These chicken pakora bites have a crispy coating and are incredibly moist and tender on the inside. Here’s a quick step-by-step recipe video to make street-style chicken pakoda at home.
The onset of the monsoon automatically makes one crave a large plate of crispy pakoras along with some chai. So that is exactly what I did last week when it began to rain cats and dogs.
I usually make onion, potato, or paneer pakoras but this time I decided to treat my family to these crispy and crunchy chicken pakoras for a change.
These street-style pakoras were a delight to the tastebuds and everyone devoured them to their heart’s content, especially the kiddos.
Table of Contents
What is chicken pakora?
Chicken pakoda is an Indian-style chicken fritter made using boneless chicken pieces, marinated in spices, coated with a thick chickpea flour batter, and fried to golden perfection!
Have you ever tried chicken pakoras? If your answer is not then you must definitely try these crispy and juicy chicken pakoras. While onion pakoras are the classic favorite, this chicken variation was a delicious change.
Chicken is known as ‘murgh’ in Hindi and so these are also known as murgh pakora!
I’m sure there are various versions of chicken pakora across the length and breadth of the country. Be it a Bengali/Kolkatta version or Andhra version, I’m sharing my version of making this delicious, street-style chicken pakora at home.
This murgh pakora
✔ Is truly irresistible!
✔ Needs simple ingredients, mostly pantry-staples
✔ Is easy to prepare
✔ Is perfect to indulge in on a rainy day along with a cup of masala chai
✔ Can also be enjoyed as a side along with rice and dal, khichdi, or any other curry of your choice
To make this restaurant-style chicken pakora at home, you will need the following ingredients.
For the chicken pakora marination;
- Chicken: I’ve used boneless chicken breasts. You can use boneless chicken thighs or even bone-in chicken pieces.
- Aromatics: Freshly minced ginger and garlic.
- Spices: This includes the usual Indian spices like Kashmiri red chili powder, red chili powder, garam masala, ground turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, chaat masala (not in the frame below), ajwain, salt, and black pepper.
- Green chilies: For some kick.
- Fresh herbs: Coriander leaves and curry leaves
- Other ingredients: lemon juice and oil
For the chicken pakora batter you will need just 3 more ingredients which are;
- Besan (chickpea flour): A primary ingredient for the coating used in almost every pakora recipe.
- Rice flour: Added for crispiness. You can swap the rice flour with cornflour or cornstarch.
- Egg white: The egg white helps seal in the chicken juices, keeping it moist, tender, and juicy. It is a popular Chinese technique known as ‘velveting’.
The weather is just perfect to indulge in some piping hot pakoras. So what are you waiting for? Check out the recipe and go make some!
How to make chicken pakora – Step by step process
Step 1: Marinate the chicken pieces
Place the chicken pieces (500 grams) in a large bowl. Pat dry to remove any moisture. (Photo 1)
Add 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, and finely chopped green chilies ( about 1 to 2, or as desired). (Photo 2)
Add 3/4th teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper. (Photo 3 and 4)
Also add 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon red chili powder/cayenne, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder. (Photos 5 to 10)
Also, add 1/4 teaspoon ajwain, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves, and a chopped curry leaves (about 15-16 leaves). Mix well. (Photo 11 to 15)
Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30 minutes. (Photo 16)
Step 2: Add besan, rice flour, and egg white
Add one beaten egg white, 1/2 cup besan, and 2 tablespoons rice flour or cornstarch, mix well. (Photos 17 to 20)
If it looks too dry, add a few tablespoons of water at a time and mix well. I added only about 2 tablespoons of water. (Photos 21 and 22)
Step 3: Deep fry the pakoras on medium-high heat
Heat oil for deep frying in a wok or kadai over medium heat.
Test the temperature of the oil with a candy or deep-frying thermometer (it should register 350° F/180° C). You can also test the oil temperature by dropping a little of the batter into the hot oil. It must rise to the surface slowly. That means the oil is ready for deep frying.
