Onion Bhaji with Cucumber Mint Raita
Makes 10-12 appetizers
1 medium yellow onion
1 medium red onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 2-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp Tikka Masala paste
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
kosher salt, to taste
1 green chilli, finely chopped and de-seeded - optional
10-12 kari leaves, also known as curry leaves - optional6 oz besan flour, also known as chickpea flour
2 oz rice flour - makes the fritters extra crispy!
1/4 cup water, or as required
Vegetable oil for frying
Cucumber Mint Raita:
1 cup natural or Greek yoghurt
1/2 English cucumber, grated
1 bunch mint leaves, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1 lemon, zested
1 green chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped - optional
For the raita, wrap the grated cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Mix together with all of the other ingredients in a small bowl and chill until needed.
Cut the onions in half and finely slice into half-moon shapes, separating each individual slice. Place in a large mixing bowl, and add the garlic, ginger, spices, lemon juice, cilantro (plus the green chilli and kari leaves if using) and salt to taste, and mix gently until combined. Add the chick pea and rice flour and water, a little at a time, until all the onions are coated well. The mixture should not be a batter but thick enough to hold it's shape and hold together well — like a thick gooey paste.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium, or use a deep fat fryer. Once the oil reaches 350°F, or a cube of white bread browns after 40 seconds, it's ready to use. You can also check the temperature by dropping in a small spoonful of the mixture - it should sizzle and float. Taste the bhaji and adjust the seasoning if required.
With moistened hands, make a loose dumpling or patty with the onion bhaji mixture and gently drop into the hot oil, about 5 at a time. Stir gently and fry until evenly golden brown all over. Remove the bhaji using a slotted spoon once they're done, and drain on paper towel. Repeat the process in small batches until all the mixture is used up. Serve immediately or allow to cool to room temperature if you prefer, and accompany the bhaji with cucumber mint raita or coriander mint chutney.