Epazote Pakoras with Turmeric Raita

Pakoras are an Indian snack of vegetables fried in chickpea batter. At Masala y Maíz in Mexico City, chefs Saqib Keval and Norma Listman like to use epazote, a Mexican herb that tastes somewhat like oregano, for these cross-cultural fritters. If epazote is not available, the batter works well with onion rings. Fenugreek seeds, available online or at specialty stores, add complexity and a light sweetness to Indian cooking.

Epazote Pakoras with Turmeric Raita
Photo: Greg DuPree
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
8 to 12



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 6 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh turmeric

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped peeled fresh ginger

  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted

  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1 bunch green or purple epazote

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cumin seeds

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coriander seeds

  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns

  • 2 cups chickpea flour (about 61/2 ounces), sifted

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

  • 1 (12-ounce) can Mexican-style lager, chilled

  •  Sunflower oil, for frying


Make the raita

  1. Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-low. Add onion, turmeric, ginger, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add cumin seeds, and cook, stirring often, 1 minute. Place onion mixture and yogurt in a blender; process until smooth. Stir in salt. Place in a bowl, and chill until ready to serve.

Make the pakoras

  1. Rinse epazote in cold water; pat dry with paper towels. Trim and discard large stems; tear larger sprigs into smaller 3- to 4-leaf sprigs.

  2. Heat a small skillet over medium-high; add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, and peppercorns. Cook, stirring often, until toasted and fragrant, about 2 minutes; remove from heat. Place cumin mixture in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, and grind until finely ground. Whisk together ground cumin mixture, chickpea flour, and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add beer, stirring until well combined.

  3. Pour sunflower oil to a depth of 1 inch in a large skillet. Heat over medium-high until oil reaches 325°F. Working in batches, dip each epazote sprig in pakora batter, allowing excess batter to drip back into bowl. Add epazote to hot oil, and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Serve hot with raita.

Related Articles