Onion bhaji

Regular readers will know that I went a bit crazy in the flour aisle a few weeks ago and bought lots of different flours, including gram flour (ground chickpeas). Onion bhajis are, of course, the perfect way to use gram flour and as I had never made them I thought it was time to give them a go.

I am in no way claiming authenticity with this recipe as I read a few and made up my own on that basis, but these bhajis were very good, so do please give them a go. I think next time I will add more than 1 tsp of crushed chillies as they were fairly mild; necessitating Mr OC to chomp on a raw chilli to make up for it – but then he is addicted!

They went perfectly with the cucumber and cumin dip that I made to go with them.

2 onions
100g (4 oz) gram flour
1 tsp crushed chilli (or more if you want a greater kick to your bhaji), or you could use 1-2 fresh chillies chopped finely
1 heaped tsp cumin seed
1 heaped tsp coriander seed
1 tbsp oil
100ml warm water
salt to taste


Put a frying pan onto a medium heat until hot and then add the coriander and cumin seeds and cook until they release their scent. Pour them straight into a mortar and pound them to a fine powder with the pestle (or a bowl and a rolling-pin will do the job just as well).

Sieve the gram flour into a large bowl. Add the coriander, cumin, chilli and salt.  Pour in the oil and water and mix to combine to a smooth batter. Leave to stand for 30 minutes.

Cut the onions in half and slice thinly. Add the onions to the batter and mix well.

Heat 4-5 cm of vegetable oil in a large pan until it reaches 170°c on a kitchen thermometer (or until a cube of bread turns golden brown in a few seconds).

Add spoonfuls of the batter, and you will need to do this 2-3 at a time or you will overcrowd the pan and they won’t cook properly.  Remove as soon as they turn a golden brown and drain on crumpled kitchen paper.  Keep warm until all the bhajis are cooked and serve as soon as possible.

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18 responses to “Onion bhaji

  1. I’ve never seen these before. We’ve retired to a small community in the Pacific Northwest. Because we live in a college town, I think I’ll be able to get the ingredients I need to give these a try. Thanks for posting this. Have a wonderful day.

  2. I bet these tasted good, they certainly look like they did. Always difficult I find to judge chilli. I made Thai lentil soup for lunch today and definitely overdid it on the chilli front – luckily everyone eating it were hardened curry fans, so I got away lightly.

  3. Did he really chomp on a chilli!!
    Both the dip and bhajis look mouthwateringly good.

  4. Oh Kath – that’s a scary thought. Thank you, but I can hardly keep up with the one blog. One day – sigh!

  5. These sound delicious. Lovely blog.

  6. Kath,
    They look so delicious. I love pakoras aka bhaji’s. I also love the fact that they are pretty versatile. You can cook with many vegetables, such as spinach. I even recently tried with some vegetarian haggis. Yours certainly do look moorish and I wouldn’t mind one for breakfast. Yep I’m off to work now.

  7. Oh Kath.. I have never made onion bhajis before and this has inspired me to try – thank you!

  8. We travel across rome once a twice a month for our Indian fix (I used to live near brick lane in london so I was spoiled for wonderful Indian Food)
    I really should start experimenting at home.
    Overwelmed with lemons and coming back to London on friday – panic cooking jam and might cry.

    • Well, I hope you didn’t have a lemon related breakdown and that you are now on your way to enjoying the company of family and friends and that includes the cheddar and the marmite!

  9. These are delicious. Does anyone know if onion bhajis count as one of your 5 a day?

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