Onion Bhajes are very similar to Punjabi pakoras, with a subtle spicing difference and of course a combination of red or white onions, it’s a savoury dish I make without fresh coriander, saving that for the delicious and fresh tamarind dip which accompanies these little crispy fried, dumplings.
Bhajes are one of those speedy dishes you put together if you get unexpected visitors. You can’t possibly let guests leave unless they are bursting at the seams, it is considered rude in our culture to not offer food and drink. It is essential to make guests feel at home so onion bhajes is a speedy solution as we always have chickpea flour, onions and spices as staples in our store cupboards.
Garam Masala for this recipe, not curry, we need the bold heat against those sweet onions. Don’t be deceived by this recipe, there’s good spicing in these, the batter needs careful attention, it takes practice, take your time and I promise you, your guests will be bowled over.
A perfect snack, savoury, spicy and crunchy, serve with chilled alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, tea, chai is especially nice. Fully freezable, can be baked in the oven straight from the freezer, just splash them with a little water so they don’t dry out.
Recently, I asked my friends in curry club which is their favourite dish that I cook and the gorgeous Snoops said bhajes, so this recipe is one for you, I look forward to you making them for me…. only joking, I’m not keen on onions!
These are fully freezable- just pop them in your oven with a splash of water to heat through.
Peel and core your onions, then chop in half and finely slice.
Place the onions into a big bowl.
Put your deep fat fryer to heat with the oil in the pan, to 180 °C
You can use a big frying pan, but you do need the pan to be half full.
Carefully measure the spices and place them into the bowl with the onions, sieve the chick pea flour into the onions.
Give the bowl a mix as the onions will be a little wet and you need this batter to be as firm as possible, use your clean hands, get stuck in!
Try and keep one hand clean and the other to mix with.
Now, start adding a tablespoon of water, at a time, really sparingly, giving the bowl a good mix, until you have a firm batter where all the onions are coated, it needs to be a firm dough like texture.
Check the oil is at the right temperature, if you drop some bhaje mix into the oil, it should sizzle.
When you are happy with the temperature in the pan, place small teaspoons of the batter to fry, allowing them to take shape in the heat, before you turn them.
Always make small bhajes or they become dumplings, with a soggy middle that never cooks,
Don't overcrowd your pan.
The bhajes take between 8 - 10 minutes to cook.
Allow the bhaje to take shape and then you may turn the bhaje over, just don't do it too soon.
Once you have turned the bhajes once, keep turning the bhajes for an even golden colour.
Once cooked, remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Continue to fry all the bhajes in small batches.
Serve hot with your favourite chutney, pickle or even tomato ketchup.
They make great sandwich or wrap fillings!