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Monday 10 January 2011

Sluttishly Savoury: Oven-Baked Onion Bhajis

I love cooking Indian food at home, but I've always steered clear of onion bhajis because I hate deep-frying. Too much of a risk of third-degree burns and clogged drains - not to mention arteries. Even ordering them in a take-away can be a bit unpleasant. Something about the oil-slicked paper bag they come in reminds me of Homer Simpson's weight gain diet, where his charlatan doctor advises "if you're not sure about something, rub it against a piece of paper. If the paper turns clear, it's your window to weight gain!" Blee.

So when a friend introduced me to oven-baked onion bhajis, I was delighted. Drizzling them with just a little oil halfway through cooking gives them a crispy outside. They're not only surprisingly quick and easy, they are super delicious. Making them yourself means you can customise the spices - this recipe gives lots of flavour but not much heat, so add more chilli if you like them hot.

Recipe adapted from Jeena's Kitchen

You will need:
  • 450g onions, sliced
  • 90g gram flour (also known as chickpea flour. You can get it from most supermarkets or a local Indian shop)
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 heaped tsp tomato puree
Spices for the pan:
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder

Make it!
  1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large pan and fry the onions for about 10 minutes. You don't want to brown them, just soften them.
  2. Add the spices for the pan and stir, then take it off the heat.
  3. Add the cooked onions to a bowl with the other dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Mix the tomato puree with 2 tablespoons of water and add to the bowl of onions. Stir it all together so the flour forms a batter that coats the onions.
  5. Spoon the mixture on a greased baking tray. It will make about 12 small bhajis.
  6. Put into the oven at 180C for 10 minutes. Drizzle them with some oil, then return to the oven for another 10 minutes, until they're golden-brown.
Serve with cucumber raita or tomato salsa as a starter to an Indian meal. Yum!


  1. Just what I've been looking for, excellent!

  2. I've love all the Indian sundries but have always been a bit put off by the greasiness too - these look like a great alternative! Will have to give them a go.

  3. The only takeaway I've found that does none rubbish bhajis is Mirch Masala on the Commercial Road in London. Instead of tiny tough balls stuck together, they're all perfectly cooked strands, not too greasy and cheap and tasty

    I'm going to try and make these this week.

  4. Let me know how you get on! They were surprisingly quick to do (even quicker to eat).

  5. That sounds great, especially because they are not deep fried. PS I love that Simpson episode, Homer in a muu muu

  6. Thanks for this! I love bhaji, unfortunately I have to watch my waist. I will definately try those, asap. My mouth is watering now! ;)

  7. great it is gluten free, so I will try to make them

  8. I tried these for boyf, best friend and me this weekend with homemade tandoori chicken and bombay potatoes. Tasted yummy but the flour didn't really have a chance to cook out and, let's face it, some things just need to be fried!

  9. I bought a 10kg bag of gram flour for £1 recently. Now I know what to do with 0.9% of it! :)


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