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Paneer Pakora

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Paneer Pakora is a quick and delicious deep-fried Indian snack made using paneer (Indian cottage cheese), gram flour, and some spices. It is a perfect tea time or evening snack for any day!

This mildly spicy pakora has an ideal texture that is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Making paneer pakora at home is very simple, and it comes together in just 30 minutes.

paneer pakoras served on a white plate and some pakoras scattered on the side with mint chutney in a small bowl

Serve it to your family with spicy green coriander chutney and masala chai when it’s raining. Chai & Pakora and evening snacks are sorted! Or just enjoy it anytime when you want something fried, crispy, hot, and spicy!

This Punjabi Paneer Pakoras are very popular in North Indian restaurants worldwide, and making them at home is quite simple.

Make paneer pakora using my simple recipe once, and I am sure to become your new favorite!

On this page, I am sharing a fail-proof paneer pakora recipe with all the important tips, tricks, and variations that would help you make the best paneer pakora each time!

Closeup of paneer pakroa served in a white bowl with 3 half cut paneer pakoras on the side

About Paneer Pakora

Paneer pakora is loved by everyone because it contains two favorite Indian things — plain pakora and paneer cheese. We love everything paneer, and we also love all types of pakoras, and this paneer pakora has both! :)

what does paneer pakora taste like, you might be wondering? It tastes super delicious, slightly spicy and flavourful with a crisp outer and super soft centers.

Pakora or pakoda is a Hindi name for deep-fried fritters mostly made with besan (gram flour / chickpea flour). It’s one of the most loved evening tea snacks which is flavorful, delicious, and so addictive. People relish pakoras throughout the year, but it is quite popular during the monsoon season and winter months.

There is a wide variety of pakoras made with different vegetables, lentils, and sometimes with meat. You just name an ingredient, and there is a higher chance that this type of pakora exists in some parts of India. The most famous pakoras are mixed vegetable pakora, onion pakoda, aloo pakora, paneer pakora, bread pakora, mirchi vada, gobi pakora, aloo palak pakora, corn pakora etc.

a hand sprinkling coriander leaves over a paneer pakora bowl

They are the best snack to make when you have sudden guests at home because whipping up paneer pakora requires no prior preparation or lots of chopping. Whip the batter, slice the paneer, season/stuff the paneer, and fry the pakoda! Isn’t it super simple?

You can make this pakora when you have sudden guests at home, having a get-together, or a house party, or simply wanting to please your family! 

These pakoras would also make a great appetizer or snack for any parties or get-togethers. They are also suitable for kids’ parties. So monsoon or no monsoon, you can make them any time!

For serving Paneer Pakora you don’t need anything fancy. You can serve it with any pre-made chutney such as mint coriander chutney, red garlic chutney, or even with simple tomato ketchup. You can also serve it as it is with a hot cuppa chai.

This Paneer Pakora

✔︎ is quick and simple to make

✔︎ is a perfect party snack

✔︎ is gluten-free & protein-rich

✔︎ tastes just like the restaurant ones

✔︎ is great for the monsoon season

Paneer Pakora Ingredients

Paneer Pakora is made with some handy and easily available ingredients. To make this pakora recipe you’ll need:

  • Paneer – It is the star ingredient of this dish. For making pakora, you can use both homemade or store-bought paneer. Just make sure that the paneer you are using is soft.

  • Gram flour – Besan or gram flour is the second main ingredient for the paneer pakora recipe. Use some good quality besan which is not stale. Fresh flour doesn’t have a bad smell, it has a natural lentil odor and a nice color.

  • Rice flour - Generally rice flour is not added to the pakoras. I like to add a little bit of rice flour to the besan batter because adding rice flour makes pakoras crispy. If you don’t want to add rice flour then you can surely skip it.

  • Oil – Any variety of vegetable oil or deep-frying oil can be used for frying pakoras. The oils that taste good in paneer pakora are canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, and avocado oil. You can use any neutral oil that has a high smoke point.

  • Spices & others - I have used red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin seeds (jeera), carom seeds (ajwain), garam masala powder, chaat masala powder, and salt. I have also added coriander leaves and baking soda to the batter.

More paneer recipes you might also like are: Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Khurchan, Paneer Pulao, Paneer Jalfrezi, Kadai Paneer, Paneer Bhurji Dry, etc.

closeup of a female holding paneer pakora bowl with one pakora topped with green chutney

How to make Paneer Pakora?