Slide the chicken pieces gently in the hot oil. Leave it undisturbed for a minute. (Photo 23 and 24)
After about a minute, flip the pieces with a slotted spoon and continue frying until the chicken is cooked through and turns a golden brown on all sides, about 3-4 minutes (depends on the size of your chicken pieces). If using bone-in chicken, it will take a few minutes longer. (Photos 25 and 26)
Transfer the chicken pakora to a plate lined with an absorbent paper napkin or on a wire rack to drain off excess oil. (Photo 27)
Continue frying the rest of the chicken pieces in the same way.
Step 4: Fry slit green chilies and curry leaves
The last step is to deep-fry 3-4 green chilies, slit lengthwise (very important to use only slit green chilies or peppers) and a sprig of curry leaves, until they turn crispy, about 30 seconds. (Photo 27)
Drain and add it over the chicken pakoras. (Photo 28)
Sprinkle chaat masala and serve immediately. (Photo 29)
This hot and crisp chicken bhajiya is best enjoyed as soon as they are prepared with a sprinkle of chaat masala for those delicious chatpata flavors.
Serve it with some green chutney, sweet chutney, or ketchup. A bite of the crispy pakoras and sweet and spicy chutneys is like an explosion of flavors in your mouth!
You can also stuff these pakoras in ladi pav slathered with chutneys of your choice.
p.s. Don’t forget that adrak wali chai (ginger tea) 😀
A few handy tips…
This recipe is fairly simple, but I’d like to share a few tips to help you make the best chicken pakora at home.
Add water 1 tablespoon at a time: Do not add too much water for the coating. Add just enough water so that the coating sticks to the chicken pieces. Too much moisture can make these pakoras soft and soggy. If the batter is too runny, add more chickpeas flour.
Fresh ginger, garlic, and spices: Use freshly minced ginger-garlic or coarsely crushed ginger-garlic. Avoid the store-bought paste as it will not give you that flavor that you can get from using fresh and it makes a lot of difference in recipes like these. Also, make sure your ground spices are fresh and not stale.
Use only egg white: The yolks can soften the coating due to their high-fat content. If you don’t want to use egg white, then use about 2-3 tablespoons of thick yogurt.
Don’t skip the green chillies and curry leaves: The green chilies and curry leaves are added in two steps in the recipe. One, in the marinade, and second, fried in the hot oil. They add a lovely flavor to this homemade chicken pakora that cannot be missed. Please skip it only if they are not accessible to you. Also, please remember to slit the green chilies lengthwise, or else they will splatter hot oil all over the place due to the moisture content.
Right oil temperature: Heat the oil on high initially. Then turn down the heat to medium-high and fry the pakoras. If the heat is too high, the exterior will brown faster and the insides will remain uncooked. If you fry at a low temperature, the pakoras will absorb a lot of oil and turn super greasy.
Fry in batches: Whenever you deep-fry anything, always do it in batches. Overcrowding the wok will bring down the temperature of the oil.
Variations of this recipe
Sliced onions: You can add a handful of thinly sliced onions to the batter. It will add a delicious taste and texture, a cross between onion and chicken pakoras 😀
Mint: You can also add chopped mint leaves to the batter.
Chinese style: For a yummy Indo-Chinese fusion, follow these steps;
- Marinate 500 grams of boneless chicken chunks with 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of chili garlic sauce or schezwan sauce, 2 teaspoons of rice vinegar or white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon each of minced ginger and garlic, 1 teaspoon finely chopped green chilies along with a tiny pinch of salt (since the sauces already have salt).
- For the coating, add 1 egg white, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour.
- Mix well and deep fry as shown above.
- To check if you need more salt, fry one piece of chicken and do a test taste. You may not need salt as the sauces contain salt, but if needed, adjust as required.
Frequently asked questions
Can I skip the marination if I’m pressed for time?
