PAKODE (Indian Fritters)

Fritters with Yogurt

Don’t you love it when you find a traditional recipe that fits into your lifestyle just as it is? This is not a fake, low-carb version of anything, but a tried and true, classic recipe from India. Read below to find out about the special flour in these crispy, crunchy fritters and why they are an exception to the standard rules of keotogenic dieting.

GOBHI PAKODE (Cauliflower Fritters)
I used the old method for making these the first time I tried them. It required rubbing the flour and oil together repeatedly between your palms, beating in the water, and then beating the batter for an additional 10 minutes. Making them in a food processor is so fast and easy; I will never do it any other way!

1 small head cauliflower See other options below.* 
¾ cup besan flour (black gram dal flour) See Notes below.
1 teaspoon olive oil or ghee (Ghee or peanut oil would be the traditional choices.)
1 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds, optional
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon red or black pepper
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons cold water
High-heat fat or oil for frying, 2-inches deep in pan

Use a deep, heavy frying pan or electric fryer with 2 inches of oil for deep-frying. (Fresh mono-unsaturated or saturated fat is best. Reusing fat after frying is never recommended.)

Remove the stem from the cauliflower and separate into flowerets. Cut large ones into 1-inch pieces. Wash under cold water and drain on paper towels. Reserve.

Put besan flour, oil, spices, and salt into the bowl of an electric food processor. Turn on machine and pulse until flour is evenly coated and no lumps remain. Slowly pour in water with machine running and process until it makes a smooth, pourable batter, similar to crepe batter. Scrape batter into a large bowl, cover and put in a warm place (about 80°F) and let stand for at least 30 minutes. An oven with the heat off and the light on should be about the right temperature. The standing time allows the batter to ferment and makes the fritters lighter.

Heat the oil in the fryer to 375° F.

Stir the cauliflower into the batter until coated. Dip out one piece at a time and drop into hot fat. Fry in batches so you don’t crowd the pan. The temperature will drop after the first fritters are added. Regulate the heat to keep it at about 300° while cooking. Stir and turn the fritters until they are lightly golden brown, and very crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove fritters with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander or on a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter. Place in a warm oven until all are ready. Serve hot with a dipping sauce (see below).

The fritters can be made a few hours ahead and reheated in a 375°F oven for about 5 minutes or redipped briefly in hot oil.

*I made the fritters in the photos with cauliflower and quartered mushrooms, but you may also use cubes of eggplant or paneer cheese. Another popular version is made by mixing chopped onions, chilies, and spices into the gram batter and dropping it from a small spoon into the hot oil.

Serves 4

Nutrition data:
Calories: 92; Fat: 2.3g;** Protein: 4.5g; Total carbs: 13.5g; Fiber; 4.5g, Net carbs: 9g
See Notes to read about carbs counts for chana dal.
**The cooking fat is not included in the counts as most of it is drained or blotted away.

Fritters with Chutney

A sweet/hot chutney is the traditional condiment for Pakode, but yogurt, kefir, or sour cream makes a quick and tasty dip as well. I like to serve both. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a gift jar of Indianlife Mango Chutney that had been sitting in my cupboard since Christmas had only two grams of carbs per tablespoon, which isn’t bad, especially since you only need a little. Of course, it would be better to make your own low-carb version; you can find my Shallot and Peach Chutney recipe here:

Recipe adapted from one by Julie Sahni in Classic Indian Cooking, 1980.

Chana dal beans are split, baby garbanzos. They are not a different variety or species, but they have a much lower glycemic index and glycemic load than other garbanzos. Garbanzos have a GL of eight; chana dal’s GL is ONE! They are a staple food for many diabetic vegetarians because they have no impact on blood glucose levels. (But do check to see how you react to them if you are diabetic, just in case.)

Chana dal are already the most digestible of all beans and preparing them in the traditional, slow-food way will neutralize most of the toxins and anti-nutrients found in all legumes. Read more about them and the best way to prepare them at the end of this previous post:

Be sure you get Kala Chana Dal and not yellow split peas or another kind of garbanzo beans or flour. You can soak and grind the beans yourself, but even if you buy prepared flour, you can still soak and dry it to make it more healthful. Here is a link to the right kind of chana dal flour on Amazon:

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any company mentioned above and have not received free products.

© 2016, Judy Barnes Baker

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Judy Barnes Baker

The working title for my first book was, “You’ll Never Know What You Are Missing.” It summed up my goal: to make eating for health synonymous with eating for pleasure. Once you discover the secret, you will find that the very best food for weight management, longevity, the treatment and prevention of disease, and over-all health and happiness is also the most sumptuous, satisfying, and indulgent way of eating the world has to offer. You are invited to the feast. Enjoy!
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6 years ago

I got the Kala Chana dal at the Indian market in whole form. Do you think I could grind it up and make the flour? It’s the only kind they had. I can’t wait to make this!