//Palak Pakoda (Spinach Fritters)

Palak Pakoda (Spinach Fritters)

palak pakoda served in a bowl with a side of wheat bread slices and coriander chutney on a wooden boardpalak pakoda served in a bowl with a side of wheat bread slices and coriander chutney on a wooden board
palak pakoda served in a bowl with a side of wheat bread slices and coriander chutney on a wooden boardpalak pakoda served in a bowl with a side of wheat bread slices and coriander chutney on a wooden board

Palak pakoda are crisp and tasty deep-fried spinach fritters made with spinach leaves, gram flour (besan), onion, herbs and spices. These tasty palak pakora make for a quick vegan snack. Here I share two different and unique ways of making palak pakoda recipe.

palak pakoda served in a bowl with a side of wheat bread slices and coriander chutney on a wooden boardpalak pakoda served in a bowl with a side of wheat bread slices and coriander chutney on a wooden board

There are many variations of making palak pakoda recipe. But mainly they can be made with two unique methods.

  1. Easy Palak Pakoda – Finely chopped spinach leaves are mixed in the gram flour batter and deep fried.
  2. Crispy Spinach Fritters – Each spinach leaf is dipped in a spiced gram flour batter and then deep fried. You get a distinct taste of spinach in these fritters.

Both the methods are quick, easy and the pakoras taste good. You can choose the method that you like.

About Easy Palak Pakoda

Pakoda or pakora is the Hindi term for fritters. Palak is the Hindi word for spinach. There are many ways palak pakoda or spinach fritters are made in the Indian cuisine.

This classic easy palak pakoda recipe is from my mom’s collection. They are made with of course besan (gram flour) and onions, spices, herbs and white sesame seeds.

The sesame seeds add a lovely taste and light crunch in the palak pakora. The onions add some sweetness which balances the metallic flavors of spinach.

Besan or gram flour is ground skinned small black chickpeas. Besan is different from chickpea flour that is made from white chickpeas.

If you want to disguise the spinach in the fritters for kids who don’t like them, then this palak pakoda recipe is for you.

You can easily bake these, if you prefer not to fry them. Of course, they will be a healthy variation, with all the goodness of the spinach, sesame seeds and gram flour.

I have mentioned the details of baking these in the notes section of recipe card and in the tips section below.

Winters or monsoon season are the best time to enjoy the pakoras. However at my home, everyone loves pakora. Be it summer, rains or winters does not matter to folks who love pakora – right?

Nothing beats the combination of some hot pakora with chai.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Palak Pakoda

Prepping spinach leaves

1. Rinse the palak or spinach leaves very well in water and finely chop them. Keep aside. You will need 1.5 to 2 cups of finely chopped spinach leaves.

TIP: Spinach is listed really high on the Dirty Dozen list. If possible, please try to buy organic or grow your own.

finely chopped spinach in a yellow mixing bowlfinely chopped spinach in a yellow mixing bowl

Mixing spinach with onions and seasonings

2. Add ⅓ cup chopped onions, 1 teaspoon chopped ginger and 1 green chili (chopped).

chopped onions, ginger and green chillies added to spinachchopped onions, ginger and green chillies added to spinach

3. Then add 1 teaspoon fennel seed powder, ¼ to ½ teaspoon red chili powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, a pinch of asafoetida (hing) and 1 to 1.5 tablespoons white sesame seeds.

ground spices, salt and white sesame seeds addedground spices, salt and white sesame seeds added

Making batter

4. Next add 1 cup besan (gram flour) and salt according to your liking. You could also add a pinch of baking soda at this step.

besan and salt added besan and salt added

5. Mix all the ingredients very well and set aside for 5 minutes.

ingredients mixed and set asideingredients mixed and set aside

6. Add water in parts. Remember the spinach and onions will release water once they are mixed with salt and the ground spices. So be careful while adding water.

As I have mentioned in step 5 above – first mix the ingredients thoroughly and set aside for 5 minutes. Then add ½ cup of water first. If the batter is still thick then add some more water.

