Crispy Onion Bhaji

When it is raining outside, you just can’t resist but make hot, crispy Onion Bhaji and some chai. These onion pakodas are made from minced onion, gram flour, rice flour, and spices.

Onion bhajis are a very popular snack in many parts of India. These crispy onion bhajis are a favorite tea-time snack. Come monsoon or winter and you would bet there would be a million households somewhere serving this with tea.

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These are simply onion fritters made with thinly sliced Onion coated with a gram flour batter with spices and herbs in it and fried in oil.

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Onion Bhaji Recipe

This recipe brings out the best crispiness in the pakodas and makes them light. You will not get any soggy bhajis and each one would turn out perfect.

The secret behind this recipe is a couple of ingredients that make it crispy, light, and ups its flavour and taste.

A little rice flour and a pinch of baking soda helps in making the batter lighter and bring out each Onion bhaji crispy and crunchy to every bite. Hing and garlic bring out the flavour in each bhaji.

They turn out the right degree of spicy, tasty, and flavorful.

Bhaji or Pakoda

Bhajis and Pakodas are basically the same things. Both are a type of onion fritters made with a gram flour-based batter. They are called Bhajis in the south and Pakodas in the north of the Indian subcontinent.

They differ in the spices and herbs used in the batter. For Instance, this Onion Bhaji batter has curry leaves and garlic whereas pakoras tend to have carrom seeds.

What is gram flour?

Gram flour is the main ingredient needed to make any kind of bhajis. This is ground flour made from brown chickpeas or chana dal (broken chickpeas), widely known as Besan.

It is different from the Chickpea flour used in the US, which is made of white chickpeas. That is not as finely ground as Besan and needs more water to get the same consistency. Moreover, it changes the taste of the batter.
It has a binding nature, and many fried recipes use it. Plus, it provides an excellent crunch and is therefore perfect for many bhaji/pakora recipes.

Besan is gluten-free and is high in carbohydrates, protein, and nutrients. It is a healthy ingredient and is therefore preferred over wheat flour. It has more fiber and antioxidants. You need not have to buy it always and can make this easily at home.

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Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Onions – Red onion is widely used in making Onion Bhajis. You can opt for white onion and they might have a slightly sweeter taste.
  • Besan (Gram Flour) – primary ingredient for the batter. Get a good quality of gram flour or better make it at home.
  • Rice flour – Added a small quantity to make the bhajis more crispy.
  • Garlic pods – if you follow my blog, you will find garlic used a lot. It is a flavour bomb.
  • Curry leaves (Optional) – Gives a wonderful flavour and aroma to the batter and taste.
  • Baking Soda – used for the batter to rise. It makes the bhajis light and crispy.
  • Asafetida (Hing) powder – Add directly to the batter. If you got the purer lump form of asafetida, blend it to a paste with water before adding.
  • Chili  – to up the heat. Change the quantity as per your tolerance level
  • Oil – A pan full of oil to fry the onions. Everyday vegetable or cooking oil is good here.
  • Salt – As per taste.

You can also add chopped coriander leaves, chopped ginger to the batter. Add Ajwain to pakoda since it helps digestion.

Steps To Make Onion Bhaji

  1. Cut onions to even slices
  2. In a big bowl add sliced onion, crushed garlic and chopped curry leaves.
  3. Add besan, rice flour, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, hing, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Mix well and let it rest for 10 mins. Mix it again. The mixture will be moist and would start coming together.
  5. Add a teaspoon of water at a time and mix well until the batter is not too dry. Take a couple of teaspoons of hot oil and mix it with the batter well using a spoon.
  6. When the oil is hot, take a tablespoon of batter in your hands, shape it loosely as a flat disc in your hand and drop in the oil. Flip it when it turns light brown and till the bhajji turns brown.
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Tips for crispy Onion bhaji

  • Cut Onions into even slices. This ensures that they get cooked the same else; bhajis will have some cooked while others are undercooked.
  • Sliced onions release water while mixing. Sprinkle more water if the mix still feels dry.
  • Sprinkle water on the batter and mix it. Repeat if you feel the batter is too thick and needs more water. Sprinkling will help you control the amount of water you add and avoid the batter getting too soggy by accident.
  • Onion bhajis should not be touching the bottom of the pan. Make sure to have enough oil in the pan.
  • Oil needs to be heated on medium heat – any higher and it would burn the bhajis yet the inside will not be cooked. If the heat is too low and the oil isn’t hot enough, it would take a long time to cook the onions and make the bhajis soggy and oily.
  • Before frying, test the oil first. Just dip a drop of batter in the oil. It should bubble and float up. It shows the oil is ready for frying. If the drop of batter drowns then wait till the oil heats up further for a minute and test again.

