Anyone else down to their last pound? Just me then? Well, the joke, and the drinks, are on you, because these onion bhajis are a doddle to make, cheap as anything and as I can all-too painfully verify, taste even better when you’ve been stuck with non-artisanal porridge and boiled rice for the last two weeks. (WHO THE HELL PUT FIVE WEEKS IN JANUARY BTW?)
While it’s all hunky dory to spend the first days of the year going goo-goo eyes over Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest 300-calorie-toxin-exorcism, by now I’m guessing you just want something a bit jazzy that will actually fill you up. That’s where these bhajis come in. They’re vegan and gluten free, so you can make them for probably any friend that comes through the door, and so cheap I didn’t even need to use my local Coinstar to pay for them in coppers. That’s some no frills thrills right there.
Although deep-frying anything gives me the heebie jeebies (yeahhh let’s heat up a massive pan FULL OF OIL that sounds GREAT), just keep an eye on the blighters once they’re cooking and they’ll be a-okay. No sauntering off to watch Anthony Bourdain swear at people, essentially.
Plus, if you make the bhajis before starting on a curry, you can use the leftover oil for the rest of the cooking, so it doesn’t go to waste. Yeah that’s right, we double fry oil in this house Gwyneth, that’s how I get rid of my toxins.
Makes four portions
4 medium onions, thinly sliced lengthways
Good pinch of salt
100g gram (chickpea) flour
1 chili, chopped small
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp curry powder
Handful of coriander, chopped small, and hold some back for serving
Salt and pepper to season
Sunflower or vegetable oil for frying
1 lemon, zested and then juiced
Chop up all your onions and place in a bowl, add the salt and mix through, then allow to sit for about ten minutes.
In the mean time, add the gram flour, chili, turmeric, chili powder, curry powder, coriander and salt and pepper together in a separate bowl and stir through. Slowly stir in the water so it forms quite a thick batter. It should easily coat a spoon after you’ve finished mixing it in. Add in the onions to the batter and combine.
Heat the oil in a frying pan so it’s about 1cm deep. You can test if it’s hot enough by dropping a small bit of battered onion in the pan- if it’s ready it will fizz and the onion will begin to brown straight away. Once it’s hot enough, use two tablespoons to make loose onion bhaji shapes, and carefully drop them into the oil. I find it much easier if you don’t overcrowd the pan, so the bhajis keep their shape. They’ll begin to brown on one side, so carefully turn over and cook on each side. Once they’ve gone a dark golden colour they’re ready to be removed with a slotted spoon. Pat off any excess oil with kitchen roll and stack in a dish.
Once all the onion batter has been used, serve with a few pinches of salt, the lemon juice, a few extra coriander leaves and finish with sprinkling the lemon zest on top.
Words: Ava Szajna-Hopgood