So, it turns out that Onion Bhajis should really be called Pakoras, but whatever they’re called, they’re delicious. A friend showed me how to make them a couple of weeks ago, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was! Ingredients wise, you’ll need a couple of red onions, potatoes (optional), gram flour (flour made from gram beans), water, vegetable oil, and salt. Gram flour is made of ground gram beans, and is a staple flour used in Indian, Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Nepali cuisine. If you’re lucky enough to live close enough to an international food shop, you may find it there, if not, the internet is a wonderful place! Choose a sturdy pan, and fill a third of it with oil. Put it on a medium heat. Chop your onion in half, then slice it thinly and put aside. Put four tablespoons of flour into a bowl, and add cold water until you get a runny yet thick consistency. Place enough onions in that they all get a thick coating of the batter, but don’t put too many in. Apparently, mixing the batter with your right hand is the traditional way to do it. Once your oil has been warming for 5 to 10 minutes, it should be hot enough. Test this by dropping a bit of raw onion in. If it bubbles and sizzles, you’re good to go! Either with your hand or a spoon, shape the mixture into little clumps, roughly 4cm by 4cm seemed to work well for us. Carefully drop these clumps into the hot oil, making sure that not too many strands of onion are sticking out – these will cook faster that the bulk of the pakora, and may burn. Don’t overfill the pan, but you can probably get 4 or 5 in comfortably. Take them out, and place in a kitchen roll-lined bowl, once they have turned golden brown.
It’s worth pointing out that there many variations when it comes to seasoning. We put a little bit of chilli powder in our batter, but my friend also told me that coriander seeds are also a good match. Corriander leaves are also nice to add to the batter, especially if you make the variation that includes thinly sliced potato. Other variations include Chat Masala, a popular spice mix.
Sauce wise, I recommend mango chutney, or the lesser known but equally as lovely ‘Green’ chutney. See this link to BBC Food, to see how to make it. Enjoy!