Serve with

Onion bhajis and tea are a classic combination served in the Indian subcontinent. It is usually accompanied with a sauce (tamarind or tomato), green chutney (mint or coriander with green chili sauce), or raita.

Storage Instructions

Best make the batter for onion bhajis when you want to have it. When something is so easy and quick to make, why make it ahead?


Onions in the batter tend to get soggy when kept over time, even in the fridge.

Onion bhajis taste the best when it is hot. Keep fritters in the fridge, they lose their crispiness and will not taste the same.

More Appetizer Recipes…

Crispy Spring Rolls

Greek Potato Wedges

Chicken Pakodas

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Crispy Onion Bhaji / Pakoda

Course Snack
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Sliced onion tossed in gram flour, rice flour and spice batter and is fried until crispy on the outside. These gluten free onion fritters are a treat in monsoon and can easily be baked or air fried.
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • 3 large Onions
  • 1 cup Besan / Gram Flour (about 150 grams)
  • ¼ cup rice flour (50 grams)
  • 6-7 garlic pods
  • 10-12 curry eaves
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • pinch of baking/cooking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon hing (asafoetida)
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt (or adjust as taste)
  • 2 tablespoon hot oil
  • Oil for frying

Instructions

Heat the oil

  • In a large pan or kadhai heat enough oil for frying.
  • Add enough oil so that the bhajis will not touch the bottom of the pan while being fried.

Prepare Batter

  • Peel and thinly slice the onions. Make sure they are all sliced evenly.
  • With the back of the knife crush garlic and roughly chop it.
  • Roughly chop the curry leaves.
  • In a big bowl add sliced onion, garlic, curry leaves, besan, rice flour, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt, hing, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mix well and let it rest for 10 mins. Mix it again. The mixture will be moist and would start coming together.
  • Add a teaspoon of water at a time and mix well until the batter is not too dry. You should be able to hold a spoonful of it and it should hold a loose shape.
  • Take a couple of teaspoons of hot oil and mix it with the batter well using a spoon.

Frying the Bhajis

  • To make sure that the oil is hot enough for frying, drop small amount of batter in the oil. The drops should have bubbles and rise up. This shows the oil is hot enough to fry.
  • Using a spoon or with your hand take about a tablespoon of batter, form a loose shape and carefully drop it into the oil.
  • Avoid overcrowding the pan with too many slices put together. Cooking a few at a time ensures even cooking of the onions.
  • Flip the pakodas halfway through and allow to brown it evenly on both the sides.
  • When the batter turns brown, take them out using a slotted spoon and put them on some tissues to soak the excess oil.
  • Serve with sauce, chutney or raita

Video

Notes

  • Cutting Onions evenly ensures that they get cooked the same else we might have some cooked while other undercooked.
  • Sprinkle water while adding to the batter and mix it. Repeat if you feel the dough is too tight and needs some more water. Sprinkling will help you control the amount of water you add and avoid the batter getting too soggy by accident.
  • Have enough oil in the kadhai or pan so that the bhajis should not be touching the bottom of the pan.
  • Oil needs to be heated on medium heat – any high and it would burn the bhajis yet the inside will not be cooked. If the heat is too low and the oil isn’t hot enough, it would take a long time to cook the onions and make the bhajis soggy.
  • Test the oil before you start frying. Just dip a drop of batter in the oil. It should bubble and float up. That shows the oil is ready for frying. If the drop of batter drowns then wait till the oil heats up further for a minute and test again.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 387kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 904mg | Potassium: 440mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 258IU | Vitamin C: 58mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
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