Onion Bhajis

Onion Bhaji Recipe

Onion bhajis are the perfect accompaniment for many an Indian dish – meat-based curries benefit particularly from their presence as they provide a tasty, vegetarian contrast. Most people insist on purchasing sub-par bhajis from their local supermarket – I know not why – despite the fact they are exceedingly simple and quick to make – as the recipe below attests. Let’s hope that the almost seductive, golden-brown hue of these unassuming, spicy Indian snacks weans the general public off their mass-produced supply and onto something a little more choice. Excuses shall be ignored.

How to make onion bhajis

So perfectly brisk are these bhajis that they have developed the curious habit of leaping from my (gorgeous) skillet with peculiar regularity – perhaps once or twice per week. Indeed, not only are they ideal for simultaneous consumption with all manner of Indian feast, they have a tendency to work jolly well as a meal all of their own.

Every facet of this frugal onion bhaji recipe is bulging with flavour – from the gram flour to the spices – so much so that one could even spend lunch alone with a few and emerge satisfied. However, serve them with yoghurt/raita and pita and you’ll soon be leaping from your bath ejaculating (no sniggering) eurekas here, there and, perhaps, everywhere.

Indian food is one of those cuisines that has a million and one side-dishes that could accompany each curry. Similar to these bhajis, my recipe for Spinach Pakoras make for a flavoursome and crispy accompaniment.

Onion Bhajis

Makes 10-12


• 1 white onion, finely sliced

• 1 red onion, finely sliced

• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

• 1 thumb of ginger, finely chopped

• ½ tsp turmeric

• ½ tsp garam masala

• 1 tsp chilli flakes

• 1 tsp ground cumin

• 100g gram flour

• 60-80ml water

• Sunflower or vegetable oil

• Salt


1. Slice the onions and put them in a large mixing bowl, separate each individual slice. Add all of the spices, garlic, ginger, gram flour and salt and mix it around a little. Add 1 tbsp of sunflower oil and 60ml of water. Mix it all together and add a little more water if the mixture isn’t loose enough – the batter should adequately coat the onion.

Recipe for Onion Bhajis

2. Heat 4-5 tbsp of sunflower oil in a thick based pan over a medium heat. Once at temperature, take a little of the mixture and place it into the oil. Fry until golden brown on each side, allow enough time to cook through. Soak up any excess oil with kitchen roll.

Onion Bhaji Recipe

Cost: Everything about onion bhajis is frugal; onions and gram flour are exceedingly cheap. Indeed, the entire batch, enough for 3-4 people, should set one back no more than 80p!


68 comments on “Onion Bhajis

  1. pc74
    January 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    Reblogged this on traktorista74 and commented:
    Cool dish! And so easy to make

  2. cookinginsens
    January 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Those look good. I’ve had mixed bhaji curries and omelettes but never these onion snacks. Good idea.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 27, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks, Rosemary… I have no idea what those are…

  3. Anne Bonney
    January 22, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    This recipe is definitely a must-try!

  4. baconbiscuit212
    January 22, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Looks fantastic, Nick! And nice visual imagine of onion bhajis leaping biweekly out of your skillet :-)

  5. Ang
    January 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    These look so much crispier and full of flavour than the store bought ones. Will definitely try next time I make a curry.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Oh they are, store bought ones are often dry too.

  6. Tonette Joyce
    January 22, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    These look so very delicious!

  7. theglobalgarnishgeek
    January 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    These look better than most of the versions I’ve had in UK Indian restaurants. Another one of yours on my recipes-to-try list….

  8. Kier
    January 22, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    I have never heard of these – but they look quite tasty! I want them to hop out of my skillet 1-2 times per week too!

  9. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial
    January 22, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Snap! I have a bhaji recipe scheduled to go up as well. Yours look delicious, Nick! :)

  10. cecilia
    January 22, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    just stunning and perfect for an onion lover like me! c

  11. narf77
    January 22, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Again you triumph monseigneur Frugal (or should that be Frugal Saab to keep it in context with today’s post? 😉 ). The very first ethnic wading pool that a new vegetarian/vegan usually tentitively dips their toes into tends to be Indian thanks to the plethora of veggie rich recipes that this delicious spicy cuisine delivers and the humble bhaji is just such a delicacy. Homemade it can be downright luxurious. You can make it with just about any vegetable folks…onion is just one of the tastiest varieties and there is something scrumptious about those long thin strips of onion taking on other forms and becoming crispy batter covered deliciousness and when dipped into something cooling it’s the fixin’s for all manner of occasions and can be dressed up accordingly. Cheers for another wonderful post and one that is completely translatable into our hot summer conditions…frypan cooking is easy peasy when the heat of the day is still ruminating about in the kitchen long after the sun goes down (although our sun is going down at 9.30pm at the moment…a little late for an evening meal methinks! 😉 ). A plate full of these little beauties with a gorgeous fresh salad from the garden… Heaven! :)

