The most common question I get from my viewers is if they can bake instead of fry. Traditionally Indian cooking is done over stove top or burner. Food is grilled, sautéed, steamed, boiled or fried. Likewise, most of the Indian breads are made over a skillet or they are fried. An exception is naan or tandoori roti that is cooked in a tandoor, which is different than a western style oven.
I have tried baking many of the dishes that I usually fry. I tried baking khasta kachori, samosas, pinwheel samosas, and different kinds of pakoras. When baking these items, I found that that taste and appearance of the dish were vastly changed. These dishes simply did not appear to be authentic. Additionally, when baking you have to use more butter, oil, or shortening in the dough to make it crispier. If you want your dishes to maintain some of their taste, I would suggest sticking to frying.
However, you can try pastry dough for making samosas or kachoris. This is a huge time saver, but it will taste like spicy pastry not bad just different. One advantage to baking is that it does not leave any leftover oil. When you fry you have leftover oil that is an issue with me as I have to find a way to dispose the leftover oil. Especially because I don’t reuse the oil after I have fried in it once.
Some of the appetizers for small gatherings or parties I like make in advance include samosas, pakoras, pinwheel samosas and kachoris. I typically reheat them in the oven before serving to enjoy free time with my company. When reheating pre-made items, they are good but they lose some crispness & don’t taste the same as freshly fried appetizers.
While limiting fried foods is recommended, I believe it is okay to enjoy these tasty delights as a treat once in a while!