Bread Pakora (Potato Fritter Sandwich)

Dipped in a chickpea flour batter and fried, these turmeric and chile-spiced potato sandwiches are a favorite snack for many across India, where they’re a popular street food and also frequently made at home.

Side view of Bread Pakora
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Bread pakoras are a great meal or snack for sharing. Growing up, my mum made them for picnics or train journeys. As a child, I loved to eat the fried sandwiches with ketchup, and today my kids like to eat them with mayonnaise. With soft bread and a crisp chickpea flour batter encasing turmeric and chile-spiced potatoes, bread pakoras are a beloved snack—they’re a popular street food and also frequently made at home. While they’re delicious piping hot, they’re also equally good at room temperature, which makes them great for lunch boxes or outdoor meals. 

Overhead view of bread pakora
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma


Like many others, including my mother, I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know what a pakora was. Potato pakoras and onion pakoras are two of the most common ones you’ll find at restaurants and street stalls, where they are often sold with other deep-fried snacks like vadas or samosas. Though the spices used vary from one vendor to another, they generally include salt, turmeric, chile powder, and occasionally chaat masala and garam masala. Some places will make a one-sided bread pakora by spreading the potato filling over one slice of bread, dipping it, and frying as is. Because only one slice of bread is used, it’s a tad lighter than the usual sandwich. 

Some vendors will cut the sandwich up into smaller pieces or shapes before frying. A lot of it comes down to personal preference and the tools someone may have at a given time. Frying a whole sandwich requires larger bowls and pans for dipping and frying, and cutting them into smaller pieces makes the process easier. Though bread pakoras are typically triangular, you may come across square-shaped ones from time to time.

Overhead view of cutting bread pakora into triangles
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

For ease and convenience, I like to make the filling a couple of days in advance, then fill and fry pakoras when the craving strikes. I live in the U.K. and prefer to use maris piper potatoes, but if you can’t find them, you can use russet potatoes instead. Ground turmeric gives the potatoes their bright yellow hue, while Kashmiri chile powder and a hot green chile bring the heat. Chaat masala, an Indian street snack spice blend, lends the potatoes a funky, savory kick. You can make your own or look for it online or in South Asian grocery stores. Though I like to serve bread pakoras with a nice chile or coriander chutney, along with a cup of chai, you can also eat them like I did as a child: with ketchup or mayonnaise.

In a medium skillet or sauté pan, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in green chile, salt, turmeric, red chile powder, and chaat masala. Add boiled potatoes, stirring to incorporate, then remove from heat. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until no large chunks remain. Set aside to cool.

Four image collage of cooking potatoes
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

In a medium bowl, whisk chickpea flour, salt, turmeric, chile powder, and cardamom together. Whisk in water until completely smooth, adding more water as needed; the batter should be runny like a custard and not too thick or thin.

Overhead view of whisking batter
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

In a 6-quart Dutch oven or wok, heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 350ºF (177ºC). Meanwhile, set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet or line the baking sheet with paper towels.

Overhead view of lining sheet with paper towel
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Place 4 slices of bread on a cutting board or clean work surface. Using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, spread 1/4 cup of the potato mixture onto each slice of bread. Top each with another slice of bread, pressing to help potatoes adhere to bread.

Two image collage of spreading potato on bread and closing
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Using a sharp knife, cut each sandwich into 4 quadrants. Working in batches to prevent crowding the oil, dip four triangles in the batter, allowing excess to drain off, then carefully lower sandwiches into the oil. Fry, until golden brown and crisp all over, using tongs to flip halfway through, about 5 minutes. Transfer fried sandwiches to prepared baking sheet and season with salt. Return oil to 350ºF (177ºC) and repeat with remaining sandwiches. Serve immediately.

Four image collage of frying bread pakora
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Special Equipment

Large skillet, sauté pan, or wok, 6-quart Dutch oven, wire rack, rimmed baking sheet, offset spatula

Make-Ahead and Storage

The potato filling can be made 3 to 4 days in advance and refrigerated.