Yes, you can skip that step. But I highly suggest planning ahead and allowing it to marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes to overnight. The marination tenderizes the chicken and also allows the spices to be infused into the chicken resulting in a more flavorful outcome.
Why is the chicken pakora served at some places red in color?
The red color can be attributed to the addition of red food color to give it that signature, street-style look. You can definitely avoid it at home as it adds nothing to the taste.
I’ve added Kashmiri chili powder for that hint of red color in these pakoras.
Can I make a baked version of this recipe?
Yes, you can. Place the coated chicken pieces over a greased steel rack on a baking tray. Refer to the pics below. Grease the chicken pieces with some oil spray and baked them in a preheated oven at 230° C/450° F for 12 to 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
They didn’t turn as crispy as the deep-fried version, but it is a great alternative if you don’t like deep-frying anything at home. I highly suggest using chicken thighs if you do opt for the baked version as it remains moist and juicy while the exterior crisps up.
Can this be made ahead?
Unfortunately, no! You cannot make any sort of pakora in advance as it will not stay crisp for long, even with the addition of rice flour or cornstarch.
If you intend to serve these as an appetizer/starter for parties, then the least you can do is marinate the chicken pieces and coat them with the batter. Deep-fry just before serving.
Another trick is to fry the pakoras twice. Make sure the chicken is cooked through completely when you fry the pakoras once. The second frying will be very brief just to crisp up them up.
Is this gluten-free?
Yes, it is! If you swap the rice with cornstarch, make sure that it is gluten-free.
Is chicken pakora healthy?
Technically, this recipe cannot be categorized as healthy because of deep-frying. Though, it depends on your definition of healthy.
I think in terms of quality, anything homemade is always superior to street-style food. We can use good quality ingredients and also the oil is not used as many times as street-food vendors do.
I’ve provided rough nutrition info in the recipe card. Be sure to check it out.
You may also enjoy these delicious Indian chicken appetizers
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Chicken Pakora Recipe
Chicken Pakora marination
- 500 grams chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 to 2 green chili, finely chopped
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, add as per desired heat
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ajwain
- 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- About 10-12 curry leaves chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon oil
For the coating
- 1/2 cup besan
- 2 tablespoons rice flour or cornstarch
- 1 egg white beaten
- 2 cups oil, to deep fry
- 3-4 green chilies, slit legthwise,
- Sprig of curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon chaat masala, or as required
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or as required
- Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Pat dry to remove any moisture.
- Add all the ingredients listed under chicken pakora marination.
- Mix until the chicken pieces are well coated with the spices and herbs.
- Cover the bowl and set it aside for 30 minutes.
- Add one beaten egg white, besan, and rice flour or cornstarch, mix well.
- If it looks too dry, add a few tablespoons of water at a time and mix well. I added only about 2 tablespoons of water.
- Heat oil for deep frying in a wok or kadai over medium heat.
- Test the temperature of the oil with a candy or deep-frying thermometer (it should register 350° F/180° C). You can also test the oil temperature by dropping a little of the batter into the hot oil. It must rise to the surface slowly. That means the oil is ready for deep frying.
- Slide the chicken pieces gently in the hot oil. Leave it undisturbed for a minute.
- After about a minute, flip the pieces with a slotted spoon and continue frying until the chicken is cooked through and turns a golden brown on all sides, about 3-4 minutes (depends on the size of your chicken pieces). If using bone-in chicken, it will take a few minutes longer.
- Transfer the chicken pakora to a plate lined with an absorbent paper napkin or on a wire rack to drain off excess oil. Continue frying the rest of the chicken pieces in the same way.
- The last step is to deep-fry the green chilies, slit lengthwise (very important to use only slit green chilies or peppers) and curry leaves, until they turn crispy, about 30 seconds.
- Drain and add it over the chicken pakoras.
- Sprinkle chaat masala and serve immediately.
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