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Onion bhaji

The classic starter in an Indian restaurant, the top comfort food in India during the monsoons, and an ever-popular item on street food stalls, the humble onion bhaji has become internationally one of the most well known of Indian snacks, either served on its own or as part of a larger meal. Here is an easy basic recipe.

 

Ingredients

Method

Heat a deep fryer to 180˚C / 356°F with the vegetable oil.

Slice the onions and green chilli then peel and slice the garlic and ginger.

Put the sliced ingredients into a mixing bowl.

Melt the butter and add it to the bowl with the sliced ingredients and mix together.

Chop the coriander.

Add the chilli powder, turmeric, gram flour, rice flour, and chopped coriander to bowl. Sprinkle with water and mix well, adding salt to taste. Mix until it is thick enough to hold its shape.

Dampen you hands with water and break off tablespoon-sized portions of the mixture and drop them into the oil (see Tips below). Fry about five at a time, stirring gently until they are evenly gold brown all over.

Continue the process five at a time until all the mixture is used.

Use a slotted spoon or similar implement to remove the bhajis allowing as much oil to return to the fryer. Place them on a kitchen towel to drain further.

Serve immediately, or, if preferred, allow them to cool to room temperature.

Tips

Test the temperature of the deep fryer by dropping in a small portion of the mixture, which should sizzle and float. I always use disposable plastic gloves for breaking off portions of the mixture for frying.

Trivia

A bhaji or bhajii or bajji (it need not necessarily be onion) is a spicy Indian snack, usually served as an entrée, similar to a fritter and can come in many variations. Outside the Indian states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka this kind of food is more commonly called a pakora. Originally served as a topping with various Indian dishes, it has more recently become a popular street food on its own. Although a must-have food in many Indian festivals, bhajis also top the list in the nation’s comfort foods during the monsoons and rains, often served with a piping hot cup of coffee or tea. While onion bhaji is probably the most familiar in the west, other variants include bread bhaji and chilli bhaji. The main ingredients are gram flour and vegetables of one sort or another.