This blog is for people who are short on time, so I’m going to leap straight into the important bit….cooking! My recipes are designed so that you can do most of the work when you have a bit of time (e.g. at the weekend) then put it together quickly when you get home from work and don’t have much time or energy but want a nice meal.
I love onion bhajis so it’s something I’ve experimented with quite a few times at home to make a quick and healthier version that retains the lovely meeting of soft sweet onion with satisfying batter. Here is my favourite version, with two optional easy chutney recipes you can serve with them.
Time: 15 minutes on the day, 15 minutes prep ahead time (without the sauces – add 10-15 minutes extra if you make one or both sauces)
dietary info: vegan
- 100g spelt flour (tip: you can replace both flours with whatever you have in the cupboard if you’d prefer, or to experiment with different flavours)
- 130g wholemeal flour
- 30 g oatmeal
- 1tsp Baking powder
- 300ml water
- spice mix (see below)
- 1tsp salt
- 2 medium onions, halved and sliced
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 1 can sweetcorn, ~300 g drained
- Pre-heat the oven to 140C fan
- Mix together the flours, oatmeal, baking powder, salt and spice mix then gradually stir in the water to get a smooth batter
- Stir in the onions, carrots and sweetcorn
- Spoon tablespoons of the mixture into a non-stick frying pan. I dry fry them but you can heat some oil in the pan before if you prefer the flavour or don’t have a non-stick pan.
- Once the underside is cooked, turn them over to lightly brown both sides. They should turn over easily without falling apart if the are cooked enough.
- Once both sides are browned place them on a grill rack (or baking tray, but this won’t keep the bottoms as crispy) in the oven to fully cook through and keep warm while you are cooking the rest of the mixture. Once you have put the last batch in, turn the oven up to 160C fan and cook them for 5 more minutes.
- Serve with your choice of chutney (see below for a tamarind sauce or tomato chutney) and salad
- 1 scant tsp each of: ajowan seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, ground cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger
- 1/2tsp each chilli powder, ground cardamom, black pepper, ground cloves, amchur
I find I can get these spices at the supermarket, my local indian grocery or the online spice store at The Spicery and find it very useful to have a well stocked shelf of spices when I’m in a hurry. If you don’t have these spices then just use the ones you do have. If you are buying from scratch, the most useful ones I would recommend getting are: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin seeds, black pepper, chilli powder.
A few tips to prep ahead:
- Make 3 or 4 times the amount of spice mix you need, combine well and store in an airtight container, then just use 3-4 tbsp of the mix in the bhaji recipe. This will make it even quicker to mix up a batch next time.
- Make up the seasoned flour and oatmeal.mix and keep in an airtight box or covered bowl.
- Prepare the onions, carrots and sweetcorn and keep in a box or sandwich / freezer bag in the fridge.
- Buy or make the tamarind and / or tomato chutney and put in a box in the fridge.
Some tasty little extras….
Quick tamarind sauce
- 2 tbsp tamarind powder or puree
- ½ – 1 tsp chilli flakes (depending on how much hear you like)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp sugar or sweetener such as stevia
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 100ml water
- Mix all ingredient together (add the wet ingredient gradually to the dry ones, storing constantly to avoid lumps if using tamarind powder) in a small saucepan. Being to the boil and summer until it thickens to the consistency of double cream.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks.
Quick tomato chutney
- 6 tomatoes, roughly chopped or 1x500g carton of passata if you are in a hurry
- 2 tbsp rice or white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar or sweetener such as stevia
- 1 tsp each: nigella seeds, mustard seeds, chilli powder or flakes, ground fenugreek (leave this out if you can’t find it easily)
- Water (~50 ml)
- Mix all the ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally until the tomatoes break down to form a sauce.
- Allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1-2 weeks.