What homemade Indian feast is complete without onion bhajis? With extra added veggies, in the form of zucchini and a super mild spice blend, these are the perfect starter for your meal and they are naturally gluten free and dairy free. You can make a crispy, delicious, big batch of homemade onion bhajis in only 35 minutes and they are great for keeping in the freezer! The kids LOVE them!
Why you're going to love this recipe
This recipe is designed with kids in mind, because I know that a lot of kids struggle with heavy spices and unusual flavours, but these bhajis are the perfect introduction to delicious flavours that can be created with spices. Here's why your whole family will love this recipe:
- crispy crunchy exterior and deliciously soft interior
- mild spices, just enough to give flavour
- freezer friendly for busy nights
- great starter (they are even good in the lunchbox)
- great with a dipping sauce
- extra veggies for a boost
- gluten free
- dairy free
This recipe is all about introducing kids to spice, and goes perfectly with things like my Beef Mince Curry Meatballs, a veggie-packed family dinner, or Mango chicken curry or Cauliflower and sweet potato curry.
What goes into the recipe
- chickpea or besan flour chickpea flour is the best possible flour for making these. I buy it at the supermarket. Sometimes you'll find it in the "ethnic" (why do they call it that, can't they just call it the "all the awesome things are here" section?) section of the supermarket, but I'm finding it in the flour section locally. If you have no luck, your local indian grocer will be able to sort you out. I have been grinding my own from chickpeas, but I realise for most people that is a bridge too far. If you have to, you can swap for plain flour, but then they won't be gluten free.
- ground coriander this comes from coriander seed, so swapping for leaves won't work.
- cumin seed these little seeds pack a flavourful punch and really add a lot to this dish. if they've been sitting ion the back of the pantry for a while, a quick refresh in a frypan will make sure they are at their most flavourful.
How to make this recipe
- Peel and chop the onions, top and tail the zucchini. (Image 1)
- Grate the zucchini and onions. (Image 2)
- Grate veggies in a colander and put a bowl of water on top as a weight to force out the liquid from the onions and zucchini. Leave to stand for 20 minutes. (Image 3)
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. (Image 4)
- Add the lightly whisked eggs and the drained zucchini and onion mixture. (Image 5)
- Mix well to combine, ensuring there are no dry patches. (Image 6)
- Heat your oil over high heat in a deep saucepan. Grab tablespoonfuls of the mixture and drop into the hot oil. They won't stick to the bottom and will start to quickly brown.(Image 7)
- Flip them after 2-3 minutes and cook on the other side until golden. Drain on paper towel. (Image 8)
Expert Tips and FAQs
The first 500 times I made these I grated the zucchini and onion by hand. Be more sensible than me, get out the food processor. Make sure the zucchini and onion dry out well or you will have stodgy sticky bhajis.
Yes! Of course they can, and over time they become more tolerant of it. Introducing it to your kids from a young age helps them to enjoy it. I could happily take my kids out for dinner now at an Indian restaurant and be confident that they would eat ¾ of the menu.
I find it in my supermarket, either in the flour section or the ethnic section, otherwise your local Indian grocer will have it. You can also mill your own from dried chickpeas.
Yes, but they won't be gluten free and they won't have quite the same flavour profile, but in a pinch it can be used.
Place them in a colander once grated and place a bowl of water on top to compress them. This helps to push the liquid out of them.
Pop them into a clean fry pan over medium heat. When the air starts to fill with their fragrance, remove them from the heat and use in your recipe.
Vegetable or canola oil is best for frying and is much cheaper than other alternatives. If you can get rice bran oil in bulk, it is a good alternative. This is not a time for olive oil.
More recipes with spice for the family
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Homemade Onion Bhajis
- 1 zucchini grated
- 2 onions grated
- 120 grams besan flour chickpea flour
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1.5 cups oil for frying
- 2 eggs whisked
- Top and tail the zucchini, peel the onions. Grate using your preferred method- I use the food processor.
- Combine the zucchini and onion in a colander. Place a bowl of water on top to press it. Leave for 20 minutes.
- Combine the flour, cumin seed and ground coriander in a bowl.
- Add the zucchini, onion and egg to the dry mixture. Combine the wet and dry, mixing thoroughly to avoid dry spots.
- Heat 1.5 cups of oil in a deep saucepan.
- Drop tablespoons of the mixture into the hot oil in batches. They won't stick to the bottom and will start to puff and brown.
- Flip after 1 minute, keep turning until brown on all sides.
- Drain on paper towel.
- Serve hot.