Palak Pakoda - Spinach Pakora - are tasty little spinach fritters, popular in Indian cuisine. The crispy pakodas are also super easy to make - here's how!
With the temperature cooling down, doing up a bunch of my pakora and pakoda recipes and freezing them just sounded like a great plan.
A bit of work up front, for an easy, quick snack down the road.
Now, we just have to toss a few frozen fritters in the air fryer, and we’re minutes away from crispy pakora goodness!
I’d posted a few of my pakora recipes about a decade ago, on Celebration Generation... then kind of dropped the ball, and never got around to posting the rest.
Eventually, they were transferred here, as those crispy fritters were all gluten free by default... and still, I procrastinated on getting the rest of the recipes up.
Today, I’m sharing my palak pakoda recipe.
Palak pakora, spinach pakoda, palak pakoda, spinach pakora... whatever you want to call them, these delicious Indian spinach fritters are easy to make, AND an excellent way to use up leafy greens!
These crispy spinach fritters work up with very little effort, frying up in just minutes. SO good!
Anyway, let’s get to that spinach pakora recipe!
This recipe uses simple ingredients that can be found in almost any grocery store.
I do have a few ingredient notes for you, though:
Fresh Spinach Leaves
If you haven’t figured it out yet, “spinach leaves” = “Palak leaves”. As we’re making “Palak Pakodas”... spinach is the main ingredient here. 🙂
First off - I find fresh leaves to work much better than frozen spinach - and that’s whether we’re talking whole leaf or chopped frozen spinach.
I usually like to use baby spinach, but given the nature of this recipe, more mature whole spinach leaf is totally acceptable as well.
Either way, just chop it into small pieces, and you’re good to go!
As a note, if you’re looking to make a big batch of these, a 1 lb bag of baby spinach is exactly enough to make a 5x batch of this recipe!
As with all of my other pakora recipes - and pakoras in general - this recipe is inherently gluten free*!
Just note: If you’re shopping in an Indian or South Asian grocery store, that chick pea flour is likely to be labelled as Besan, besan flour, or gram flour.
* Although not traditional, some restaurants do add wheat flour to their pakoras. Always ask, when you’re not the one making it!
Herbs, Spices, Etc
At its base form, this uses:
As with all of my pakora recipes, though, this is very much a base. Great flavour on its own, but plenty of room to play with it.
Add some extra ginger paste, maybe some fnely chopped mint leaves - it’s all good!
Oil for Deep Frying
I like to use vegetable oil for deep frying, as it’s cheap, easy to find, has a neutral taste, and can handle high temperatures.
In general, you’re looking for any fairly neutral oil with a high smoke point. Canola oil, sunflower oil, and peanut oil are other good choices.
If you have a deep fryer, you can definitely use that for deep frying these pakodas - that’s what I used to use!
I had to give up my deep fryer when I moved to a smaller house, though, so now I use a heavy bottomed pot - a deep frying pan works also, as long as it’s at least 3" tall on the sides, and heavy!
Because a pot or pan doesn’t have the same temperature control that an actual deep fryer does, I use an IR Thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature - a candy or deep frying thermometer also works.
How to Make Palak Pakoda
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post. This is a pictorial overview, with detailed step by step photos and extra tips.
Heat oil to 375 F – you’ll want at least 2-3″ of oil in your pot or deep fryer.
I’ll usually start out at medium high, then turn it down to medium heat as it approaches the right temperature.
Finely chop the baby spinach leaves.
Place spinach in a large mixing bowl, along with onion and cilantro, stir to combine.
Add ⅓ cup water and ginger-garlic paste, stir well to form a thick batter. Allow batter to sit for 5 minutes or so, to soften the bean flour.
Don’t start out with too much water - you can always add more to the pakoda batter if needed!
Using 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop, carefully transfer small portions of the pakora batter to the preheated oil, working in batches.
Deep fry pakora mixture in the hot oil for a few minutes on each side, until crispy and golden brown.
Allow oil to come back up to temperature, repeat with remaining batter.
Serve palak pakoda hot, with chutney of choice.
I like green chutney (cilantro mint chutney), my husband prefers tamarind chutney, and others prefer tomato sauce or tomato ketchup!
Leftovers can be cooled to room temperature before being transferred to an airtight container for storage in the fridge.
They keep well for up to 5 days or so, best when reheated in an air fryer.
Air Fryer Palak Pakoda
Not into deep frying? Air frying allows you to use less oil, making these a healthy snack!
Line a baking tray with parchment paper, scoop your portions of batter onto the prepared baking pan, rather than into oil.
Freeze until solid.
To air fry, preheat air fryer to 400 F
Spray air fryer basket with cooking spray, arrange frozen pakora pieces in the basket, leaving a bit of room between each. Spray with pan spray.
Air fry for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
More Gluten-Free Indian Recipes
Craving some curry, pakoras, and chutney? I’ve got some delicious Indian Recipes for you!
Chicken Shahi Korma
Mango Lassi Popsicles
Mixed Vegetable Pakora
... I even have a few diet friendly adaptations on my low carb blog, Low Carb Hoser:
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- Deep Fryer or heavy bottomed pot
- Oil for deep frying
- 3 cups Baby spinach packed
- ½ cup Finely chopped onion
- 2-3 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
- 1 cup garbanzo chickpea flour
- 2 tablespoon White rice flour
- 1 teaspoon Curry powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon Carom seeds optional
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne powder
- ⅓-1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon Garlic-ginger paste
- Start heating your oil to 375F – you’ll want at least 2-3″ of oil in your pot or deep fryer.
- Finely chop the baby spinach leaves.
- Place spinach in a large bowl, along with onion and cilantro, stir to combine.
- Add flours, spices, and salt, stir again to combine.
- Add ⅓ cup water and ginger-garlic paste, stir well to form a thick batter. Allow batter to sit for 5 minutes or so, to soften the bean flour.
- Once batter has rested, add a little more water if needed. You want a relatively thick batter - not runny, and not so thick that it can be formed.
- Allow to sit for 5 more minutes, then give it a stir to re-incorporate any water that’s come out of the onions and spinach.
- Using 2 spoons or a small ice cream scoop, carefully transfer small portions of the gram flour batter to the preheated oil, working in batches.
- Fry for a few minutes on each side, until crispy and golden brown.
- Use a slotted metal spoon to transfer fried spinach pakoras to paper towels. Allow oil to come back up to temperature, repeat with batter.
- Serve hot, with cilantro-mint chutney.