Making paneer pakora is literally very easy. This is how you make paneer pakora:

  • **Step 1 - Prepare Paneer:  **Wrap the paneer in a couple of kitchen tissues to remove excess moisture and then slice them into desired shapes. Since I am making stuffed paneer pakora, I cut them into squares and made a slit into each square. Make sure to cut the paneer pieces into equal sizes. Fill the paneer pieces with chutney (if making a sandwich paneer pakora), or sprinkle them with chaat masala powder.

  • Step 2 - Make Batter: Stir together besan, rice flour, and spices. Add coriander leaves and whisk again. Add water little by little and make a thick yet flowing consistency batter. Set it aside for 10 minutes. Then add a pinch of baking soda and whisk everything well until the batter is fluffy.

  • Step 3 - Frying: Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, turn the heat to medium. Dip the paneer pieces into the batter and coat them well. Drop them into hot oil, and deep fry pakoras on medium heat until they are crisp. Using a slotted spoon, drain the pakoras on a kitchen tissue-lined plate. Sprinkle some chaat masala powder and serve hot.

Serving Suggestion

Paneer pakoda can be served with mint coriander chutney, sweet tamarind chutney, or even with schezwan sauce or tomato ketchup. Or simply sprinkle chaat masala on top and have it just like that. But yeah, just like any other pakora, some piping hot chai or coffee on the side is a must along with paneer pakora! 

If you have leftover pakoras, you can make pakora chaat or use them as a sandwich filling. 

Paneer Pakora Variations

I have made three types of paneer pakoras — Coriander chutney stuffed pakoras, garlic chutney stuffed pakoras, and chaat masala seasoned pakoras. 

There are some other ways you can make paneer pakora which are:

  • Aloo stuffed paneer pakora – Stuff paneer cubes with 1 teaspoon of spicy aloo masala. Vada filling, samosa filling, or aloo paratha stuffing tastes good here.

  • Paneer Tikka Pakora – Marinate the paneer cubes in tikka masala for 30 minutes and then dunk them in a spicy besan mixture.

  • Tandoori Paneer Pakora – Toss paneer cubes with tandoori masala powder and marinate them for about 30 minutes. Coat the paneer pieces into besan batter and deep fry. 

  • Coated Paneer Pakora - You can coat pakoras in schezwan chutney, tomato ketchup, and coriander chutney before coating with batter. And then fry them as usual.

a hand drizzling green chutney over paneer pakora served on a bowl

Expert tips, tricks, and variations

  1. **Batter consistency –  **The perfect consistency batter is the key to making the best paneer pakora. Remember to make a thick yet pouring consistency batter. The batter should not be either too thick or too runny. The pakoras would not cook through if the batter is too thick, and they would absorb too much of the oil and turn soggy if the batter is runny. 

  2. Frying – Always fry pakoras on medium heat. High heat would make pakoras quickly brown (or will burn) from the outside, and they would remain raw and uncooked from the inside. Low heat would make pakoras soggy and oily, as they would absorb too much oil.

  3. Paneer – For making pakoras, it is advisable to use fresh and soft paneer. Homemade paneer is the BEST, you store-bought also works here. If the paneer you are using is too hard, then add to the hot water for 10 minutes and it will become soft. If you are using frozen paneer then thaw it according to package instructions and before use.

  4. Slicing paneer – I have cut paneer into 1-inch squares. You can also slice them into other shapes such as triangles, rounds, or rectangles. Or, cut them into other decorative shapes such as hearts and stars, to make them look appealing.

  5. Spices and seasonings – The spicing in my paneer pakoda recipe is minimal. So there is a balance in the taste and the pakora is not overly spiced or spicy. If you prefer, adjust the ground spices according to your taste preferences.

  6. Oil I have used frying oil for frying paneer pakoras. You can use any good quality oil that has a high smoke point and is suitable for frying.

  7. Leavening agent – I have added a pinch of baking soda to the batter. Adding baking soda makes fluffy pakoras which are crisp when they are hot, and become nice and cotton soft when they are at room temperature. You can also use baking powder, but it won’t make pakoras crispy.

  8. You can bake the leftover pakoras or air-fry them to make them crispy again.

  9. For a healthy version, you can either bake or air fry it. But the deep-fried ones taste the best!

  10. Spices – The spices I have used in pakora make them mildly spicy, if you prefer spicier pakoras then feel free to adjust the spices according to your taste preferences.

