What is onion bhaji?
These crispy onion bhajis are popular snacks across the Indian subcontinent. They are so easy to make and are definitely moreish that you should not make them too often.
They are basically another kind of vegetable fritters made with onion, gram flour, and some spices. It’s one of the most popular savory snacks in the Indian subcontinent. You will come across this in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.
Like any food, every region will claim theirs to be the best and different.
Though the essence is just the same, it’s the crispy and spicy onion fritters that make a moreish snack to go with your afternoon tea or coffee.
The only difference is just the proportion of each ingredient or the spices put into the batter.
This time, I’m sharing a crispy onion bhaji recipe based on what I learned from my extended family and friends – which is Pakistani onion bhaji recipe.
What to serve with it?
These tasty, savory snacks are also often served as starters at a food spread at gatherings and special occasions.
How to enjoy your onion pakora
Apart from eating them as they are with some chutney, you can also enjoy the onion fritters as the filling of your sandwich, burger buns, or burrito wrap.
Butter your bread or burger buns, then arrange some sliced lettuce and any other salad veggies you like on top. Place a few pieces of onion pakoras and drizzle over your favorite chutney. You can even add some chili sauce, such as sriracha.
Sandwich the bread or buns, and enjoy.
You can do the same with tortilla wrap to make your very own onion bhaji burrito.
What are the ingredients in onion pakora?
These easy onion bhajis do not require many ingredients to make. You will only need red onion, gram flour/ besan flour/ chickpea flour, cilantro, minced garlic, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper/ Kashmiri red chili powder, and salt.
As a binding, you will need to put in a bit of water. And to cook the fritters, you will need some cooking oil to deep-fry.
Just a little note: you can always use brown onion instead if you like. However, I personally think red onion gives a better flavor to the pakoras.
And when it comes to garlic, you can use garlic powder instead of fresh minced garlic. However, I find that I need to double the measure if I use the powder form. So, for this recipe, it will be one teaspoon of dry garlic powder.
Is onion bhaji gluten-free vegan?
Oh yes. These ridiculously good onion bhajis are 100% gluten-free and vegan. So, they are a perfect choice for those on a gluten-free diet and vegans.
How to make onion bhajis?
In short, you will need to make the batter of onion bhaji and deep fry.
So, you peel and thinly slice the red onion. Set it aside.
Then place the rest of the ingredients except cooking oil in a mixing bowl and mix them all together until you get a very thick batter.
Next, add the onion slices to the batter and mix well. Slide some handfuls of the onion mixture carefully into hot cooking oil. Fry them until golden brown and crispy.
Put the fried onion bhajis on kitchen paper for a few minutes before serving so the paper will absorb the oil.
Top tips to make crispy onion bhajis
- Make sure your batter has the consistency of heavy cream. It should be thick but not too thick. It should be runny but not thin.
- Ideally, your oil should be around 325°- 350°F/ 160°-180°C when you start frying. If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer, you can test the temperature by dropping a tiny weeny batter in the hot oil. If it is steadily fast frying, your oil is ready. It may be a bit too hot if it is very rapidly frying. You can turn the heat down a little bit.
- Try to keep the consistency of the oil temperature by keeping the heat at a moderate high.
- When you pick the onion batter with your hand, try not to take it and make it too big. You definitely don’t want a fat piece of fritter, as it will be soft, soggy, and not as crispy. You want it fairly flat as you slide it into the frying pan.
- Ensure the oil covers the pakoras and all your onion bhajis are submerged.
- Try to drench the oil as much as possible by placing the fried fritters vertically on the kitchen towel before serving them.
How to store
These Indian savory snacks are best eaten hot and fresh with the chutney or sauce of your choice.
However, if you find yourself having a lot of them as leftovers, you can pre-pack them in a food bag and keep them in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Or, you can freeze your onion bhajis for up to 6 weeks.
When you want to serve them, reheat your frozen onion pakoras in a preheated oven at 350°F/ 180°C for about 12-15 minutes until they are hot and crispy again. Or, reheat them for about 5 minutes if your fritters are kept in the refrigerator.
Onion bhaji recipe
- Chopping board
- Kitchen knife
- Mixing bowls.
- Frying pan
- Slotted spoon
- 6 ounces besan flour/ gram flour/ chickpea flour
- 1 large red onion
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper/ red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt or according to taste
- A handful of cilantro/ coriander leaves chopped
- Cooking oil for deep frying
- Slice the onion lengthways.
- In a mixing bowl, place the gram flour/ chickpea flour, minced garlic, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper/ red chili powder, and salt. Using a fork, stir around.
- Pour a ¾ cup of water into the flour mix little by little as you mix the dry ingredients with water. You can use a fork, a hand whisk, or a handheld mixer. It will form a thick batter almost like heavy cream consistency.
- Add the sliced onions and chopped cilantro/ coriander leaves into the batter. Stir well.
- Heat the oil in a deep frying pan.
- Take small handfuls of onion bhaji mixture and carefully slide them into the hot oil. Deep fry for about 10-15 minutes until the pakoras look golden brown and are fully cooked.
- Remove from the oil and place the onion bhajis on a kitchen towel/napkin to drain the excess oil.
- Serve the pakoras hot with mint yogurt chutney or cilantro mint chutney.
- You can use garlic powder, for this recipe, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder is enough.
- I almost always use Kashmiri red chili powder as I like its flavor and heat. But you can use cayenne pepper or red chili pepper powder/ red chili powder. If you prefer your onion bhaji to be less spicy or not spicy at all, you can substitute cayenne/ chili powder with paprika powder.
Nutritional info in this recipe is only estimate using online calculator. You should refer to it as a guide only. Please verify with your own data if you seek an accurate info.