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.
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.
This post is very much related to the one about onion bhajis. As regular readers will know Total Yoghurt have very kindly sent me a tray of samples with which to cook. So far I have made scones and buckwheat pancakes and this is recipe number three, giving the yoghurt centre stage.
This dip is a bit of a twist on a cucumber raita. It’s not the time of year for mint in my garden and last year I failed to make my usual jar of mint concentrate and I refuse to pay the price of a pot from the supermarket when I have it rampant in my garden for most of the year. So this is a winter version of a raita, replacing the fresh herb with a spice. It was very good and suited the onion bhajis perfectly.
200g Total Greek Yoghurt
8-10cm chunk of cucumber, diced
1½ tsp cumin seed
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat until hot and add the cumin seed. Cook for a few seconds until the smell is released. Pour straight into a mortar and grind with the pestle to a rough powder (you still want the bite of the seed in there).
Mix the cucumber, yoghurt and cumin together and enjoy as a dip for crudites or bhajis or samosas, as a side for a curry or however you fancy eating such a delight.
I add cumin seed to the chapati which gives a lovely hint of spice to these delicious flatbreads.
Chapati (makes 6)
125g wholemeal flour
80 ml water
1 tsp cumin seed
Melted butter or ghee for brushing the chapati when cooked
Heat a pan over a medium heat and add the cumin seed dry-frying until it begins to release its smell. Lightly grind the seed with the back of a spoon.
Put flour and cumin seeds in a large bowl and slowly add water combining the mixture with your hands until a soft dough is formed.
Knead the dough for 5-7 mins until smooth. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave for 30 mins.
Heat a griddle or heavy pan until its very hot ( I use a tortilla pan which is perfect for the job).
Separate the dough into six balls and roll out each ball on a lightly floured surface into a thin round. Cook each chapati for 1 minute on the first side, turn and cook for 30 secs on the other side. If the pan is hot enough they should puff up.
Brush each chapati with melted butter as soon as it is cooked and keep warm until you are ready to serve.