Vada Pav (Indian Deep-Fried Potato Balls on Rolls)

To make vada pav—one of Mumbai’s most popular snacks—layer spiced, deep-fried potato balls with savory garlic and a bright cilantro and mint chutney.

Side view of vada pav
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin

I first encountered vada pav—a deep-fried ball of spiced potatoes between a fluffy dinner roll—after moving to Mumbai. Though I grew up eating vada (the fried potato that some call an alu bonda), it was not served inside a pav, a roll Portuguese colonizers introduced to India. There was something so incredibly pleasing about the contrast of the soft bread with the crispness of the potato. Two different chutneys—one garlic and the other cilantro—made the snack even more enticing. I fell in love with it straightaway. 

Side view of vada pav
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma


Vada is a common name for things that are ball-shaped and fried, like dal vada (made with lentils), alu vada (made with potatoes), and other vegetable vadas. The vada pav is one of the most popular street foods from Mumbai, and since the snack’s inception in the 1960s, it has become increasingly popular around the world. According to BBC correspondent Charukesi Ramadurai, many believe that Ashok Vaidya, a vendor who sold the sandwiches across from Dadar train station in Mumbai, invented the vada pav in 1966. A cheap grab-and-go meal for the many workers of Mumbai, vada pav is eaten throughout the day, and many stalls offer them freshly-made all day long. The sandwich, Ramadurai writes, “is synonymous with the city of Mumbai, with almost every resident, from factory workers to Bollywood stars, unabashed in declaring their love for it.” 

Overhead view of vada pav
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma


When I lived in Mumbai, all my local friends had a favorite vada pav stall. They each raved about the vendor they frequented and insisted it was the best place to go. To be honest, I don’t remember having a bad vada pav in all the years I lived in Mumbai. It really is something that’s difficult to get wrong. They’re especially good when they’re fresh out of the fryer and still hot. If you’re lucky, you might reach a stall just as they’re making a new batch.

How to Make Vada Pav at Home

The best potatoes to use for vada pav are starchy ones. Here in the U.K., I like to use maris piper potatoes as they’re light and fluffy when mashed. I recommend boiling the potatoes fresh, as it’s easier to incorporate the spices into the warm potatoes. The batter should have a consistency similar to that of pancake batter. Too thick, and you’ll end up with an overly doughy exterior that won’t crisp up properly. Too thin, and there won’t be enough batter to cover the vadas. You want something in-between that’s just liquidy enough to evenly coat the vadas so you can taste the batter without it getting soggy. 

Overhead view of frying potatoes
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma


The chutneys add magic to the vada pav. The one made with coriander and mint is refreshing, light, and vibrant, and brings necessary sharpness to counter the heaviness of the potatoes, while the garlic chutney brings a rich, savory note. Together with the vada and fried green chile, the flavors and textures are truly sensational. It’s no surprise that the vada pav is loved by all and that it is increasingly becoming more popular around the world.

For the Cilantro Chutney: In a food processor, blend cilantro, mint, green chiles, peanuts, salt, sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth, using a rubber spatula to scrape down as needed, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Overhead view of chutney in food processor bowl
Serious Eats /Kanika and Jatin Sharma

For the Vadas: Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender and a knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato chunk, about 15 minutes. Using a colander, drain potatoes and let rest for 10 minutes to dry and cool slightly.

Overhead view of potatoes cooking
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Transfer cooked potatoes to a large mixing bowl and using a potato masher, mash until no big chunks remain. Set aside.

Overhead view of mashing potatoes
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

In a large skillet, sauté pan, or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and asafoetida, and cook until they start to pop. Add curry leaves, then reduce the heat to low and stir in salt, chile powder, and turmeric. (Please note, the curry leaves sputter and pop when added to the hot oil, so be prepared with a lid or splatter guard to contain it.) Add potatoes, stirring to incorporate, then remove from heat. Set aside to cool, about 15 minutes. Divide spiced potato mixture into 10 even portions, each about 1.5 inches in diameter, and shape each into a tightly packed ball. 

