What? Pakoras Were The Inspiration Behind Japanese Tempura?

When the sky growls angrily announcing the impending showers, my mother rushes to the kitchen and starts preparing for pakoras. This happens in every Indian household, isn’t it? Pakoras and Indians have a deep-rooted relationship with Indian culture and monsoon of course.  

 Also known as fritters, pakoras have numerous names like vada, bhajji, tele-bhaja, bonda, and others that come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Indians can transform literally anything into pakoras be it any vegetable. This go-to Indian snack has travelled across the globe and influenced many dishes. One of the dishes influenced by these snacks is Japanese Tempura. 

As per some legends, Spanish and Portuguese ships would stop in India when they were on their way to Japan back in the 16th century. During this period, they would onboard cooks from India, and these cooks used to feed and teach them different ways to have vegetables. The Indian cooks also served pakoras to the Europeans which instantly became an absolute hit. Sometimes many cooks would be taken to Japan where they kept on influencing the Japanese cuisine and this eventually helped in the creation of tempura. As per some food experts, tempura didn’t exist before the Portuguese traders. Till now, tempura continues to be in Japanese cuisine where deep-frying is not traditionally practiced as most of their fried dishes are shallow-fried instead.  

Pakoras are a traditionally vegetarian dish and have come to embrace several complex Indian flavours and textures, and sometimes even fusion twists. Despite its evolution in several forms, these Indian snacks have never failed to lose their ability to provide comfort in every single bite.

On this note, let us quickly tell you a recipe of palak pakora that you can make at home and enjoy the monsoon (if it’s there in your area). You don’t always need monsoon, you can have pakoras at any time and satisfy your tastebuds and your soul. Don’t forget to have a cup of tea along for the best experience.  

Palak Pakora 


  • 2 cups spinach (washed, drained, and finely chopped) 
  • 1 onion (chopped) 
  • 2 green chilies (chopped) 
  • 2 tbsp rice flour 
  • ¾ cup besan 
  • ½ tsp chili powder 
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida 
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder 
  • Pinch of baking soda 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Oil for frying 


  • Take a bowl and add all the ingredients. 
  • Add 2 tbsp water and mix well. 
  • You can add more water till you achieve a thick consistency. 
  • Take a pan and heat the oil in it. 
  • Drop a spoonful of mixtures into the pan and fry them until crispy and golden brown. 
  • Take out the pakoras and remove the excess oil using tissue paper. 
  • Serve with green chutney or ketchup.