bhaji aldo

Photo by Aldo Cauchi Savona from Chlikk

Onion Bhajis are a great starter for an Indian feast or themed night. They are ideally served with some yoghurt or cream cheese-based dipping sauce.

You will need:

– 3 onions, cut into 5mm slices and layers separated

– 2 eggs

– 120g flour (the original recipe calls for plain flour, I used barley flour. The more authentic type to use is gram flour.)

– 1 tspn ground coriander

– 1 tspn cumin seeds

– vegetable oil if frying, spray oil if baking or airfrying

The ingredient list didn’t include any salt but the end result was slightly bland in my opinion. My suggestion is to up the spices and/or add a pinch of salt.

To make:

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the separated onion rings and mix well. Add the flour and spices and mix until uniformly covering the onion rings.

2014-01-08 17.32.57Form small mounds with a tablespoon, leaving space in between. I tried two methods of cooking these – in batches of 4 for 10 minutes in the airfryer at 180 degrees or on a baking tray covered in foil/baking sheet for about 20 minutes in a 200 degree fan oven. Both resulted in puffed up golden onion bhajis. It’s preferable to use a spray oil in both the airfryer and the oven as they tend to stick to a surface whilst cooking.

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 I served these with a cream cheese, harissa and fresh coriander dipping sauce.

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Tzatziki is a traditional Greek dip or sauce made with yoghurt and cucumber which I have found to be very versatile. It can be used on its own as an appetizer for example as a dip with pita bread, or else with crudites. It can also be used as a sauce with meat or as an accompaniment to other dishes.

I find that it is also useful to serve with curries to cool these down when serving a medium to hot or very hot curry to people with different tolerances to spicy heat.

In countries such as Cyprus, Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia  and nearby regions the recipe will change slightly, with differences found in consistency, amount of garlic, herbs or nuts added.

In India, Pakistan and Bangladesh this condiment is found as Raita and in this case other vegetables, fruit and pulses are often added.

You will need:

– 1 medium cucumber

– juice of one small lemon

– 250 g Greek yoghurt

– 1 diced garlic clove

– a handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped

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– Peel the cucumber, remove the seeds with a teaspoon and dice

– Place the cucumber pieces in a colander on top of a large bowl

– Cover in rock salt and leave to drain for about one hour or until water stops dripping out

– Rinse the cucumber under running water and squeeze excess water out with your hands

– Transfer to a bowl and add the other ingredients, mixing thoroughly

Serving suggestion:

2013-06-17 20.58.04As a dipping sauce with Thai spiced prawns

You will need:

– Rice. I used Basmati – about 1/2 a cup for each portion. I’m sure the recipe will work out fine with quinoa for lower carb intake. Or with couscous if that’s what rocks your boat. The following measurements work for 2-4 portions, depending on how intense you want your Moroccan to be 🙂

– One sweet onion (white) chopped very finely

– 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

– 1/4 teaspoon cumin

– 1/4 teaspoon hot chili

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 2-3 tablespoons pine nuts

– 2-3 tablespoons sunflower seeds

– 1/2 a cup blueberries

This dish takes 4 steps:

1) Cook the rice in boiling water for 15 minutes

2) If the blueberries are dried place them in a shallow pan and cover in water, bring to the boil and immediately remove from heat. Let them soak for 10 minutes and then blot dry on kitchen paper.

3) Fry the onion, chili, turmeric, cumin, pine nuts and sunflower seeds in olive oil. Stir continuously until the onion is translucent. Then remove from the heat.

4) Mix all your ingredients together after they have cooled down slightly.

This makes a great side for barbecued or grilled meat. Serve cold.