Carrot and Onion Bhajis

The onion bhaji, a classic staple starter in most Indian restaurants, is usually made by frying sliced onions in a spiced batter which can be quite greasy and heavy. I was inspired by Tracy (@TheLittlePK) to give this recipe a go and make my own version of it.

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The original recipe had turmeric, cumin and coriander seeds, ingredients not a staple of the student pantry. I changed the spicing around slightly, using garam masala, which contained all 3 of the above, and adding garlic as I am a big fan of garlic!

Spices are a fantastic way of flavouring your food without adding extra fat, sugar or calories and they are a cheap purchase as they will last you a long time. There’s no need to go for fancy brands either, supermarket own brands will suffice.

This recipe is a perfect way to use up those carrots at the bottom of the fridge which you have no idea how to use them besides doing a carrot cake or just chucking them into a stew.


3 onions (red or white), thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated

1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tbsp garam masala

2 tsp mild curry powder

½ tsp hot chilli powder

¼ tsp table salt

2 tbsp tomato puree

6 tbsp water

90g plain flour


Prepare the onions and carrots. In a frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the oil and the onions and carrots and stir-fry for around 5 minutes until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add all of the spices and salt to the carrot onion mix and continue to stir-fry for a further 6-7 minutes until the spices are well distributed and the onion and carrot have softened slightly. Transfer to a large bowl to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment and give the parchment a light grease to stop the bhajis sticking to the tray. In a small bowl, mix together the tomato puree with the water. Set aside.

Add the flour to the cooked vegetables and use a fork to stir it through. Add around 80% of the tomato puree mixture and you should notice a batter-like mixture surrounding the carrot and onion forms. Leave to sit for 5 minutes.

Use an ice cream scoop to divide the bhaji mixture up. I filled the ice cream scoop three-quarters full which gave me around 10 bhajis but feel free to make them slightly smaller.

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Bake the bhajis for 20 minutes and the tops should have started to brown and get crisp. Push the bhajis off the parchment with a knife and flip them around so that the underside can set too; this takes around 10 – 15 minutes in the same oven.

Serve the bhajis with a cooling cucumber raita as a snack or as a side dish to an Indian meal. These would be a fantastic vegetarian accompaniment to go with my Aubergine and Potato Curry.

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