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Potato Pakora with Tamarind Sauce

Recipe from V Street Food by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, copyright 2016, used with permission from William Morrow Publishing. All great food cultures have their signature fritter: zeppole, falafel, hush puppies; frying is universal. In India, the fritter of choice is the pakora, a mixture of various ingredients bound with a little chickpea flour and fried up for a tasty snack. Nowadays, you’ll see pakora throughout South Asia with countless riffs and variations. By using grated potato and some fresh herbs and spices, this particular version is at once rich and decadent but also fresh and aromatic. And the sweet-and-sour flavor of the tamarind sauce is a great accent, making your taste buds go haywire with a bright burst of tang against the crispy, little goodness.


  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 11/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 cups peeled grated potato (squeezed to remove excess water)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions white parts only
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 cup tamarind paste see note
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sambal oelek
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Canola oil for frying


  • Sift together the chickpea flour, cumin, coriander, curry powder, turmeric, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl. Stir in 13/4 cups warm water and the sunflower oil, then add the potato, onion, scallions, and cilantro.
  • Whisk together the remaining ingredients except the canola oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.
  • Line a plate with paper towels. Preheat a fryer to 375°F or heat 1/2 inch of canola oil in a large skillet or saucepan. Using clean, lightly floured hands, roll the mixture into 11/2-inch balls. You should get about 18 out of the batch. Carefully fry the pakora, 3 or 4 at a time, for 3 minutes or until golden brown on all sides, turning occasionally. Transfer to the paper towel–lined plate to absorb any excess oil, then serve immediately with the tamarind sauce drizzled on top or on the side for dipping.