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Bhaji vs. Pakora: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Aimie Carlson || Updated on November 18, 2023
Bhaji is an Indian snack typically made from sliced vegetables dipped in a lightly spiced batter and deep-fried, while pakora is a type of fritter made with various ingredients, coated in gram flour batter and deep-fried.

Key Differences

Bhaji is a term primarily associated with Indian cuisine, referring to a fried snack made from vegetables like onions, potatoes, or spinach, coated in a lightly seasoned batter. Pakoras, another popular Indian snack, are fritters made from a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, paneer, or meat, coated in a gram flour (besan) batter.
Bhaji is often associated with Mumbai and other parts of Western India, where it's a popular street food. Pakoras are more widespread across the Indian subcontinent, with variations in ingredients and spices depending on the region.
The batter for bhaji is typically lighter and less spiced compared to pakora batter, which often includes spices like cumin, garam masala, or ajwain. Pakora batter, made primarily from gram flour, is known for its distinctive taste and texture.
Bhaji is commonly served with chutneys or ketchup and is a staple in Indian street food culture. Pakoras are often accompanied by mint or tamarind chutney and are a popular snack during monsoon and at tea time.
Both bhaji and pakora are integral to Indian culinary traditions, often enjoyed during festivals, family gatherings, and as comfort food. While bhaji is particularly famous in Maharashtra, pakoras have a more pan-Indian presence.

Comparison Chart

Main Ingredients

Sliced vegetables like onions, potatoes
Variety of ingredients like vegetables, paneer

Regional Association

Western India, especially Mumbai
Pan-Indian, with regional variations


Lightly spiced, sometimes with chickpea flour
Heavily spiced gram flour batter

Serving Occasions

Street food, snacks
Snacks, especially during monsoon, tea time

Cultural Significance

Integral to Mumbai street food
Widespread across Indian festivals and gatherings

Bhaji and Pakora Definitions


A popular Indian snack of fried, battered vegetables.
Onion bhaji is a favorite at Indian restaurants.


A savory, spicy snack popular across the Indian subcontinent.
She served mint chutney with the homemade pakoras.


An Indian delicacy involving battered and fried vegetables.
For our snack, we prepared potato bhaji.


An Indian fritter with a variety of fillings like paneer or cauliflower.
Cauliflower pakoras are a crowd-pleaser at gatherings.


Deep-fried snacks made from various sliced vegetables.
We ordered a mix of bhaji as an appetizer.


Fried snack in a spiced gram flour batter, often eaten with tea.
Tea time is incomplete without some crispy pakoras.


A type of vegetable fritter from Indian cuisine.
She made spinach bhaji for the party.


A deep-fried Indian snack made from vegetables or meat in gram flour batter.
We enjoyed hot pakoras during the rainy evening.


A Mumbai street food, often served with chutneys.
The street vendor's bhaji was incredibly delicious.


Traditional Indian appetizer, typically accompanied by chutneys.
The menu featured an assortment of vegetable pakoras.


Any of various Indian dishes of fried vegetables
Onion bhaji


A deep-fried fritter made of vegetables or meat dipped in a chickpea batter, served as an appetizer or a snack in South Asian cuisine.


A piece of vegetable, or sometimes meat, deep-fried in a batter flavoured with spices.


Is bhaji a snack or a meal?

It's typically considered a snack or an appetizer.

Is bhaji vegetarian?

Yes, it's usually vegetarian.

Can bhaji be made vegan?

Yes, most bhaji recipes are naturally vegan.

What ingredients are common in bhaji?

Common ingredients include onions, gram flour, spices like turmeric and cumin, and sometimes herbs like coriander.

Is bhaji a popular street food?

Absolutely, it's a very popular street food in India.

How is bhaji typically cooked?

Bhaji is deep-fried in oil until it's crispy and golden brown.

What is a bhaji?

A bhaji is a type of Indian vegetable fritter, often made with onions and a variety of spices.

How do you serve bhaji?

Bhaji is often served with chutneys or ketchup.

Can bhaji be baked instead of fried?

Yes, though the texture will be different.

Is pakora a vegan dish?

It can be, depending on the filling used.

What is a pakora?

Pakora is an Indian fried snack made from vegetables, fish, or meat, coated in a seasoned gram flour batter.

What are common vegetables used in pakoras?

Potatoes, onions, spinach, and cauliflower are popular choices.

How do you serve pakoras?

They're typically served with chutney or yogurt dip.

Is bhaji gluten-free?

Yes, if made with gram flour, which is gluten-free.

How is pakora different from bhaji?

Pakora can include a wider range of ingredients, while bhaji is typically onion-based.

Can pakoras be made ahead of time?

They're best eaten fresh but can be reheated in an oven.

Can you bake pakoras?

Yes, though they won't be as crispy as the fried version.

What kind of oil is best for frying pakoras?

Neutral oils like canola or vegetable oil are ideal.

Are pakoras spicy?

They can be, depending on the spices used in the batter.

Are pakoras gluten-free?

Yes, if made with gram flour.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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