Pakora waffles

Pakora waffles

I saw a video go viral on TikTok of a man who likes making pakoras in the waffle maker, and my first thought was: “That’s genius.” Then my second thought was: “Why didn’t I think of that?” And that's because I have a waffle maker, but I’ve only ever used three times. Therefore, this was the perfect excuse to dust it off, literally, it was sitting on my top shelf, left untouched for about a year. 

For this pakora transformation, I used one of my own pakora recipes to make these pakora waffles. Typically, I would fry up the pakoras in hot vegetable oil if I was making them the traditional way.

But one of the appeals of making pakora wafflers to me is that they aren’t deep fried, which is better people looking to cut back on grease, cholesterol, and saturated fats. I’m always looking for ways to eat healthy food that’s both delicious and satisfying, so I was eager to test this recipe out in my waffle maker.

Dive into my blog post to learn how to make these pakora waffles.

Pakora waffles with yogurt sauce on a plate

What are pakoras?

Pakoras are crispy, crunchy, fried fritters that are made with vegetables and spices and coated in a chickpea or flour batter. They are a popular snack in South Asian homes and are enjoyed in countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and regions with a South Asian diaspora. Typically, this street snack is deep fried, giving pakoras their classic golden brown color and signature crunch. 

Pakoras are a great way to use up whatever vegetables you have lying around. You can use vegetables like onions, a classic ingredient, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, French green beans, snap peas, eggplant, bell peppers, and more. I’ve even seen people make them with paneer, which is a cottage cheese that’s typical in South Asian cuisine. These vegetables are coated in a light batter that is made up of chickpea flour, all-purpose flour, atta (whole wheat flour), or even rice flour and spiced up with classic South Asian flavors like garam masala, curry powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and other mouth-watering ingredients.  

In order to make these fritters nice and crispy you want to make sure the vegetables are cut into small, thin slices. And then those trimmed vegetables should be dressed in a batter that is thick enough to coat the vegetables. Once you make the pakora batter, you fry it in hot oil until it’s turned golden brown. But in this case, we're cooking them in a waffle maker. 

Crispy pakoras are typically served with a dipping sauce like a mint and cilantro sauce or a tamarind or mango chutney. 

Where do pakoras come from? 

Pakoras are akin to snacks like hushpuppies or fritters. But this treat hails from South Asia. There are theories that it was invented more than a thousand years go and over time has transformed into a popular street snack that’s enjoyed across many countries and regions. It’s often found as an appetizer at Indian and Bengali restaurants around the world. 

Early variations of pakora are mentioned in Sanskrit and Tamil Sangam literature. The word pakora comes from the Sanskrit word “paka,” which means cooked. It is believed that paka is derived from the Mughal word “pakwata,” meaning “fried fritter.” Although a recipe isn't provided in these ancient texts, the literature mentions “a round cake made of pulse fried in oil” and “crispy fried vegetables,” which were served with meals. Sounds familiar, right?

One theory about how the pakora came to exist is that it was developed as a way to preserve vegetables during the rainy season (monsoon season). The preservation was through the gram flour batter, also known as chickpea flour, which helped extend the life of the vegetables. 

Alright, that's enjoy of a history lesson, let's make some snacks.

Recipe: Pakora waffles with yogurt dipping sauce

Two pakora wafflers

Yields: 10 medium-sized waffles (depending on the size of your waffle maker)

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 40 minutes | Total cook time: 1 hour


  • 1 cup (240 ml) of chickpea flour (besan flour, gram flour) 
  • ⅓ cup of rice flour (can be substituted with atta/whole wheat flour) 
  • ½ teaspoon of salt (or more depending on your preference) 
  • ½ teaspoon of black pepper 
  • Pinch of ajwain seeds (or cumin powder)
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala 
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder 
  • ½ teaspoon of fenugreek powder (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon of chili powder (or more to taste) 
  • 1 small onion thinly chopped 
  • 1 cup of shredded cabbage 
  • 2 medium carrots julienned 
  • ½ bell pepper julienned
  • ½ cup of sprouted lentils (optional) 
  • 1 tablespoon of cilantro chopped (optional) 
  • ½ cup of water (or more to achieve medium-thickness of batter) 
  • Cooking spray or preferred oil to coat the waffle maker

Yogurt dipping sauce 

  • ½ cup of Greek, plain yogurt (non-fat or full-fat is fine)
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped mint 
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped cilantro (sub for parsley if you want) 
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped dill (optional, can use Thai basil too) 
  • ½ lemon juice and zest 
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ teaspoon of chaat masala (optional, or add garam masala)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


1. Chop your vegetables thinly and set them aside. I like to boost the protein in my pakoras with some sprouted lentils. You can sprout brown lentils a few days ahead of time by soaking them in water and then draining them in a colander. If you don’t want to deal with that, you can omit this or sub it for some canned beans. 

Chopped vegetables that are prepped for pakora recipe

2. Once you chop up all your veggies, add them to a large bowl and mix in your dry ingredients and spices. Toss with thongs and then add water slowly.

Spices and chickpea flour mixed into veggies

3. I like to start with ½ cup of water and then I mix again to see how the batter is doing. Chickpea flour makes a light batter, so don’t be alarmed when you mix everything together and the batter looks thin. You want a light to medium thickness for the batter. The batter should be thick enough to coat the vegetables, sort of like a crepe batter. If the batter is too thick add more water until you get the right consistency.

Pakora batter mixed together

4. I let the batter rest for a few minutes while I prep my waffle maker. I like to get the waffle maker as hot as possible before I spray it with some avocado spray as it has a higher smoke point. Then I spoon the batter onto the waffle iron and press the waffle maker lid down. I like to add some pressure to waffle maker lid to make sure the vegetables get soft while the pakoras cook. 

Pakora batter added to waffle maker

5. I found that it takes about 5 to 7 minutes to cook the waffles, depending on how much batter you use and how strong your waffle maker is, therefore, watch your waffles carefully. I spoon about ⅓ cup of batter to make each waffle in the waffle maker. 

Cooked pakora waffles that are ready from the waffle maker

6. While the waffles cook, I make the yogurt dipping sauce. It’s pretty simple to make. Mix yogurt with lemon juice, lemon zest, minced garlic, spices, and finely chopped herbs and then it’s ready. I like use yogurt sauces when I can because it’s extra protein. 

Fresh herbs and ingredients for the yogurt dipping sauce

7. Once the waffles are cooked, I recommend eating them while they are hot. I like to sprinkle them with a little finishing salt of chaat masala (which is a finishing powder that is packed with tangy and tasty flavors), and I serve with a dipping sauce. These don't keep well in the refrigerator, so try to eat them right away.

Although these pakora waffles aren’t are crispy as the deep fried classic, I think they are a good alternative for people looking for a savory and healthy snack that has come classic Bengali and Indian flavors. I hope you enjoy! 

Let me know whether you made this recipe by commenting below! 

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