For people who care about their food

How to make onion bhajis

Onion bhajis on a bed of lettuce with a coriander and coconut dipThis is a quick and easy, tasty snack which can be served on its own, or as part of an Indian meal, or along with other tapas dishes. I normally just make it without measuring anything but this time I tried to create a recipe. Give it a try as you’ll save heaps of money by making your own at home rather than buying from a supermarket or take away.

Ingredients for two servings

(the photos of the finished bhajis show one serving)

  • 2 medium sized onions, peeled, washed and thinly sliced
  • 4 oz (115 g) gram flour
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • water for mixing
  • oil for deep frying


The dry onion bhaji ingredients with some of the water addedPut the all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and add enough cold water to make a stiff batter. (I found it easiest to use a fork to do this and only added the water little by little. Remember, it’s supposed to be a stiff batter so don’t go slopping in too much water.)

A stiff gram flour paste for onion bhajis, ready for onions, garlic and coriander to be added



Onion bhaji mixture ready for fryingThen add in the onions, garlic and coriander. (I found it easier to switch to a wooden spoon for this task.)

A test onion bhaji is spooned into hot oil in a wokHeat the oil in a wok (if you don’t have a wok, use a frying pan or other suitable pan). Get the oil really hot before adding your bhaji mix. You can test it with a teaspoon of bhaji mix – this also gives you a chance to check your seasoning before frying up the whole batch.

Bhajis frying in hot oilNext drop tablespoon-sized dollops of the mixture into the hot oil.

Fry for a few minutes until they’re done.

Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

To serve

Bhajis on a plate with a small dish of coriander and coconut dipBhajis are often served with a green salad and a mint and yoghurt sauce.

I served mine on a bed of shredded cos lettuce topped with thinly sliced red onions, sprinkled with chilli powder, and with a generous squeeze of lime. I served a coriander and coconut dip to accompany them. Perhaps we can do some Not Delia dip recipes later.

7 Responses to “How to make onion bhajis”

  1. Zentner

    Kay, I am really eager to cook this, but I’m afraid there is no opportunity of obtaining of garam masala here. Maybe you can advice any substitutes?

  2. Not Delia

    Hi Zentner

    Garam masala simply means warm spices and is a short cut of buying spices ready mixed rather than mixing your own.

    If you want to make your own garam masala take approximately equal quantities in weight of cinnamon, cloves and black pepper, perhaps with a little green cardamom. Grind them together to a powder, and store in an airtight container.

    It’s a kinda personal thing you make according to your own preferences.

    If you don’t want to make your own garam masala, you could try bunging in some of your favourite spices into the bhaji mix instead. Coriander powder and chilli powder come first to my mind.

    As with all my cooking, I see it as an art not a science so have a go and do it your way. There’s no need to follow instructions laid down by someone else. I never do!

    Please let me know how you get on!

  3. Zentner

    Thanks, Kay, this is a very helpful advice as I am fond of spices, and all those scary Indian names put me into dead end. As I am not so experienced in cooking, I prefer to follow exact recommendations by now, and we’ll see about later. All that is much easier to comprehend, and I will post some insight here, or write a letter to you if it will be quite long. πŸ™‚

  4. Not Delia

    If you can get onions and flour – even just wheat flour – you can make onion bhajis of a sort. Never, ever, be intimidated into following other people’s instructions.

    By the way, i don’t know why you keep calling me Kay as I’m Not Delia. You can call me ND if you like.

    Would you like me to post a really easy, no frills, onion bhaji recipe/method for you?

  5. Zentner

    No, no, no, I get everything just fine now. πŸ™‚ I’ve checked the shops, and they happen to have everything for the spice mix.
    And as for the name, I must have been thinking about someone else when addressing you. πŸ˜‰ Sorry for that!

  6. funguy

    Hi, im really interested to cook this recipe as most of the onion bhaji recipes can contain a lot of ingredients and can also be quite fiddly, any way iv got all my ingredients apart from gram flour! Can not get it at all in my area….can you recommend a substitute please…Thank you

  7. Not Delia

    Hi funguy

    Sorry for the delayed response. I missed your comment.

    Yes, as I said above, you can make these with wheat flour if necessary. Ainsley Harriott has a sage and onion bhajis recipe in his book “Gourmet Express”. Personally, I wouldn’t fancy sage in my bhajis but I’ve made this omitting the sage, and using Asian herbs and spices instead. Ainsley uses self raising flour.

    Serves 2

    50g SR flour
    1/4 tsp turmeric
    1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
    10 sage leaves, finely shredded
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 onion, sliced
    vegetable oil for frying

    The method is pretty much as I explain in my orginal blog posting.

    If self raising flour is hard to get or expensive where you live, then we have an answer for that too. πŸ™‚

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