Pretty much every time I see the sun I think of beer! I love beer gardens, barbecues, anything that involves food, drink and sunshine. The sun has been making some decent cameo appearances lately; add that to the anticipation of summer in a world cup year and it leads my simple mind to ponder food that suits a bottle of beer and a pair of sunglasses! (and inevitable footballing heartbreak!)
The onion bhaji is a truly great invention; not only is it spicy, but it is also deep-fried! Only good things happen when food is allowed to be dunked into hot oil (although a trip to any of my local takeaway establishments would instantly disprove this theory!). The problem with a lot of Bhajis though is that they are too big. There isn't enough of that crisp coating and too much of an often stodgy interior. When I first came across 'Bhajias' in the Christine Manfield book 'Tasting India', (such a beautiful book) I knew that they were the solution to the bhaji problem. Only a tablespoon of the mixture is deep fried to give the perfect balance of textures which makes them a great contender for the ultimate bar snack! (Although to be fair, they contain no pork so they may always struggle to win that coveted title!).
This recipe uses the basic ratios of the original recipe in Tasting India but I have made a few additions to the spicing to suit my tastes.
2 Red Onions, sliced into rings
3 Green Cardamom Pods, crushed and husks removed
3/4 tsp Coriander Seeds, crushed
Pinch of Dried Ginger
1 Green Chilli, finely diced
1/2 tsp Salt
100g Gram Flour
Oil for deep-frying
1. Combine the onions, spices, green chilli and salt in a bowl.
2. Squeeze together to release moisture from the onions.
3. Sprinkle over the flour and stir to combine.
4. Add enough water to until it resembles a coleslaw type consistency, it should not look like a batter.
5. Set deep fat fryer to 180C. To fry, drop a tablespoon of the mixture into the oil and fry for 2 minutes until golden and crisp. I did 4 or 5 at a time so the temperature of the oil didn't drop too much. If you're preparing ahead as I was, you can get them all prepped and ready to go on a tray for last minute frying.
|Prepping ahead is always best as it allows more drinking time with guests!|
6. Drain on kitchen roll and serve with dip of choice. ( I used yoghurt, shredded mint and lemon juice.)
I also served mine with a spiced fillet of lamb (unbelievable!) but I didn't measure the spices I used so will have to do it another day properly so I can post the recipe! If you're curious it was a combination of ginger/garlic puree, garam masala, chilli powder, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cumin, salt and black pepper.
These Bhajias are a bit special! They are perfumed from the coriander and cardamom and slightly fiery from the green chilli. They are so light that they almost feel good for you and you can easily forget the deep fat fryer was involved! Oh, but don't forget the beer, enjoy!