Books by Richard Sayce
Onion Bhaji Recipe:
Needing little introduction, onion bhaji is an extremely popular starter dish served in British Indian restaurants, and no doubt all over the world in some form or another.
Spiced onion slices in a gram flour (chickpea) batter are formed into balls and deep fried until golden and crispy. The experience is enhanced by squeezing lemon juice on top and dipping them into mint sauce (raita) or mango chutney. I hope you enjoy my mainstay recipe.
This Onion Bhaji recipe will make approximately eight crispy and addictive balls of delight. There’s a video for this recipe in the Notes section.
Enjoy your bhajis with a mint sauce (raita). You can find my recipe here.
This recipe is from my cookbook CURRY COMPENDIUM, and is also in my second book, INDIAN RESTAURANT CURRY AT HOME VOLUME 1. All my books are available in both physical and kindle formats.
- 450-500g Onion, finely sliced (peeled weight, about 3 medium large Onions)
- 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 1 TBSP Mix Powder
- 1 TBSP Mild Madras Curry Powder (brand such as Rajah, East End, MDH, etc.)
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- ¼-½ tsp Chilli Powder
- ¾ tsp Garam Masala
- ¾ tsp Coffee Granules or Powder (good quality), optional
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1½ TBSP Ginger/Garlic Paste
- 1½ tsp Kasuri Methi
- ¾ tsp Salt
- A generous handful of finely chopped fresh Coriander, including the stalks
- 1 Egg, beaten
- 6 TBSP Gram Flour (also known as Besan or Chickpea Flour)
- 4 TBSP Rice Flour (Cornflour may be used instead)
- Top and tail the onions, chop in half lengthwise, peel, and slice thinly. Add to a bowl.
- Add all the other ingredients except for the gram flour and rice flour. Mix gently with spoon or hand to evenly combine the ingredients.
- Add the rice flour and gram flour. Mix thoroughly. No extra liquid is needed because the salt will start to draw some water out of the onion. You want a very dry mixture, but with enough moisture to be able to form sticky bhaji balls. Add extra rice flour for crispier bhajis.
- Do not leave the mixture to marinate. Over time more water would be drawn from the onions, making a soggy, ‘cakey’ batter.
- Heat a medium-large saucepan half-filled with oil to 180°C. A temperature gun or a cooking thermometer will come in handy here. Alternatively, use a deep fat fryer with a thermostat if you have one. For obvious reasons care and attention needs to be made when deep frying, and you should never leave the pan unattended.
- Using your hands, scoop out enough mixture to form a ball of a size just larger than a golf ball. Using your palms, gently squeeze the mixture into the ball shape, as smooth and even as you can. The mixture should stick together easily. Wet your hands with a little water if needed to help form the balls.
- Repeat until all the mixture is used.
- Poke a deep hole in the top of each bhaji using a chopstick or similar implement. This will allow the hot oil to permeate and cook the insides.
- Leave to deep fry for 6-8 minutes, turning the bhajis a few times during cooking.
- The oil needs to be kept at a minimum temperature of around 135°C. Likewise, keep the temperature below 160°C. The onion bhajis needs to be cooked inside (not ‘cakey’), whilst not burning the outside. A temperature gun or cooking thermometer is ideal for measuring.
- Scoop them out and drain on kitchen towel. Repeat for the remaining batches.
- The onion bhajis are best eaten immediately whilst still crunchy. If left they will lose their crispness. If you wish to prepare in advance of serving, reduce the cooking time to 4-5 minutes, and store in a warm dry place. Just before serving deep fry them again for a couple of minutes, or put in a medium hot oven for 5 minutes.
- All spoon measurements are level (1 tsp = 5ml, 1 TBSP = 15ml).
- Do not make the bhajis too large or they won’t cook properly in the centre.
- This onion bhaji recipe varies very slightly from that shown in the accompanying video on the Misty Ricardo YouTube Channel. I have increased the mix powder and mild Madras curry powder from 2 tsp to 3 tsp, decreased the fennel seeds from 1½ tsp to 1 tsp, decreased the gram flour from 6-7 to 6 TBSP, increased the rice flour from 1½ TBSP to 4 TBSP, and increased starting temperature to 180°C. Minor adjustments which you might not even notice.
- Please visit the Misty Ricardo’s Curry Kitchen YouTube Channel for lots more videos.