Onion Bhaji Simple Recipe, Cooking and Preparation Tips
Onion Bhaji are deep-fried fritters you can eat as a snack or starter. The bulk of the cooked Bhaji should be onion, not dough as occurs with many commercial varieties.
The yellow, red or white onion should be sliced very thinly so it cooks quickly, all the way through. Yellow onions have a more pungent flavor and the red ones are milder so choose the ones you prefer. Here are some tips:
► To get the right crispy texture you can try various combination of flours. A 2:1 ratio of gram (chickpea flour) to rice flour works best in most cases.
► You can also try using plain yogurt for making the batter or lemon juice, or melted butter instead of water.
► Don't make the batter too thick or the Bhaji will be too doughy. It should be thick enough to bind to the onion, but not thick enough to form clumps by itself.
► Try letting the batter rest after mixing for an hour or so before use.
► Fresh chillies and tumeric add extra flavor to the batter and fresh coriander adds color and flavor contrast
► Using the right temperature and keeping it constant during the cooking is very important for crispness. So cook in small batches, and use a thermometer to maintain the ideal temperature of 180 degrees C (355 degrees F).
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 60g (2 oz) gram flour
- 30g (1 oz) rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, crushed
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ghee or butter, melted
- 2 fresh curry leaves, finely chopped (optional)
- 2 teaspoon fresh root ginger, finely chopped or grated
- 1-2 hot green chillies ( more or less to taste), finely chopped or minced
- 2 onions (red, yellow or white (your preference), halved and sliced very thinly
- Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped or torn apart (you want fairly large pieces)
- Rice bran oil, grape seed oil or another neutral tasting, high smoke point oil for deep frying
Combine the two flours and sift into a mixing bowl. Add the ghee or melted butter and lemon juice and mix. Gradually add cold water or plain yogurt to get a batter approaching the consistency of double cream. Mix in the spices, herbs add salt to taste. Add the sliced onions and mix to coat all the pieces.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer or saucepan to 180 degrees C (355 degrees F). Place a bowl of cold water next to the stove, for cleaning your hands. Line a baking dish or plate with kitchen paper and place it in the oven on a low heat for draining and keeping the fritters warm as they are cooked.
Check that the oil has reached the required temperature. Then wet your hands in the cold water and shape small balls of the mixture about one tablespoon in size in your hands.
Carefully drop 2-3 balls into the the pan, and stir to stop them sticking. Cook, while turning several times for 4-5 minutes for about four minutes until golden and crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm on the paper lined plate in the oven then drain on the paper and put in the oven to keep warm.
Cook the remaining mixture in batches of 2-3. Serve with pickles or chutney.
© 2013 Dr. John Anderson
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