Not all fritters are created equal—especially if you ask someone who grew up in a South Asian household like I did. Many of our mothers would fry up fresh pakora, a crunchy, chickpea- and veggie-based fritter, alongside verdant chutneys on any given afternoon and, of course, on holidays and other festive gatherings. Now that I’ve haphazardly thrown pakoras together on a comically stressful Gordon Ramsay cooking show, I believe you can do it too (but from the comfort of your home and without Gordon’s judgment). The formula is simple: chickpea flour, a few warm spices, and just about any savory ingredients you have on hand—even a single, sliced yellow onion will work just fine to produce a spectacular batch of pakoras.
Busting out the frying oil may feel like an intimidating level of effort for everyday cooking, or even for a dinner party. But, the simplicity, versatility, and outright crave-worthy nature of fresh pakoras will convince you otherwise. The process takes no longer than 30 to 40 minutes, frying included, which is why making squid-filled pakoras for the judges of “Next Level Chef” felt like a no-brainer. And yes, the judges, and Gordon himself, loved every bite.