Cook the Book: Bread Pakora

Cook the Book: Bread Pakora

After a week of deep-fried recipes from Sephi Bergerson's Street Food of India I'm beginning to think that street vendors in India might rival the Iowa State Fair when it comes to sheer variety of deep-fried foods. This recipe for Bread Pakora is a perfect example—do slices of bread really need to be battered and fried? Probably not, but they emerge from the fryer about a million times more delicious than a plain old slice of white bread.

Of course, it's the batter that really makes this recipe. Made from chickpea flour and a host of Indian spices including garam masala, ajwain seeds, and red chili powder, it coats the slices of bread while leaving the center white and chewy, untouched by oil. Topped with a generous dollop of mint or coriander chutney, these slices of Bread Pakora struck me as a super savory French toast, amped up with a crispier coating full of fantastic flavors.

Adapted from Street Food of India by Sephi Bergerson. Copyright © 2010. Published by I. B. Tauris. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

  • Yield:4


  • 4 to 5 bread slices
  • 1 cup gram (chickpea) flour (besan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric power
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain)
  • Red chili powder to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • Water for batter
  • Vegetable oil for frying


  1. 1.

    Cut the bread slices into desired shapes (like triangle, rectangle, etc.)

  2. 2.

    In a bowl, mix gram flour, turmeric powder, salt, carom seeds, red chili powder, and garam masala.

  3. 3.

    Add a little water to make a smooth batter of coating consistency.

  4. 4.

    Heat the oil in a wok; dip the bread slices in the batter and fry until crisp and golden brown on medium heat. Remove and drain the excess oil on absorbent kitchen towels.

  5. 5.

    Serve hot with green chutney and tomato sauce.