I was making Onion Bhajis at 8am this morning, as canapes for an anniversary party I am hosting tomorrow night. The theme of the party is 'Mad Men' from the cult TV series set in an early 1960s New York ad agency, of which I am a huge fan. I did think of making retro party food and serving cocktails such as Old Fashioned and Whiskey Sour to keep to the theme of the event, but in the end I decided life was too short to stuff a mushroom, or indeed a vol-a-vent.....
Homemade onion bhajis are easy to make: you don't need a deep-fat fryer, though it helps. A deep wok or frying pan works just as well. These delicious bronze bundles are crisp on the outside and soft in the middle and are, of course, best served as soon as they're made. However, they keep well and can easily be warmed up. They are a doddle to make and are far more delicious than those dark, claggy balls that pass for onion bhajis at most Indian restaurants.
2-3 medium onions, sliced
1.5 cups Gram (Chickpea) flour
1 tsp black onion seeds (Kalonji)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp salt
About 2 tbsp soda water
Heat sunflower oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep work/frying pan.
Put all the ingredients except for the water in a bowl and mix well. The Gram flour should coat the slices of onion. Add some water: you are aiming for a fairly stiff batter.
When the oil is hot (you can test it by dropping a strand of the mixture into it), form small balls of clumps of mixture using a two spoons, and drop into the hot fat. Cook for about 5 mins, or until the bhajis are bronzed and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.
Serve with pickles (Pataks Brinjal (aubergine) relish - is delicious).