Crispy, chewy, salty, it’s the onion bhaji. These glorious takeaway superstars have long been a favourite of mine. They’re such a delicious side to have with a curry. Like most Indian food they’re naturally vegan and so great!
Don’t be intimidated by how intricate they look. Onion bhajis are really easy to make, and I’ve made it even easier. Traditional onion bhaji recipes call for gram flour (chickpea flour), but I realise most of us don’t have that lying about at home (if you do, great job!). So I created this no-gram flour recipe using just plain flour so you can whip up a batch of onion bhajis with pantry ingredients.
The key to onion bhajis is to slice the onion very finely. This allows the onion to cook properly when frying. Thick onions won’t cook all the way through and you’ll end up with them raw in the middle. But, other than that, these are super simple and take no time at all to make. Enjoy.
When to eat
Red onions store very easily year round. So you can enjoy these flavourful bhajis whenever you want. If you are looking for the freshest and best onions, I’d recommend eating from July to September when the majority of European onions are harvested.
This meal is around 94% less polluting than the average UK meal.
- Eating this recipe will save around 2.75 KG CO2e per person.
- That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving 22.71 KM in a modern car.
- 4 Medium Red Onions
- Sunflower Oil for frying (about 200 – 400ml)
- 150 g Plain Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Turmeric
- 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 2 Teaspoons Cumin Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Ginger Powder
- Peel and chop the red onions in half. Then finely slice them into thin half moon crescents.
- Mix all the batter ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Then, whilst whisking the bowl contents, pour over 175 ml of water. Mix until the batter is smooth. It should be thick and gloopy. If the batter is too thick, add 10 ml of water at a time until you get the desired consistency. (See the video for an example of how the batter should look)
- Tip the chopped red onion into the mixing bowl. Mix well until the red onions are well incorporated into the batter.
- Ready an oven tray or large chopping board. Then scoop a 2 inch ball of bhaji batter out of the mixing bowl and shape into a rough patty with your hands. Place the patty onto your tray or board. The patty should be about 4 – 5 cm in width. With patties this size you should get 12 shaped bhajis out of the batter, but, feel free to make them as big or small as you want.
- Once all the bhajis are shaped. Heat the oil in a large heavy pan (I like to use a dutch oven or Le Creuset pot) over a medium-high heat. You need enough oil in the pan to cover about half the thickness of your bhajis. This is normally about 200 – 400 ml depending on the width of your pan.
- After a few minutes, pluck an excess red onion slice from your batter bowl or one of your bhajis, and toss into the pan. Once the red onion starts to vigorously bubble and fry, your oil is hot enough to cook with.
- Using a metal spatula, scrape about 4 – 5 bhajis (one at a time) into your pan. Fry them for about 1 – 2 minutes or until the underside begins to crisp and take on a lovely golden yellow colour. Flip the bhajis and cook the opposite side for 1 – 2 minutes more. When cooked, remove and place onto a fresh oven tray, salt immediately. Repeat the process until all your bhajis are fried.