Onion Bhajis 4.000
Aug 13, 2014

These fried-dough snacks flavored with red onion, spices and herbs are a popular street food in India, and they are often served as an appetizer at Indian restaurants in America. They didn't appear in the film "The Hundred-Foot Journey" but were used as a reference: A character is described as having a "face like an onion bhaji."

You'll need an instant-read thermometer for monitoring the oil.

Where to Buy: Awajain (sometimes spelled ajwain) seed and chickpea flour are available at Indian markets.

4 - 5

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-5 servings; makes 12 to 15 fritters

  • 1 1/2 to 2 quarts canola oil, for frying
  • 2 to 3 red onions, cut into very thin slivers (about 4 cups total)
  • 1 serrano chili pepper, seeded and minced
  • Leaves and tender stems from 10 cilantro stems, chopped
  • Pinch whole awajain seed, crushed (may substitute dried thyme; see headnote)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (also called besan or gram flour; see headnote)
  • Water
  • Tamarind chutney or mint-cilantro chutney, for serving


Pour the oil into a medium, heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of at least 3 inches and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Line a platter or baking sheet with several layers of paper towels.

Meanwhile, combine the onions, serrano, cilantro, awajain seed, turmeric and salt in a mixing bowl; use your clean hands to toss together.

Place the flour in a separate bowl. Add a little water at a time, using your fingers to work just enough of it in to form a thick paste that does not move when the bowl is briefly inverted.

Add the paste to the onion mixture; use your hands to make sure the solids are evenly coated.

To test the oil, drop in a good pinch of the coated onion mixture; if it quickly bobs to the surface with bubbles around it, the oil's ready.

Working in three or four batches (keeping in mind the goal of 12 to 15 bhajis), drop small handfuls of the onion mixture into the hot oil; fry for a few minutes, until golden brown. The bhajis will become crisped, crunchy tangles, soft on the inside. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.

Serve hot, with chutney for dipping.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by chef Floyd Cardoz for Richard C. Morais, author of "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (Scribner, 2011).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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