Four image collage of making potato balls and spice
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

In a medium bowl, whisk chickpea flour, salt, turmeric, and chile powder together. Whisk in water until completely smooth.

Overhead view of whisking water into bowl
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

In a 6-quart Dutch oven or wok, heat oil over medium heat until it reaches 350ºF (177ºC). Meanwhile, set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet or line the baking sheet with paper towels.

Overhead view of lining tray with paper towel
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Using a tablespoon, carefully drizzle 4 to 6 tablespoonfuls of batter into the oil. Fry, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fried batter to prepared baking sheet.

Two image collage of frying batter and removing it from pan
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Return oil to 350ºF (177ºC). Working in batches to prevent overcrowding the oil, dip vadas in the batter, allowing excess to drain off, then carefully lower into the oil. Fry until crisp and golden brown all over, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fried potato balls to prepared baking sheet and season with salt. Return oil to 350ºF (177ºC) and repeat with remaining potato balls. When all the patties have been fried, add green chiles and fry until blistered, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Frying potato balls in a pot of oil.
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

For the Garlic Chutney: Using a mortar and pestle, pound garlic cloves with salt to paste. Add fried batter and chile powder and continue to crush with pestle, smashing and grinding until you get a fine breadcrumb texture.

Pounding garlic and breadcrumbs with a mortar and pestle.
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

To Assemble: Using an offset spatula, spread 1 tablespoon cilantro chutney onto bottom of each roll. Top with vadas and 1 teaspoon garlic chutney, along with 1 fried chile. Sandwich and serve immediately.

Assembling vada pav on a wooden cutting board.
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Special Equipment

Food processor, large skillet, sauté pan, or wok, 6-quart Dutch oven, wire rack, rimmed baking sheet, mortar and pestle, offset spatula

This 30-Minute Tomato Curry Requires Just a Few Pantry Staples

This Andhra-style curry features chunks of tender onions and tomatoes that give the dish its sumptuous flavor and body, while aromatic cumin and mustard seeds provide additional crunch.

Overhead view of tomato curry recipe
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

You can find different flavor variations of tomato curry from each corner of India and many points in between. This easy version takes very little time to cook and is a great way to use fresh tomatoes when they’re in season. My recipe takes inspiration from the Andhra tomato curry. This style features chunks of onion and tomato cooked just until tender in a generous amount of oil, flavoring the curry and giving it body and texture, while cumin and mustard seeds provide crunch as well as flavor. From this starting point there are many variations in the Andhra tomato curry in itself. Every household has their own way of making it. There is no one “right way” to make this tomato curry. Different versions might use asafoetida or curry leaves, ginger or garlic. Some don’t use onions at all and some might also add potatoes to it, but all of these are just different ways of making this tomato-based curry.

Overhead view of curry
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

At its heart, this curry features a flavorful tomato-based sauce that's cooked down until thick enough to act as a gravy for the chunky vegetables. You'll notice I use both fresh and canned tomatoes in the recipe. The fresh tomatoes are necessary for the larger chunks of tomato that are coated in the gravy along with the onion. I use pureed canned tomatoes for the gravy, as canned guarantees a good tomato flavor at any time of year—they're always harvested and canned at the peak of ripeness, meaning they're often your best option when out of tomato season. But if you happen to be making this curry when tomato are in season, then you can definitely use an equal amount of fresh pureed tomatoes for this step as well; you’ll need about five of them if you do.

Overhead view of onions and tomatoes being added to pan
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Try this curry as-is or add other vegetables to it as well; cooked cauliflower florets or boiled potatoes would be dreamy with this. Serve this tomato curry with flaky lachha parathas or any other flatbread, or with rice in just about any form. Plain steamed rice works fine but tomato curry also makes a great combination with onion pulao or Indian fried rice.

