Onion Bhajies are very similar to Punjabi pakoras, simply spiced, use red onions if you have them or white while onions will be fine.
These are delicious, crunchy, battered onions, perfect with a beer or Indian chai.
Bhaijes are one of those speedy dishes you put together if you have unexpected visitors. You can’t possibly let guests leave unless they are bursting at the seams, it would be considered rude in our culture to not offer food and drink! It is essential to make guests feel at home so onion bhajies is a speedy solution as we always have chickpea flour, onions and spices as staples in most Indian kitchens.
Please use 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 plenty of flavour in these, the batter needs careful attention, it takes practice, take your time and I promise you, your guests will be bowled over. Seasoning with salt is a must, too.
If you are fortunate enough to have a sachet of my bhaji blend, then a teaspoon is all you need with a big pinch of salt.
These are fully freezable – just defrost and pop them in your oven with a splash of water to heat through.
This recipe for onion bhajies is naturally gluten-free and can be dairy-free if you use a dairy-free yoghurt, I usually use soya.
Happy Onion Bhaki making, my lovelies!
Peel and core your onions, then chop in half and finely slice. Set aside the onions until ready to batter.
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.
OR Preheat your oven to 190°c if baking.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Sieve the chickpea flour into a big bowl.
Carefully measure the spices and place them into the big bowl with the chickpea flour and stir.
Stir in 4 tbsp of water and the yoghurt, give it a good mix with your hands and add extra water, as you need it. Be careful as you are making a very thick batter and if you use too much water, you will ruin your bhajies.
Pop the onions into the batter, mix well.
Lastly, add a tbsp of oil, mixing well.
Think of a dough, rather than a batter.
Try and keep one hand clean and the other to mix with.
Check the oil is at the right temperature, if you drop some bhaji 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 bhajies or they become dumplings, with a soggy middle that never cooks.
Don't overcrowd your pan.
The bhajies take between 8 - 10 minutes to fry.
Allow the bhajies to take shape and then you may turn the bhaji over, just don't do this too soon.
Once you have turned the bhajies, keep turning the bhajies for an even golden colour.
Once cooked, remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Continue to fry all the bhajies in small batches.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper, spray or brush with oil and place a tablespoonful of the mixture on the tray, shaping into a small burger shape and leaving space between the bhajies.
Cook the patties in the oven for 20 minutes then, spray or brush with oil, turn over, spray again and bake for a further 20 minutes.
Keep an eye on them as you might need to reduce the oven temperature, you are hoping for fully cooked bhajies with no soggy middle.
Serve your onion bhajies with salad and dips as a starter or just good old ketchup if they are a snack!
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