With every food fad taking over the Instagram, I am looking at my pantry more closely to glance back at the ingredients my grandmas and mum used in their everyday cooking; that didn’t only nourish our bodies but shaped my approach to many foods I’ve begun to incorporate in my daily life. One such is gram flour aka besan. Something that I grew up with, and one item you cannot escape if you are born in an Indian household. From food to face masks, it has acquired special place in our lives. 

Gram flour is made by grinding roasted Bengal Gram. You can make it at home in a power blender if you own or procure good quality from an Asian grocery store. It has great purposes in the kitchen – from making crepes for breakfast, breads, fritattas or using as an alternative in gluten free cooking. Anyone who has eaten battered vegetables know how delicious it is. Onion bhajias, pakoras and tempura veggies are all so common in Asian homes and is often seen as a comfort snack during the winter months. Gram flour pancakes with lots of scallions and spices are one of my not so secret favorite things to make in the mornings and eat with pickled onions for breakfast. They are an easy lunchbox option too!

Pakoras are usually deep fried, but if you are like me and prefer your food not to be super greasy, these fritters are for us. They are a fantastic option to tuck in almost any kind of veggies or to clear out the fridge of all the lonely pieces hiding in a vegetable tray. 

Now these fritters are unbelievably easy to whip up. I’ve simply grated bottle gourd, carrots, broccoli and cheese and mix them all with rest of the ingredients that add flavor such as scallions and spices. Remember to throw grated bottle gourd and carrots in a cheese cloth and squeeze out excess water. In this recipe, I’ve added eggs to incorporate the batter, but to make it completely vegan, you can omit the cheese and substitute eggs with reserved water from carrots and bottle gourd. One of the important things to keep in mind while making fritters is to keep the batter thick so you can scoop a dollop into a pan.

We often eat it as a light lunch or snack with lots of labneh and sun dried tomatoes. Give it a go and tag your images on Instagram using #thoughtsoverchai. Let me know what you think of it.

Bottle Gourd, Carrot, Broccoli and Cheese Fritters
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Crispy, healthy and hearty fritters in 30 minutes infused with fresh herbs, spices and scallions. 

Course: Brunch, Snack
Cuisine: Fusion
Servings: 14 fritters
Author: Tasneem Rajkotwala
  • 1 cup bottle gourd peeled and grated
  • 1 cup carrot peeled and grated
  • 1 cup broccoli grated
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese grated
  • 4 tbsp gram flour
  • 1/4 cup scallions chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger chopped
  • 1 tsp green chilli, deseeded and chopped optional
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 egg
  • salt to taste
  • 2-4 tbsp oil
  1. Place grated carrots and bottle gourd in a colander lined with a cheese cloth and squeeze out the excess water. 

  2. Light roast gram flour in a dry pan for 4-5 seconds, without getting any color. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except oil.

  3. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Scoop about a tablespoon of the batter for each fritter, flattening it with back of a spoon and cook until nicely golden about 3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side until done.

  4. Serve immediately with whipped labneh, lemons and sun dried tomatoes. 


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