In a large skillet, sauté pan, or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onion and plum tomato chunks, season with salt, and cook just until starting to soften, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a plate, leaving the oil behind in the pan. 

Four image collage of overhead view of adding and cooking tomato and onions
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Add the cumin and mustard seeds and cook until they begin to fry and sizzle in the oil. Add 7 tablespoons (100ml) water along with the chana dal, moong dal, then bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. 

Two image collage of adding dal and water to cumin in pan
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Add pureed tomatoes, return to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, and cook gently for 15 minutes to develop the flavor of the curry. 

Two image collage of adding tomato puree and it slightly thickened in pan
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Stir in garam masala, cumin, sugar, and turmeric. Return the onion and tomato chunks to the pan and cook until sauce is thickened and coats vegetables, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and serve with rice and/or flaky flatbreads. 

Four image collage of adding tomato and onions and spices into pot
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Special Equipment

Large skillet or sauté pan or wok

Make-Ahead and Storage

Tomato curry is best made shortly before serving, but can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat gently before serving.

These Are the Cardamom-Scented Indian Sweets We Can’t Stop Eating

These cardamom-scented milk-based sweets are popular in sweet shops all over India—and are surprisingly easy to make at home.

Overhead view of Rasgulla
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Rasgulla is a milk-based sweet you can find in all Indian sweet shops, often sold alongside gulab jamun. It is made with one main ingredient—full fat milk. The milk is coagulated with citrus juice, just like a fresh cheese, to make milk solids, which are then kneaded with cornstarch to form delicate dumplings. The ideal texture is like a sponge that absorbs the sugar syrup rasgulla are cooked in, so when you bite into one, it bursts and releases the sweetness in your mouth.

Side view of Rasgulla
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Though it is popular all over India, rasgulla is especially beloved in western India. Many years ago I went to Kolkata to do research for my cookbook Chai, Chaat & Chutney, and there I discovered the many varieties of these rasgulla, including ones flavored with saffron, cardamom, pistachio, jaggery, and more. There's also a related dessert called ras malai, in which rasgulla are soaked in thick, sweetened milk flavored with saffron and cardamom. No matter the variation, these fluffy little clouds are so light and sweet that it's almost impossible to eat only one., is a popular dessert to serve at weddings. 

When I was growing up, my mum, who made everything at home, didn’t make rasgulla. In fact, rasgulla is not a very common homemade sweet, which always made me assume that it would be quite tricky to make. But in reality, it is one of the easiest Indian sweets you can make at home. The recipe has only two main ingredients: milk and sugar.

Overhead view of scooping Rasgulla
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

There are just a couple of tips to follow for success. One is to use whole milk; you cannot make this recipe using low-fat or skim milk, as the milkfat is essential for the rasgulla's final, tender texture. And to get the softest, fluffiest rasgulla, make sure you knead the chenna (milk solids) for at least 10 minutes. That might seem like a long time, but it's the only way to make them as soft and spongy as they should be. 

You can serve rasgulla freshly made and warm but they can also be refrigerated in their syrup for up to three days, which means this is a great make-ahead dessert. Once chilled, there's no need to warm them back up—they're great straight from the fridge.

Side view of adding syrup to a rasgulla
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

In a large saucepan, bring milk to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in lemon juice, then remove from heat. Let stand until coagulated, about 5 minutes.

Two image collage of adding lemon juice to milk and scooping curds out
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Line a fine-mesh strainer or colander with a large piece of muslin or double layer of cheesecloth and set over a large bowl or pot. Pour coagulated milk into strainer, then gather the cloth in the sieve and place a heavy weight such as a couple large cans or stone mortar and pestle on top and let drain for 15 minutes. Remove the weight and twist the gathered muslin to squeeze out any remaining excess liquid. 

Four image collage of straining milk curds
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

In a large saucepan or sauté pan, heat the water, sugar, and cardamom pods over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, until beginning to simmer. 

