Baked Onion Bhajis (pyaz ke pakore)

Baked Onion Bhajis (pyaz ke pakore) by Meera Sodha

These are a step forward from the deep-fried favourites: they are healthier, more pleasant to cook, and just as tasty. I like to serve these with a fresh coriander or mango chutney, or beetroot raita.

For how many? Makes 24

Ingredients

  • 3cm ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 green finger chilli, chopped
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • salt
  • 1kg brown onions
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 180g chickpea (gram) flour
  • 40g fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and line two baking trays with lightly oiled foil. Put the ginger, green chilli and cumin seeds into a pestle and mortar along with a small pinch of salt, bash to a coarse paste and leave to one side.

2. Peel and halve the onions, then slice them into 0.5cm half-moon shapes. Put the oil into a large frying pan over a medium heat and, when hot, add the onions. Fry for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re translucent and just soft enough to cut with a wooden spoon.

3. Put the onions into a bowl and add the ginger, green chilli and cumin paste, along with the chickpea flour, fresh coriander, chilli powder, ground coriander, turmeric, lemon juice and 11⁄2 teaspoons of salt. Mix thoroughly and, little by little, add up to 30ml of water, until you have a very thick batter.

4. Take a tablespoon of the mixture and drop it on to a tray. Repeat with the rest of the mix, leaving a couple of centimetres between each bhaji.

5. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the bhajis start to crisp up and brown on top. Remove from the oven – you may need to gently lever them off the foil using a palette knife – and place on a plate alongside some chutney before devouring.

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