Onion Bhaji

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I am a huge bhaji fan and could never miss ordering them at an Indian or Sri Lankan restaurant.
These are exactly as I like them.  Barely any batter but essentially onion bound together with a little egg, chickpea flour and spices.
We top ours with yoghurt, mint and a dollop or mango or tamarind chutney.

Thanks to Kit Perera from Chef For a Night for his wonderful Sri Lankan recipes and inspiration.

Yield: makes 20


  • 1 sprig (about 10 leaves) curry leaves
  • 600g (around 5 medium sized) onion
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chilli powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly whisked
  • 1 cup chickpea (Besan)flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
  • small handful chopped coriander leaves
  • neutral flavoured oil for frying


Heat a large pan over a medium heat and dry the curry leaves for 2-3 minutes, just until crisp. Finely chop these and set aside.
Finely slice the onion into half rings and place in a large bowl.
Add the spices and salt and mix well with tongs. Set aside for 15 minutes or so.
Add the egg, chickpea flour and baking powder to the bowl along with the curry leaves, coriander and 1/4 cup cold water.  Mix to coat the onion.
The mixture  be moist but not sloppy. Clumps should be able to hold together.
Heat oil in the pan to a depth of 1.5 – 2cm.
Once the oil is hot enough that a small piece of onion immediately sizzles, then cook spoonfuls of bhaji in batches, turning until well coloured. Make sure that the oil is not so hot that the onion burns but hot enough to form a crisp bhaj.

Drain on paper towels and either serve immediately or set aside for later.
These can be made in advance but do not refrigerate them as they will then go soggy.
Leave them set aside on something like a wire rack and then heat in the oven for a few minutes before serving.

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