Delicata Squash Pakoras - The Perfect Appetizer or Snack for Sharing

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Delicata Squash Pakoras - The Perfect Appetizer or Snack for Sharing

There are many variations, but traditionally they are vegetables battered in seasoned chickpea flour and fried.

Here We have developed a recipe for delicate pumpkin pakoras, spicy like traditional pakoras, light and crunchy. we use a Japanese tempura-like batter.

These delicate pumpkin pakoras are so crunchy and magically seasoned.

The recipe makes six to eight servings, so they're made to share as an appetizer or snack! Serve them as a special treat for Diwali or an autumn dinner.

How to Choose the Best Delicata Squash

Our favorite squash is the delicate squash; they are smaller in size, easy to prepare and the rind is edible.

Smaller delicate squashes have thinner skins and creamier textures, perfect for sautéing. Choose ones that feel firm, heavy, and evenly colored; they should look creamy and yellow.

Avoid those with blemishes or weak points.

Where to buy indian spices

This recipe calls for cumin seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, Kashmiri chili powder, and kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves).

It is a combination of spices and flavors often found in pakoras.

You can find them at any major supermarket like Whole Foods except kasuri methi which can be bought at your local Indian store, Spicewalla or Amazon.

Tips for getting the crispiest pakoras

  • The batter uses vodka and mineral water to create light and crispy fried pakoras. Vodka inhibits the development of gluten and mineral water clarifies the dough. Be sure to use fresh, unopened sparkling water; if the carbonation isn't strong enough, the topping won't be as crisp. Also, keep the seltzer and vodka as cold as possible and don't pour them into the dry ingredients until the oil is fully heated. Otherwise, the mineral water will thaw while you wait for the oil to heat up. A small can of mineral water holds about 355 milliliters, which is more than enough.
  • Use a deep-fry thermometer to make sure the oil stays around 350°F at all times. Turn the heat up or down as the pakoras cook.
  • Serve the pakoras hot. I like to serve them straight out of the fryer and while I'm frying the next batch.

Ingredient Swaps That Work

  • In testing, I did not find any significant deficiencies when using wheat flour, but if you have rice flour, give it a try. It is lighter than wheat flour, resulting in even crispier pakoras.
  • No vodka? Use only mineral water.
  • It's okay to use carbonated water instead of sparkling water. Avoid using mineral water.


  • 2 small, delicate zucchini (1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 cups canola oil or peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup (62 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) chickpea flour (see recipe note)
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder or other mild chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons kasuri methi (dried fenugreek)
  • 1/4 cup (50 ml) vodka, chilled
  • 2/3 cup (150 ml) sparkling or sparkling water, cold

To serve

  • salt flakes
  • 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped, packed
  • lemon slices
  • Mint Chutney, Tamarind Chutney or Spicy Alioli


Prepare the pumpkin:

Trim the ends of the delicate pumpkin and cut it in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and membrane, which can be discarded. Then cut the squash into 1/8-inch half moons.

Prepare the oil:

Add oil to a medium Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot and place over medium heat. Make sure the oil doesn't go halfway up the sides of the pan.

Preheat oil to 350°F - check temperature with a deep-fry thermometer.

Line a wire cooling rack or baking sheet with paper towels. Put it aside.

Mix the dry ingredients:

Meanwhile, whisk the all-purpose and garbanzo flours, cornstarch, cumin seeds, ground cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt, and methi leaves in a medium bowl.

Add Wet Ingredients:

Just before preheating the oil, ideally when it reaches 325°F, slowly pour in the vodka and mineral water and mix until smooth.

Don't overmix, which can flatten the carbonation.

A few small pieces of dry flour are fine. The batter will be a bit thick, which helps it stick to the squash.

Fry the Pumpkin:

Add 8 to 10 pumpkin crescents to the batter and cover well. Once preheated, use tongs to carefully drop the squash into the oil in a single layer.

You may need to turn the heat up or down to keep the oil at 350°F while you fry the pakoras.

Fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Use tongs to transfer the pumpkin to prepared paper towels for draining. Sprinkle the pakoras with flaked salt.

Serve the pakoras:

Garnish the pakoras with coriander and serve hot with lime wedges and a sauce, such as mint chutney, tamarind chutney, or spicy aioli.

I like to serve them as soon as they are fried and when I fry the next batch.

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