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Homemade Onion Bhajis: An Easy and Tasty Vegetarian Recipe

Gabriel Wilson loves to cook, eat tasty foods, and drink a glass of wine—without having to do the washing up.

My most recent bhajis . . . delicious!

My most recent bhajis . . . delicious!

I decided to make onion bhajis because I always have a fabulous yield of strong flavoured and juicy onions (hence I don't need to add water as they release enough liquid themselves). I also have lime trees and chilli bushes and fresh coriander. My sister who has travelled India for pleasure and work for over 10 years, recently visited me and I made these tasty onion bhajis for her. She told me they were the best she'd ever eaten, being a vegetarian she admitted she has probably eaten her weight in onion bhajis over the years and the fact that she wolfed down more than her fair share said it all.

I serve these tasty nibbles as a starter, a snack and even as finger food at parties. They are always the first to go and I find unless I keep a few back for myself I'll be bhajis-less. Which is rather an awful predicament to be in. Hope you enjoy and don't forget if you like less or more spice experiment to get your own perfect bhajis. Tasty food doesn't have to be hard work it really can be good fun and easy too. Go for it!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

2 min

22 min

12 small bhajis


  • 1 large onion, halved and finely shredded
  • 100 grams gram flour (made from chickpeas)
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh coriander (optional), finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 pot of natural yogurt
  • Pinch of sea salt to serve (optional)


  1. Mix the gram flour, spices, fresh coriander (if using), and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Add onions and mix well. Depending on the onions you use some will provide enough liquid of their own to make a thick batter. If not, add a little water a drop at a time to get a sticky batter.
  3. Spoon the batter into hot oil, and deep fry for two minutes till golden brown and crisp.
  4. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate with a paper towel to drain off excess oil.
  5. Mix the fresh coriander into the natural yogurt to make a dip, and serve with the onion bhajis and lime slices.
  6. A further sprinkle of sea salt can be added to serve (optional).
Onion bhaji with lime garnish

Onion bhaji with lime garnish

Tips and Substitutes

  • Gram flour is made from ground chickpeas and is available from most health stores, Indian supermarkets, and big brand named supermarkets. Also available online from Amazon. I use Amazon a lot for ingredients because it can be hard to find certain things where I live.
  • If you cannot find gram flour, use strong white plain flour and an extra teaspoon of baking powder. I have tried this before I could get the gram flour online, and it worked perfectly. However the flavour in my opinion while not huge is better with the gram flour.
  • You can make gram flour from dried chickpeas, which are readily available from most supermarkets, using a very good food processor but be sure your food processor is strong enough to blitz the chickpeas, as they are very hard, like little pellets. And my processor didn't survive.
  • Be creative with the herbs and spices used and the quantities if you like stronger flavours. For example, chilli flakes will give it heat, or smoked paprika. I have also used a little lime juice in my batter. And the last batch I added a teaspoon of yellow curry powder so I added this to the ingredients. Once you have made the recipe go with your own individual palette and make the recipe yours.

Note on Nutrition

Below is a nutrition table on gram flour, rounded up or down to the nearest full digit: Fibre 12.2g, on chart 12g. Figures are from the last packet I used. Gram flour is high in protein and rich in fibre, iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, folate and thiamin. Gram flour is a healthy alternative flour as it does not contain gluten. Gram flour is also known as chickpea flour and more commonly known as besan. It is a staple in Indian diets.

© 2017 Gabriel Wilson