I added few tablespoons more water as I used homemade gram flour which is slightly coarse.

some water added to the mixed palak pakoda ingredientssome water added to the mixed palak pakoda ingredients

7. Mix very well. Do add water as needed to make a medium consistency batter.

palak pakora batter readypalak pakora batter ready

Frying

8. Heat oil in a kadai or pan. When the oil is medium hot, drop spoonfuls of the pakoda batter in the oil.

TIP: To check if the oil is ready for frying, add 1 to 2 small spoons of batter in it. If the batter sizzles and comes up on the surface quickly and gradually, your oil is hot enough to begin frying.

spoonful of batter being dropped in hot oil with a spoonspoonful of batter being dropped in hot oil with a spoon

9. Fry them until they become pale golden. Then gently turn over with a slotted spoon and fry the other side.

palak pakoda being fried in hot oilpalak pakoda being fried in hot oil

10. Turn over a couple of times and fry all the palak pakoda until they are crisp and golden.

TIP: Depending on the size of the pan or kadai, you can vary the numbers of pakoda while frying – but do not add too much or overcrowd the pan.

palak pakora getting friedpalak pakora getting fried

11. Remove them with a slotted spoon.

fried palak pakoda on a black slotted spoonfried palak pakoda on a black slotted spoon

12. Place the palak pakora on kitchen paper towels to remove extra oil.

palak pakoda placed on kitchen paper towelspalak pakoda placed on kitchen paper towels

13. Serve palak pakoda hot or warm. Use up the entire batter this way by frying the pakora in batches.

palak pakoda served in a bowl with a side of wheat bread slices and coriander chutney on a wooden boardpalak pakoda served in a bowl with a side of wheat bread slices and coriander chutney on a wooden board

What to serve Palak Pakoda with?

  1. Chutney: Palak pakoda pairs really well with a coriander chutney or mint chutney or tamarind chutney and even coconut chutney.
  2. Dipping sauces: Tasty dipping sauces like schezwan sauce, red chilli sauce and tomato ketchup also taste good with palak pakora.
  3. Raita: A unique side that goes really well with palak pakora is raita. A simple plain raita made with minimal seasonings – roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder, salt and cilantro or mint. I don’t know about you, but this is one of my favorite sides for palak pakora.
  4. Bread: Indian breads like roti or even a leavened whole wheat loaf or dinner rolls taste delish. Serve with masala or ginger chai.

Tips

Expert Tips

Variations

  • Spices & herbs: Spinach has metallic flavors. So to balance these flavors, the batter has to have a perfect seasoning from the spices and herbs which my recipe offers. Though this recipe won’t give you a spicy palak pakora, but if you prefer you can increase the proportion of green chillies and red chilli powder.
  • No onion variation: If you do not eat onions, just skip them.
  • Spinach: Both fresh and frozen spinach can be included. Baby spinach also tastes nice.
  • Thawing frozen spinach: Frozen spinach can become watery when it thaws. To avoid this, after thawing the spinach, either squeeze it in a tea towel or press it through a strainer to remove extra water. Then proceed with the pakoda recipe.
  • Baking & air frying: For health reasons, you can definitely bake these palak fritters. Preheat your oven or air-fryer for 10 minutes. Then bake or air fry at 180 degrees celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit). Either you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil in the batter or when the pakora is half-baked, brush them lightly with oil.
  • Leavening ingredient: I mostly avoid adding baking soda or baking powder to the batter when making any pakora. For a fluffy palak pakoda, add 1 pinch of baking soda or ¼ teaspoon of baking powder to the batter.  

Recipe notes

  • Batter: This easy palak pakoda recipe batter has a medium consistency. Make sure that you do not end up with a thin or runny or a thick batter. A thin batter will absorb too much oil and thick batter will make the fritters doughy.
  • Water proportion: For the batter begin with adding ½ cup water and add more only if needed. Some spinach leaves or onions may have a higher water content and the quality, texture of the gram flour is also not the same everywhere. So you need to add water keeping these factors in mind. Here I have made the pakora with homemade gram flour which is slightly coarse – thus I added a bit more water to the batter than what I would have done otherwise. The packaged flour is fine to super fine, so you will need to add less water.
  • Oil: For deep frying use any neutral oil that has a high smoke point.  

FAQs

How to tell if oil is hot enough for frying?

Before you begin to fry keep the heat to medium or medium-high. Usually food is fried at a temperature of 180 to 190 degrees Celsius.

You can check the oil temperature with a frying thermometer. But if you do not have a thermometer, then you can follow the method mentioned below.

Add a few small spoons of the batter to the hot oil. If it sizzles and comes up quickly and gradually, your oil is hot enough to begin frying.

When you see that the batter remains at the bottom, this means that the oil is not hot – hence increase the heat a bit.

When the batter comes up too quick and gets browned or burnt, the oil is very hot – thus reduce the heat slightly.

Why are my pakoras soggy?

If your pakora batter is watery or runny, it will absorb oil making it soggy. Frying pakora on a low heat will also make them soggy.

Always fry pakora in batches. Do not overcrowd the oil with many pakoras. Doing this reduces the temperature of the oil and the pakora absorb more oil making them soggy.

