Thoroughly wash 250 grams of spinach leaves and pat them dry. Remove the stems and set the leaves aside.
In a mixing bowl, add 1 cup of gram flour (besan), 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain), a pinch of asafoetida (hing), salt to taste, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. Mix well.
Gradually add water to the dry mixture and whisk until you get a smooth, thick batter. The consistency should be such that it coats the spinach leaves well.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan or kadai over medium heat. To check if the oil is hot enough, drop a small amount of batter into the oil. If it sizzles and rises to the surface, the oil is ready for frying.
Dip each spinach leaf in the batter, ensuring it is well coated on both sides. Gently slide the coated leaf into the hot oil.
Fry the pakodas in batches, turning them occasionally, until they are golden brown and crispy on both sides. This should take about 3-4 minutes per batch.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the pakodas from the oil and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil.
Serve the palak pakodas hot with green chutney or tomato ketchup.