Onion fritters with cilantro mint dipping sauce are one of my favorite appetizers. Indian spices give the fritters beautiful color and taste.
Do you remember the old cartoons where someone would smell something incredibly delicious and his body would float in the air, following the scent? That’s how my husband is about Indian food. When our old neighbors, who are Pakistani-American, moved in, the days that Kishwar cooked traditional foods, the smells that would come wafting over our fence were amazing! Spencer’s eyes would roll back in his head and he would beg me to find out some of Kish’s secrets.
I started cooking Indian food after we returned from our honeymoon there, twenty-five years ago. I’m constantly trying new recipes and am so glad that my kids are willing tasters and love Indian food as much as we do. I have several of Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbooks, but one of my favorites is her Quick & Easy Indian Cooking. Turmeric, one of the main spices in Indian food, is all over the news with it’s amazing health benefits. I often add turmeric to my rice pilaf to give it a pretty golden color.
I’ve made these Onion fritters a few times and every time I make them, I always think, “I’ve got to make these more often!”
I made a batch this weekend and even my sick 18 year old crawled out of bed to get her share of onion fritters. It’s always a good sign in our house when only sighs accompany the food. We four devoured the whole batch, post photos, standing at the island in the kitchen. Sophie, 12, said, “You really should make onion fritters more often!”
Onion fritters really are pretty easy to make.
They require a few Indian ingredients, the most unusual ingredient, chickpea flour, also called besan or gram flour, is available at most health food stores. Chickpea flour is also gluten-free which makes it a nice dish for those with gluten sensitivities.
The fresh cilantro-mint chutney to serve them with is very similar to a Greek Tzatziki, just yogurt and some fresh herbs! It’s the perfect compliment to these tasty little bites!
Indian Crispy Onion Fritters
- 1 large egg
- 4 Tablespoons water
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala available in the spice section of most grocery stores
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 hot green chile finely chopped
- 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
- 1 medium onion peeled and diced
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 8 Tablespoons plain yogurt divided
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro coarsely chopped
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons fresh mint coarsely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Whisk egg into a bowl and beat well. Add the water and the lemon juice. Mix. Add remaining ingredients, chickpea flour through cilantro and mix well. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a deep fryer or wok, over a medium high heat. Jaffrey suggests 3 inches of oil, but I use less, maybe an inch?
- When the oil is hot, put the chopped onion in the batter and mix. (This should be done just before frying)
- Drop batter by heaping tablespoons into the hot oil. Working in batches, frying 3 or 4 at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Turn fritters to brown on both sides, about 3 or 4 minutes per side. Remove fritters with slotted spoons and drain on a plate lined with paper towel. Serve with Fresh Green Chutney.
- Put 2 Tablespoons yogurt, mint, cilantro, lemon and salt in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Beat remaining 6 Tablespoons yogurt in a bowl and add herb/yogurt mixture, stirring until mixed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Looking for more Indian dishes to go with your onion fritters?
Curried Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Onions
Jeanne Michael says
Do you really mean 3/4 cup kosher salt in your onion fritter recipe?
Thanks for catching that Jeanne!
I don’t dice the onions, but slice thinly, then add to the batter. I gather up amounts with two forks and when the fritters hit the oil, they spread and end up looking like “spiders”, as my husband called them. I also served a dipping sauce of a spicy tomato relish.
That would work too Missy! I had some vegetable “nests’ this weekend, that I would like to recreate!
Kristi ~ Necessary Indulgences says
Hi Cynthia! I can’t wait to make these. I love that you use chickpea flour, I love that stuff . . .
Jane toles says
Any substitution for chickpea flour? Sounds delish!!!!!
Hi jane, regular all purpose flour will work just fine. There will be a slight taste difference, as chickpea flour is traditionally used for these, but they’ll still taste great!
I’ve always been scared of Indian food, but these fritters look amazing!
There are a lot of ingredients in most Indian dishes, but once you gather them, it’s not so hard to whip up something really tasty!
Michelle @ The Complete Savorist says
These onion fritters are loaded with flavor. I love the turmeric.
Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says
Completely in love with these. Definitely whipping them up soon!
Shashi at RunninSrilankan says
Like your hubs, I adore Indian Food and have an out of body experience while smelling and eating it too 🙂 And if there wasn’t a screen between me and these onion fritters or pakoras, I’d be sailing through the air after one bite!
Looks, so good, one of my favorite appetizers when we go out for Indian, Can’t wait to try these.
Hi. Try adding chopped spinach as ingrdient along with finely chopped eggplant and curry leaves. That’s the traditional fritters recipe my grandmother prepares. It gives a crispier texture. I add seltzer water to batter at the last minute before frying. Makes a world of a difference. My family is from Pakistan so some twist on the recipe. No garam masala in batter. Sprinkle with it when they come out of the fryer.
Thanks Asiya! One of my girlfriends is Pakistani,
so I loved watching cook and learned a lot from her.
This recipe is actually from Madhur Jaffery who is
a well-known Indian chef and cookbook author. But I
love your additions, although curry leaves are difficult to find in
most US stores.