Onion bhajis

If you're cursing me for having made you buy gram flour, curse me no longer! Today I'm making onion bhajis. The batter (even without the spices) is not only gluten free, it's also vegan. And it's as simple as pie - simpler even! What makes these bhajis so special? The addition of peas to bring a little sweetness to them and the addition of whole cumin seeds, which roast as the bhaji fries. Best eaten immediately while they are still crisp.

Makes 12 - 14.


100g gram flour (a generous 4/5ths of a cup, loosely packed)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

a scant 1/8 teaspoon chilli  powder

a scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

a scant 1/2 cup of water (or a very generous third)

1/4 cup of frozen peas, defrosted

2 medium onions, sliced

oil for frying (I use groundnut or sunflower oil)

If you're unfamiliar with any of the ingredients, find out more about them here:



Slice the onion finely. Some people then like to soak it in cold water for a few minutes before draining it thoroughly. Personally I've never bothered with this step, so I have no idea what (if any) difference it makes.


Measure out the gram flour and spices into a large bowl, then whisk in enough water to make a batter that's neither too thick or too thin. If the batter feels too thick, add a little more water. It should coat not clag.


Add the onions and peas and stir thoroughly to combine.


Heat the oil. It's hot enough when a tiny drop of batter rises to the surface and begins to colour. Cook heaped dessertspoonfuls in small batches, allowing them to brown on the bottom for a minute or two before turning them over with a slotted spoon to cook the top. Here, I'm cooking two at a time. You'll know when they're done by their colour. 


Drain the cooked bhajis on kitchen towel and serve immediately.

Any questions? You can use the comments form at the bottom of the page.

Did you know?

You'll find recipes at the back of all the books in the Send for Octavius Guy series:

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