Onion Bhajis

Onion Bhajis, also known as Pyaz Ke Pakode, are Indian spicy fritters which can be eaten as entrées, side dishes and snacks.

Preparation time: 15 minutesCooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 10Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

  • 2 onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped green chilli
  • 100g/3½ oz/⅔ cup of gram (chickpea) flour
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh coriander leaf
  • A pinch of salt
  • 120ml/1⅕dl/⅕ pt/½ cup of cold water
  • Vegetable oil, for deep frying

Special Equipment

  • A large mixing bowl
  • A sieve
  • A deep saucepan
  • A large slotted spoon

Method

  1. Soak the onion slices in water while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  2. Sift the flour, turmeric, coriander and baking powder into a large mixing bowl, then stir in the coriander leaf, salt and chili. Drain the onion before adding it to the bowl and stirring it into the other ingredients.
  3. Pour half of the water into the bowl and stir everything together so a nice thick batter forms. If the batter seems too dry, add the rest of the water. Mix everything together thoroughly so the onions are well coated.
  4. Meanwhile, place a deep saucepan on the hob over a medium-high heat and fill it halfway with vegetable oil. Leave the oil to heat up for 5 minutes.
  5. Test the oil by dropping a little batter into the pan- if it rises to the surface and begins to brown, the oil is hot enough. Drop a few large spoonfuls of Bhaji mixture into the oil at a time and fry them for 3-4 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Then remove the Bhajis from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain them on kitchen paper.
  6. Keep the finished Bhajis in a warm place while you cook the rest- add more oil to the pan and allow it to heat up if needed. Then serve the Bhajis immediately while they are hot.
  7. Salavo!

Tips

  • You can eat Bhajis as a snack, as a first course, as a side dish, or with tea and coffee.

Background

Pronunciation: /ˈbɑːd͡ʒi/ (Bha-jee)
Home: India
Relatives: Other Bhajis (Aloo Bhaji, Bread Bhaji, Chilli Bhaji, Mirchi Bhaji), Pakora (Banana Pakora, Paneer Pakora), Samosa, Bhonda, Gota, Vada, Onion Rings, Tempura

History

A Bhaji (which means ‘fried vegetable’ in Hindi) is a kind of Pakora (which means ‘small cooked lump’ in Sanskrit). These fried snacks are a popular street food throughout the Indian Subcontinent, particularly in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Pradesh, Assam and West Bengal. They are believed to have originated in Gujarat, where they are traditionally eaten with Chai. Bhajis themselves are a particularly popular accompaniment to Indian meals around the world.

They’re widely eaten at Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, to whom it symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and good over evil, but is also very popular with Sikhs, Jains and Newar Buddhists. It’s held annually in October or November- the exact date depends on the lunar calendar- and this year is being held in mid November, with the main celebrations taking place on Saturday 14th.

During Diwali, people decorate their homes with rangoli patterns and diya lamps, set off fireworks, give out gifts and take part in feasts and parties. As people are so busy partaking in the festivities, small snacks like Bhajis- which can be grabbed and eaten on the go- are very popular.

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