Friday, December 6, 2019

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me ... 30 onion bhajis! #12BitesOfChristmas

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Ok, it’s not yet the first day of Christmas ... and the song doesn’t quite go like that but over the next few weeks, I’ll be doing the 12 bites of Christmas – delicious little morsels, savoury and sweet, to tantalise your taste buds.

So, for the first bite of Christmas, the thing I made for thee is... an Onion Bhaji. This recipe is frighteningly easy and can be rustled up in about 20 minutes once you know what you are doing. Even better, these onion bhajis are vegetarian and gluten free. They can be prepared in advance and frozen, ready to whip out at a moment’s notice for delighted visitors.

This recipe assumes you’ll be having friends over for drinks or that you love onion bhajis as much as I do. It is easily halved 

For about 30 bites of crispy, spicy, oniony gorgeousness you will need...

4 medium onions – about the size of a tennis ball
2 teaspoons cumin seed
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 tsp fennel seed
160g gram flour (chickpea flour)
40g rice flour (for added crispiness)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1-2 hot green chillies, finely chopped* (these can be left out if you’re not a fan)
30g fresh ginger, finely grated
2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaf or flat leafed parsley
2 tablespoons of plain (unsweetened) natural yoghurt or Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt

You will also need approximately 8 – 9 tablespoons cold water.

Sunflower oil for deep frying

Make up the mixture when you are ready to cook.

First, prepare the onions – peel them, then halve them top to bottom and cut into fine strips. Break up the strips with your fingers so that there are no large clumps clinging together.

Next, lightly toast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat. They are done when you can start to smell toasted spices! Remove them from the heat and crush them roughly using a pestle and mortar, or the spice grinder you got last Christmas and still haven’t used, or simply chop them roughly with a knife.

Place the gram flour and rice flour in a large mixing bowl along with everything else except the water and the onions and mix to combine.

Now stir in enough cold water to make a thick batter, adding a little at a time. (I find that 8 tablespoons makes a slightly more substantial bhaji and 9 tablespoons equals more crunch – both have their merits.)

Finally add the onions and mix gently until every strand is coated with the batter.

Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180°C.  Also pre-heat your oven to 100°C if you are planning to eat them immediately - the first few batches need to be kept warm as you work your way through the mixture.

Take walnut sized portions of the mixture in your hands and press gently into a ball before releasing carefully into the hot oil. Avoid overloading the fryer as it will lower the temperature and the bhajis will stick to each other and also become greasy.

Careful now...

If they haven’t resurfaced after about 45 seconds, gently release from the bottom of the fryer basket with a long-handled tongs. Continue to fry until deep golden brown – about two minutes in total.

I think these ones are doing the backstroke

Drain over the fryer until any excess oil stops dripping and place the cooked bhajis on a heatproof tray lined with kitchen paper. Place the tray in the oven. Cook the remainder of the mixture, keeping the finished bhajis warm until ready to serve.

Look what I caught! 

Alternatively, let them cool on the tray.
Freeze in one layer before packing into a suitable container and reheating – from frozen – at about 160°C for about 10 – 15 minutes or until piping hot.

Independent taste tester verdict: "Really very good. Is anyone eating that last one?"
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  1. Maureen | orgasmicchefDecember 6, 2017 at 11:57 PM

    I LOVE onion bhajis!! I could make a meal of them and then waddle off to bed. :) I will try your recipe. These look terrific!

  2. So crunchy and delicious! Bet you can't stop just eating one or two.


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