"I have yet to meet someone who doesn't enjoy a freshly cooked onion bhaji. It's such a great snack starter or side dish – whichever way you like it." – Chetna Makan
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 120 g gram flour
- 1 t salt
- 1 t garam masala
- 1 t chaat masala
- 1 cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 x 400 g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 T water
- sunflower oil, for deep-frying
1. Put the onions, gram flour, salt, dry spices and ginger into a bowl. Using your hands, squash the onions into the flour so that it becomes a little sticky.
2. Put the chickpeas into a separate bowl and, using a potato masher, mash them slightly – don’t completely squash them. Add these to the bowl with the onion mixture, then slowly add the measured water, mixing with your hands as you go. You want just enough water to make the batter sticky but not watery.
3. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer to a cooking temperature of 170ºC . (Maintain this temperature throughout cooking.) Once the oil reaches cooking temperature, carefully add a small batch of the bhajis to the oil, sliding them in one piece
at a time – it’s up to you what size to make your bhajis, but I recommend lime-size portions (a tablespoonful of the mixture).
4. Flatten the bhajis slightly with your fingers before you put them into the hot oil. Cook for 2 minutes on each side until nicely golden and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bhajis to a plate lined with kitchen paper. Leave to drain while you cook subsequent batches, then serve immediately with your choice of dipping sauce.
Extracted with permission from Chetna's Indian Feasts: Everyday meals and easy entertaining by Chetna Makan. Published by Hamlyn, August 2023. Photography by Nassima Rothacker. Hardcover R715,00 (octopusbooks.co.uk)