Here are the simple steps for making Vegetable Pakora with Kale:
1. First, prepare the kale by washing and drying, removing the stems, and cutting into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Pack tightly into measuring cups.
2. Set out a large mixing bowl and add the chickpea flour, salt, and all spices. Mix well.
3. Then stir in the egg whites, lemon juice, and water. The batter should be thick to coat the kale leaves, but not clumpy.
4. Next, mix the kale pieces into the pakora batter, making sure they are well-coated.
5. Meanwhile, set a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add a cooking thermometer to the side of the pot, and then pour in 1 1/2 – 2 inches of high-heat cooking oil. Wait until the temperature rises to 350 degrees F.
6. While the oil heats up, use a blender to make the dipping sauces.
7. When the oil reaches 350-360 degrees F, set out a holding plate lined with paper towels. Working in small batches, carefully drop the coated kale pieces in the hot oil, one at a time. Use a spider skimmer to immediately flip each piece over so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
8. Fry the kale pakora for just a few minutes until they reach a rich golden-brown color. Use the skimmer to drain and move the vegetable pakora to the holding plate. Then repeat with the remaining batches.
Serve warm with Indian Green Chutney and/or Raita Sauce.
(You know you want to try them both!)
Get the Complete (Printable) Vegetable Pakora with Kale Recipe Below. Enjoy!
How Can I Make These Vegan?
You can easily make a vegan version of kale pakora by swapping the egg whites for 1 “flax egg” or “chia egg” by mixing 1 tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water. Mix well and let it rest for 15 minutes to thicken before adding to the batter.
Do Vegetable Pakora with Kale Keep Well?
Yes! Kale Pakora is a fabulous leftover. It will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat until crispy on a lined baking sheet in the oven.
You can also freeze fried pakora in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Looking for More Indian-Inspired Recipes?
- Roasted Indian Fish and Creamy Curried Cauliflower
- Creamy Saag Paneer Recipe
- Green Mango Chaat
- Spicy Indian Roasted Chickpeas
- Irresistible Red Lentil Curry
- See all our Indian Recipes!
Vegetable Pakora with Kale
- 4 cups packed kale, with stems removed and cut into 1-2-inch pieces
- 1 cup chickpea flour, gram or besan flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground kashmiri chile, or 1 tsp paprika + 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 egg whites
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- oil for frying, I like peanut oil for this recipe
- Separate the kale: remove the stems and cut the leaves into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Pack into measuring cups.
- Set out a large mixing bowl. Add the chickpea flour, salt, and all spices. Mix well. Then stir in the egg whites, lemon juice, and water. The batter should be thick.
- Mix the kale pieces into the pakora batter, making sure they are well-coated.
- Meanwhile, set a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add a cooking thermometer to the side of the pot. Then pour in 1 1/2 – 2 inches of high-heat cooking oil. Wait until the temperature rises to at least 350 degrees F.
- While the oil heats up, use a blender to make the dipping sauces.
- When the oil reaches 350-360 degrees F, set out a holding plate lined with paper towels. Working in small batches, carefully drop the coated kale pieces in the hot oil, one at a time. Use a spider skimmer to immediately flip each piece over so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Fry the kale pakora for 2-3 minutes until it reaches a rich golden-brown color. Use the skimmer to move the vegetable pakora to the holding plate. Then repeat with the remaining batches.
- Serve warm with dipping sauces.