Bhajis, also known as pakoras, are one of my favorite Indian appetizer/snacks.  They’re deep-fried fritters made with chickpea flour (besan), onions, and various other ingredients.  The original recipe by Victoria Blashford-Snell and
Brigitte Hafner
, which I got from,  called for onion only, but I wanted to throw in a green vegetable for interest.  Spinach is frequently used in vegetable pakoras, and kale is a good sub-in for spinach (which I don’t like that much).  I also subbed in some salt for some of the cumin, and added more coriander.

These are quick and delicious – the thing that takes the most time is heating the oil!  The batter can be made an hour or two ahead of time; if it gets too thick, add a bit of water.


  • 1 C chopped onions
  • 1/2 C kale or spinach, finely chopped
  • 3/4 C chickpea/garbanzo flour (also called besan, or gram flour)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly-ground coriander seeds (you can crush them w/ the back of a spoon)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 spicy chile, green or red, minced (de-seeded, if desired)
  • Handful of kale, about 1/2 C, shredded and sauteed lightly until tender
  • small amount of water (about 1/2 C)
  • vegetable oil for frying


  • Put 2″ of oil in a large, deep saucepan and heat to 350.
  • In a good-sized bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients, adding water slowly, up to about 1/2 C, to make a smooth, thick batter.
  • Carefully add spoonfuls of batter to hot oil,  in batches of three or four.
  • Fry about 3 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden.
  • Drain on paper towels, season, and serve with pakora chutney.