Easy, bhaji

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For my birthday last week I decided to cook for everyone instead of going out for dinner. There were 13 of us including some vegetarians so I made a few different curries and did homemade onion bhajis.

It sounds impressive when you say you make your own bhajis and although it can be messy, they’re pretty easy to do. Most importantly they taste so much more delicious than any you get from a takeaway or supermarket. The recipe is from Sam Stern’s Student Cookbook and I can always find the page because it’s the one that’s all crumpled and splattered from good use.

This time I doubled the recipe but to make about 12 small ones you’ll need:

450g onions, thinly sliced

1 tsp each of salt, cumin, ground coriander and turmeric

1/2 tsp baking powder

Fresh coriander, chopped

60g of gram flour (from ground chickpeas, much tastier than using plain flour)

Sunflower oil for frying

In a colander, sprinkle the onions liberally with salt and leave them for at least 30 mins (or all day if you have better things to do than tend to onions). Separately, mix all the other ingredients (except oil) together in a bowl.

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When you’re ready, rinse the salt off and dry the onions in any way you see fit, then coat them in your spice mixture. Now that your hands are all covered in a yellowy, slimy, flour mix, heat an inch or so of sunflower oil in a deep pan until hot enough to make a breadcrumb sizzle. Squeeze the mixture into ping pong ball sized things – tricky as it doesn’t stay together very well but you can use more gram flour if you need to – then drop into the pan. Keep a hawk eye on each bhaji, making sure they are browning nice and evenly, then drain on kitchen roll. Best done in batches and then kept warm in the oven until you’re ready to eat them.

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It’s nice to have them with raita which is just plain yoghurt, diced cucumber crushed garlic and some mint mixed together in a bowl.

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