  11. Carom seeds – Adding carom seeds to the pakora enhances the flavor and it also helps with digestion.

  12. Baking & air frying –  Paneer pakoras taste best when they are deep fried. This is because the batter only sticks to pakora when you deep fry them. In baking and air-frying the batter would drip from the pakoras and you will end up with very lightly coated pakoras that have slightly spreaded besan covering. To me, that doesn’t look like paneer pakora at all. If you like baked or air-fried pakoras, then bake or air-fry them in a preheated oven/air-fryer for about 10-12 minutes at 175°C/347°F or until done.

  13. To make the paneer pakoras crispy, I have added about 2 tablespoons of rice flour to the besan. Adding rice flour makes pakoras crisp and is recommended.

  14. I have sprinkled chaat masala powder in pakoras. Sprinkling chaat masala powder on fried paneer pakodas makes them taste more chatpata (spicy) and delicious.

  15. Double frying – Just like french fries, some people like to double fry paneer pakoras for added crispness. I personally don’t feel comfortable double frying. So what I do is, add rice flour and baking soda to make pakoras crispy.

overhead shot of paneer pakora in a bowl with some red chutney on the side

FAQ

Can I make pakora without rice flour?

Technically you can, but I would recommend it because it gives such a nice crisp texture to the paneer pakora. If you don’t have rice flour then simply blend 1/4 cup of rice in a high powder blender until powdered and smooth. Pass it through a sieve and your rice flour is ready to use.

How to make crispy pakoras?

To make paneer pakora crispy, add rice flour to the batter along with chickpea flour. Also, add a little bit of baking soda to the batter to make it crisp and fluffy. 

Why are my pakoras oily?

Pakoras can turn out oily or soak up too much oil for 3 reasons. First, you fry them on low heat, second, your pakora batter is too thin, and third, if you have dropped pakoras in oil that is not hot enough.

How to check the oil temperature for frying paneer pakora?

The oil should be moderately hot for frying pakoras. Once your oil reaches a smoke point, turn the heat to medium and drop a few drops of batter into the hot oil. If it sizzles and comes up gradually on the surface then it is ready. 

If the batter comes up slowly or stays at the bottom then the oil is cold. Or if the batter comes up too quickly and burns that means the oil is very hot.

How to bake or air fry paneer pakora?

If you prefer baked or air-fried pakoras then you can surely bake for air-fry them. For baking or air-frying then you can bake or air-fry them in a preheated oven/air-fryer for about 10-15 minutes at 175°C/347°F, or until baked.


Paneer Pakora (Step-by-step photo instructions)

Prepare paneer for pakoara

  1. Wrap paneer into 2-3 kitchen towels and press to remove the excess moisture. Cut paneer into 1-inch cubes or rectangles. TIP: Cut all cubes in equal size, otherwise the frying time would be different for all the pakoras. Also, pakoras look even and nice.
  2. Image of the cooking step-1-1 for Paneer Pakora
  3. To make chutney sandwich paneer pakoras, slit each cube from the middle keeping the other side intact. Fill the centers with red garlic chutney, or mint coriander chutney. To make regular paneer pakoars, you can simply sprinkle paneer cubes with chaat masala powder and rub gently so that powder coats the paneer pieces from all sides. Refrigerate them for 10 minutes to marinate. During this resting time, bland paneer cubes would absorb the flavors from chutney/chaat masala. This way, they would come out more flavourful after frying.
  4. Image of the cooking step-1-2 for Paneer Pakora

Make Besan Batter

  1. Add gram flour to a medium mixing bowl. Also, add rice flour, salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, carom seeds, garam masala powder, chaat masala powder. Whisk well. Add coriander leaves and whisk again.
  2. Image of the cooking step-2-1 for Paneer Pakora
  3. Add water a little at a time and whisk well to make a smooth and thick-flowing consistency batter without any lumps. The amount of water will depend on the quality of besan you have used, so adding water in parts is highly recommended. So keep adding water until it gets the thick-flowing batter consistency. Keep it aside to rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Image of the cooking step-2-2 for Paneer Pakora

