Baked onion bhajis with yoghurt and mint dipping sauce
This was an Indian banquet on a somewhat smaller scale. I’ve always shied away from making my own Indian knick knacks before, preferring instead to buy the packaged variety from the supermarket, thinking it would be ridiculously time-consuming and bound to go wrong. Not so! The bhajis were really easy to throw together and the only specialist ingredient I had to buy was the gram flour, all of the spices I already had. To keep them relatively healthy I decided to bake the bhajis in the oven rather than deep fry them.
At the last-minute I decided to rustle up a yoghurt and mint dipping sauce – which was really refreshing, and a side dish of pan-fried paneer in a honeyed tomato sauce. Yum yum yum.
4 medium onions, sliced 5mm thick
6 tbsps gram flour (chickpea flour)
1 pinch salt (for dry mix)
1/2 tsp cumin (for dry mix)
1/2 tsp ground coriander leaf (for dry mix)
1 tbsp tomato puree (for onion mix)
1/2 tsp ground turmeric (for onion mix)
1/2 tsp ground coriander (for onion mix)
1/4 tsp ground cumin (for onion mix)
1/4 tsp ground ginger (for onion mix)
1/4 tsp chilli powder (for onion mix)
extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
water, as needed
Yoghurt and mint dipping sauce
125ml plain lo-fat yoghurt
1/2 tbsp mint sauce
1 tsp ground turmeric
juice of half a lemon
Pan fried paneer in a honeyed tomato sauce
230g paneer, cut into bite sized cubes
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2tsp ground cumin
1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp clear honey
Onion bhaji – Preheat the oven to 200˚C and line a large baking tray with baking parchment. Sweat the onions in a frying pan with some oil until they turn translucent for around 6-8 minutes. Sprinkle in the chilli powder and mix. Add the turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander and stir well. Remove from the heat.
Place the chickpea flour, salt, coriander, cumin into a large bowl and mix. Add the onions and tomato puree into a bowl and mix. Add a little bit of water to get the correct consistency, it should be wet and easy to stir, but not sloppy.
Drizzle some oil onto the prepared tray, place 2 tablespoons of the onion mix onto the tray for each bhaji. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes, drizzle a little oil on top of the bhajis and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with the yoghurt and mint dipping sauce. Makes 8 large bhajis.
Yoghurt and mint dipping sauce – Combine the yoghurt, mint sauce, ground turmeric and juice of half a lemon in a bowl and mix well. Serve chilled. Serves 2.
Paneer with honeyed tomato sauce – Cut the paneer into bite sized cubes and pan fry in a little olive oil until they start to colour. Add in the ginger, tumeric and cumin and cook for a further minute. Add in half a tin of chopped tomatoes and 1 tbsp of clear honey and mix well. Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 2o minutes. Serve warm. Serves 2.