How can I make my pakora less oily?

Fry pakora at medium to medium-high heat. Fry in batches and do not add too many pakoda in the pan for frying. Keep on regulating the heat.

Adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of hot oil in the batter not only makes the pakora crispy but they absorb less oil as well.

More Pakoras!

Crispy Spinach Fritters

In this method of making palak pakoda recipe each spinach leaf is dipped in a spiced gram flour batter and then fried.

crispy spinach leaf fritters placed on a light yellow oval plate with ketchup in a small white bowlcrispy spinach leaf fritters placed on a light yellow oval plate with ketchup in a small white bowl

The result is a crisp and golden gram flour batter coated spinach fritters that taste awesome with a cup of tea and some green chutney.

These spinach fritters are very crisp and you get a distinct flavor and taste of spinach in each bite. If you are fond of spinach then you will like this variation of making the fritters.

Step-by-step Crispy Spinach Fritters

1. Rinse, drain and pat dry the spinach leaves. If the leaves are very large, you can chop them into two halves.

spinach leaves rinsed and placed on a grey kitchen towelspinach leaves rinsed and placed on a grey kitchen towel

2. In a mixing bowl take 1.5 cups besan, ½ teaspoon red chili powder, ¾ teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain), 2 teaspoon white sesame seeds, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon garam masala powder, a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing), 2 pinches of baking soda and salt according to your taste.

Add ¾ to 1 cup water bit by bit and mix to a thick smooth batter. Set aside.

batter mixed and ready for making spinach frittersbatter mixed and ready for making spinach fritters

3. Heat oil until medium hot in a pan or kadai. Dip each leaf into the batter and coat it evenly with the batter. Draining the extra batter from the batter coated spinach leaf on the sides of the mixing bowl, lift the leaf gently and place in the hot oil.

frying spinach fritters in oil in a panfrying spinach fritters in oil in a pan

4. One one side is golden and crisp, carefully turn over with a slotted spoon. Fry the second side until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon. Fry the remaining fritters in the same way.

Depending on the size of your pan or kadai, fry 2 to 4 fritters at the same time

frying spinach frittersfrying spinach fritters

5. Drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil.

fried spinach fritters placed on kitchen paper towelsfried spinach fritters placed on kitchen paper towels

6. Serve the crispy spinach fritters hot with mint chutney, tamarind chutney or tomato sauce or cilantro chutney or any green chutney. You can also sprinkle some chaat masala on top of the fritters while serving. Serve with masala tea or ginger tea.

crispy spinach leaf fritters placed on a light yellow oval plate with ketchup in a small white bowlcrispy spinach leaf fritters placed on a light yellow oval plate with ketchup in a small white bowl

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Palak Pakoda is a crisp and tasty deep fried fritters made with spinach, gram flour, herbs and spices.

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 30 mins



Servings 4

Making batter

  • Rinse the palak or spinach leaves very well. Drain the excess water in a colander or strainer. Finely chop the spinach leaves.

  • In a bowl add the finely chopped palak leaves, chopped onions, ginger and green chili.

  • Add the ground spice powders – fennel seed powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, asafoetida (hing). Add the sesame seeds as well.

  • Next add besan and salt as per taste. You could also add a pinch of baking soda at this step.

  • Mix all the ingredients very well and set aside for 5 minutes.

  • First add ½ cup of water in parts. Remember the spinach and onions will leave water once they are mixed with salt and the spice powders. So be careful while adding water. 

  • If the batter is still thick, then add some more water.

  • Mix very well. Add water as required to make a medium consistency batter.

Frying palak pakoda

  • Heat oil in a kadai or pan. When the oil is medium hot, drop spoonfuls of the pakora batter in the oil.

  • Fry the pakora until they become pale golden. Then turn over and fry the other side.

  • Turn over a couple of times and fry all the pakora until they are crisp and golden.

  • Remove them with a slotted spoon. Drain them on kitchen paper towels to remove extra oil.

  • Fry the palak pakoda in batches this way and use up the entire batter.

Serving suggestions

  • Chutney: A coriander chutney or mint chutney or tamarind chutney and even coconut chutney pairs well with palak pakoda.

  • Dipping sauces: Tasty dipping sauces like schezwan sauce, red chilli sauce and tomato ketchup also taste equally good.

  • Raita: A simple plain raita made with minimal seasonings – roasted cumin powder, red chilli powder, salt and cilantro or mint will also pair nicely.

  • Bread: Indian breads like roti or leavened whole grain loaf or dinner rolls taste good. Serve with masala or ginger chai.