Fry Paneer Pakora

  1. Heat enough oil in a wide pan over medium-high heat. After 10 minutes, add baking soda and whisk well until the batter is light and fluffy. Once the oil becomes hot, turn the heat to medium. To check if the oil is hot, drop a few drops of batter into the hot oil. If it comes up on the surface quickly, the oil is hot enough for frying pakoras. Dip the paneer cubes into the prepared batter to coat and then carefully drop them into the hot oil.
  2. Image of the cooking step-3-1 for Paneer Pakora
  3. Fry the pakoras on medium heat. Once the bottom side is lightly golden, gently flip the pakoras with a spoon. Fry them from all sides until they are golden and crisp. Drain on an absorbent paper-lined plate to remove excess oil. Sprinkle hot pakoras with some coriander leaves and chaat masala powder. Serve hot with chutney, ketchup, and chai!
  4. Image of the cooking step-3-2 for Paneer Pakora


Paneer Pakora [Recipe]

Recipe Image
Paneer Pakora is a quick and delicious deep-fried Indian snack made using paneer (Indian cottage cheese), gram flour, and some spices.
★★★★✰
(Rating: 4.9 from 4 reviews)

Prep time 🕐 Cook time 🕐 Total time 🕐
30 mins
Category ☶ Cuisine ♨ Serves ☺
Snack Indian 6
Nutrition Info ⊛ Serving size ⊚
65 calories 1 pakora

INGREDIENTS

For Paneer Pakora
  • 450 grams Paneer
  • 1 cup besan (gram flour)
  • 2 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1/2 teaspoon carom Seeds (ajwain)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala powder + more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
  • Water as required
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Green Chutney and Red garlic chutney for filling Paneer
  • Oil for frying
For serving

INSTRUCTIONS:

Prepare paneer for pakoara
  1. Wrap paneer into 2-3 kitchen towels and press to remove the excess moisture. Cut paneer into 1-inch cubes or rectangles. TIP: Cut all cubes in equal size, otherwise the frying time would be different for all the pakoras. Also, pakoras look even and nice.
  2. To make chutney sandwich paneer pakoras, slit each cube from the middle keeping the other side intact. Fill the centers with red garlic chutney, or mint coriander chutney. To make regular paneer pakoars, you can simply sprinkle paneer cubes with chaat masala powder and rub gently so that powder coats the paneer pieces from all sides. Refrigerate them for 10 minutes to marinate. During this resting time, bland paneer cubes would absorb the flavors from chutney/chaat masala. This way, they would come out more flavourful after frying.
Make Besan Batter
  1. Add gram flour to a medium mixing bowl. Also, add rice flour, salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, carom seeds, garam masala powder, chaat masala powder. Whisk well. Add coriander leaves and whisk again.
  2. Add water a little at a time and whisk well to make a smooth and thick-flowing consistency batter without any lumps. The amount of water will depend on the quality of besan you have used, so adding water in parts is highly recommended. So keep adding water until it gets the thick-flowing batter consistency. Keep it aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Fry Paneer Pakora
  1. Heat enough oil in a wide pan over medium-high heat. After 10 minutes, add baking soda and whisk well until the batter is light and fluffy. Once the oil becomes hot, turn the heat to medium. To check if the oil is hot, drop a few drops of batter into the hot oil. If it comes up on the surface quickly, the oil is hot enough for frying pakoras. Dip the paneer cubes into the prepared batter to coat and then carefully drop them into the hot oil.
  2. Fry the pakoras on medium heat. Once the bottom side is lightly golden, gently flip the pakoras with a spoon. Fry them from all sides until they are golden and crisp. Drain on an absorbent paper-lined plate to remove excess oil. Sprinkle hot pakoras with some coriander leaves and chaat masala powder. Serve hot with chutney, ketchup, and chai!

WATCH RECIPE VIDEO: Click the play button and video will load ...


NOTES:

  1. Batter consistency – The perfect consistency batter is the key to making the best paneer pakora. Remember to make a thick yet pouring consistency batter. The batter should not be either too thick or too runny. The pakoras would not cook through if the batter is too thick, and they would absorb too much of the oil and turn soggy if the batter is runny.
  2. Frying – Always fry pakoras on medium heat. High heat would make pakoras quickly brown (or will burn) from the outside, and they would remain raw and uncooked from the inside. Low heat would make pakoras soggy and oily, as they would absorb too much oil.
  3. Paneer – For making pakoras, it is advisable to use fresh and soft paneer. Homemade paneer is the BEST, you store-bought also works here. If the paneer you are using is too hard, then add to the hot water for 10 minutes and it will become soft. If you are using frozen paneer then thaw it according to package instructions and before use.
  4. Slicing paneer – I have cut paneer into 1-inch squares. You can also slice them into other shapes such as triangles, rounds, or rectangles. Or, cut them into other decorative shapes such as hearts and stars, to make them look appealing.

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