Overhead view of adding cardamon pods
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Meanwhile, transfer the drained chenna (milk solids) to a clean surface and sprinkle the cornstarch on top. Knead the chenna, pressing it with the heel of your hand, until smooth, 10 minutes. (The mixture will be crumbly at first but will smooth out as you knead it.) Divide into 16 equal portions and shape each portion into a small ball. 

Four image collage of forming balls from rasgulla mixture
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Reduce syrup heat to low and gently add the balls. Cover and cook until the rasgulla have doubled in size and are soft and spongy, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the heat. Transfer rasgulla and some of their syrup to individual serving dishes and serve.

Overhead view of cooking and adding syrup to rasgulla
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Special Equipment

Fine-mesh strainer or colander, muslin or cheesecloth

Make-Ahead and Storage

Rasgulla can be made up to three days ahead of serving; store both rasgulla and syrup together in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Once refrigerated, they are best served chilled, as reheating will degrade their quality.

Bestselling Cookbook Author Chetna Makan’s Spiced Cauliflower Is Our Go-To Weeknight Dinner

This quick and easy sabzi features tender cauliflower florets tossed and simmered with a Punjabi-style spice blend of ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala.

Overhead view of cauliflower sabzi
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Cauliflower sabzi is a classic in our home; I grew up eating it and now I make it often for my family. “Sabzi” simply means “vegetables,'' and it refers to a range of quick and easy recipes that can accommodate just about any vegetable you like. My mum would usually make this with potatoes—in which case it goes by the name alu gobhi, the famous Punjabi dish. Carrots and peas are often added to both the cauliflower and potato versions, leading to even more variations. I make it in many ways, ending up with varied flavors each time. 

Sabzi is made all over India, with slight variations in the spices and flavorings depending on the region and family making it. The spices in my recipe are in the Punjabi style, and include cumin, coriander, turmeric, and the blend garam masala. They're flavorful but basic: If you’ve ever cooked Indian food then you’re likely to have them in the cupboard, making this a very accessible sabzi to whip up anytime of the week.

Overhead view of spices
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

The key is not to rush cooking the onion, because the savory caramelized notes that develop by lightly browning it form the perfect flavor base for this sabzi. Since sabzi is a “dry” preparation (which means it’s usually made with no gravy or sauce), I add just enough water to help cook the cauliflower but not enough to make it soupy. The cauliflower acts as the perfect sponge to absorb the lovely flavors of the warm spices. 

You can enjoy sabzi with Indian flatbreads like chapati or naan but honestly, I often eat it simply with some generously buttered sourdough. It also makes a great side to serve with dal and rice. I also love using it in a winner of a vegetable-charged grilled cheese sandwich: Butter a couple slices of bread (sandwich bread or thick sourdough slices would both be good), spoon some sabzi on top, grate cheddar or another cheese over it, and grill until melty and crispy. 

Overhead view of cauliflower Sabzi
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

And if you happen to have leftovers, sabzi even tastes great cold, rolled up in a wrap for a packed lunch.

In a large skillet, sauté pan, or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add cumin and mustard seeds and cook until they start to pop. Add onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

Two image collage of cooking onions and adding garlic and ginger
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Reduce heat to medium-low, add tomato, cover, and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in coriander, garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, and salt. Add 1/2 cup (120ml) water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling add the cauliflower and stir to combine. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until the cauliflower is translucent and soft, 10 to 20 minutes. Adjust heat to high and continue to cook, uncovered, until liquid has evaporated, about 2 minutes. 

Four image collage of cooking onions with tomatoes, spices and cauliflower
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Sprinkle cilantro and peanuts over cauliflower and serve.

Two image collage of overhead view of adding peanuts and cilantro to cauliflower
Serious Eats / Kanika and Jatin Sharma

Special Equipment

Large skillet, sauté pan, or wok

Make-Ahead or Storage

Cauliflower sabzi can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat before serving (sabzi is also great at room temperature, but I don't recommend eating it cold straight from the fridge).