  • Spices & herbs: Spinach has metallic flavors. To balance these flavors, the batter need to have a perfect seasoning from the spices and herbs. My recipe won’t give you a spicy pakoda, but as you prefer you can increase the amount of green chillies and red chilli powder.
  • Batter: The spinach pakora batter consistency is medium. Do not make a thin or runny or a thick batter. A thin batter will absorb too much oil and thick batter will make the fritters doughy. If the batter becomes thin, add a few tablespoons of gram flour. If the batter is very thick, add a bit of water. 
  • Water proportion: Begin with adding ½ cup water and add more only if needed. Some spinach leaves or onions may have a high water content and the quality of the gram flour is also not the same everywhere. So water has to be added keeping these factors in mind. I have here used gram flour which was ground at home. The packaged flour is fine or super fine. The homemade flour was little coarse. So obviously I add a bit more water to the batter than what I would have added otherwise.
  • No onion variation: For folks who do not eat onions, just skip onions in the pakora. It will still taste delicious.
  • Spinach: Both fresh and frozen spinach can be included. Baby spinach also tastes nice.
  • Frozen spinach: Frozen spinach can become watery when it thaws. To avoid this, after thawing the spinach, either squeeze it in a tea towel or press it through a strainer to remove extra water. Then proceed with the pakoda recipe.
  • Oil: For deep frying use any neutral oil that has a high smoke point.  
  • Baking & air frying:  For health reasons, you can bake these palak fritters. Preheat your oven or air-fryer for 10 minutes. Then bake or air fry at 180 degrees celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit). Either you can add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil in the batter or when the pakora is half-baked, brush them lightly with oil.
  • Leavening ingredient: For a fluffy palak pakoda, you can add 1 pinch of baking soda or ¼ teaspoon of baking powder.  

Nutrition Facts

Palak Pakoda

Amount Per Serving

Calories 177 Calories from Fat 90

% Daily Value*

Fat 10g15%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 1g

Cholesterol 1mg0%

Sodium 327mg14%

Potassium 316mg9%

Carbohydrates 16g5%

Fiber 3g13%

Sugar 3g3%

Protein 6g12%

Vitamin A 1444IU29%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%

Vitamin B6 1mg50%

Vitamin C 5mg6%

Vitamin E 3mg20%

Vitamin K 73µg70%

Calcium 49mg5%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 34µg9%

Iron 7mg39%

Magnesium 24mg6%

Phosphorus 24mg2%

Zinc 1mg7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Spinach fritters are crisp and tasty fritters made with whole spinach leaf and spiced gram flour batter.

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 25 mins

Total Time 35 mins



Servings 3

  • Mix all the ingredients for the batter to a thick smooth consistency.

  • Rinse, drain and pat dry the spinach leaves.

  • Heat oil until medium hot in a pan or kadai.

  • Dip each spinach leaf into the batter and coat it evenly. Place the batter coated leaf gently in the hot oil.

  • Depending upon the size of your pan or kadai, you can add less or more spinach leaves for frying.

  • Fry them until golden and crisp. Prepare the remaining fritters in the same way.

  • Drain them on paper towels to remove excess oil.

  • Serve the spinach fritters hot with green chutney, tamarind chutney or homemade tomato sauce. You can also sprinkle some chaat masala on top of the fritters while serving.

Spinach: Only use fresh spinach for this recipe. Do not use frozen spinach.  Spicing: For spicy fritters, add more red chilli powder or green chilli paste to the batter.  Frying: Fry at medium to medium-high heat. Do not fry at a low temperature of oil as this would make the spinach fritters absorb more oil and make them soggy.  Variation: Using this same spinach fritters, you can make palak pakoda chaat.  Gluten-free option: Skip asafetida or use gluten-free asafetida for gluten-free spinach fritters. 

Nutrition Facts

Crispy Spinach Fritters

Amount Per Serving

Calories 279 Calories from Fat 126

% Daily Value*

Fat 14g22%

Saturated Fat 1g6%

Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

Monounsaturated Fat 1g

Cholesterol 1mg0%

Sodium 612mg27%

Potassium 411mg12%

Carbohydrates 28g9%

Fiber 6g25%

Sugar 5g6%

Protein 11g22%

Vitamin A 474IU9%

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%

Vitamin B6 1mg50%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Vitamin E 4mg27%

Vitamin K 20µg19%

Calcium 19mg2%

Vitamin B9 (Folate) 8µg2%

Iron 13mg72%

Magnesium 8mg2%

Phosphorus 8mg1%

Zinc 1mg7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This post is from the archives (May 2012) and has been republished and updated on 9 January 2021.