    • frugalfeeding
      January 27, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      Haha – thanks! I have tried lots of ethnic food, but find myself coming frequently back to Indian! I shall be doing more varieties, never you fear! Your life sounds heavenly. I want the sun to go down after 5pm please!

  12. irena078
    January 22, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    I wouldn’t mind to have these for dinner tonight…

  13. Veronica Sheppard
    January 22, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I want to make these for dinner tonight! Would it be ok if I used chickpea flour instead of gram flour? Looks so delicious

  14. juliaspantry
    January 22, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    With a salad and some homemade mango chutney these make a meal in themselves.

    • frugalfeeding
      January 27, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      Absolutely – I hope you’ve seen my recipe for mango chutney!

  15. Cathy
    January 23, 2013 at 7:14 am

    Well, I never thought to make my own, assuming a deep-fat fryer was a requirement. And since I have never seen an onion bhaji in Germany, I shall have to try! Thanks! 😀

  16. foodnerd4life
    January 23, 2013 at 10:08 am

    These look really nice and crispy! Don’t like the ones that are a bit doughy in the middle but these look perfect!


  17. PolaM
    January 23, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    These fritters look amazing!

  18. katielovescooking
    January 24, 2013 at 3:46 am

    Yum! Must make some of these.

  19. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen
    January 24, 2013 at 6:15 am

    I’m certain I could get into the habit of making these at least once per week.. such wonderful treats!!

  20. Brad
    January 24, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Very nice!

  21. divaofdelicious
    January 24, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Gorgeous! I love that you use two kinds of onion.

  22. thelittleloaf
    January 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Ooh those look gorgeously crispy and greasy (in a good way) – I want to reach into the screen and pull one out!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      They were just that, Loaf! I’m afraid we haven’t developed that technology yet!

  23. PerfectKeg
    January 27, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    This is our go-to lunch when pretty well all we have in the house is, well, onions… But we’ve been casting around for the perfect recipe. We tried this one today – and it looks like this is it! Delicious w some home-made mango chutney and (fusion cuisine!) don-don noodles. Thanks!

    • frugalfeeding
      January 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      great! I love making them. Have you seen my mango chutney recipe? 😀

  24. Julie
    January 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    I got hooked on onion bhajis when I was studying in the UK, but only recently did I start to see them on the occasional menu in America. And since few Americans have any idea what they are, and therefore don’t order them, they’re usually not great. But making my own… good idea!

  25. Somer
    January 29, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    Wow. Another frugal food education. I love the look of these Nick, I could see how one could quickly get addicted and want to make them all the time!

    • frugalfeeding
      February 4, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      They are really nice, Somer! You could make these, right?! You should.

      • Somer
        February 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm

        I will have to try them, they sound really lovely.

        • frugalfeeding
          February 4, 2013 at 8:24 pm

          Oh they are, they are!

          • Somer
            February 4, 2013 at 8:29 pm

            I need more chickpea flour. I’ll put it on the grocery list. :)

          • frugalfeeding
            February 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm

            You must!

          • Somer
            February 4, 2013 at 8:34 pm


  26. Kimby | a little lunch
    February 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    If they’re able to leap out of your skillet, they ought to be able enough to leap out of mine. :) Crispy, tasty looking way to prepare onions — thanks!

  27. peaceloveandsmoothies
    February 17, 2013 at 1:32 am

    Those look great and easy to make.

  28. livingthepaleolife
    February 19, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Ohmygod… I have plans to try to make this paleo-friendly! They look amazing!

  29. I can cook anything
    June 22, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    Loving the bhaji recipe will be trying it tonight to go with my lamb vindaloo

  30. The Wanderlust Gene
    January 24, 2014 at 12:47 am

    In Sri Lanka Shriyarni sometimes made a delicious dipped cauliflower morsel to accompany our rice and curry. I’ve never been able to replicate it, but I think this batter would be terrific to dip the cauliflower into – the ginger and gram flower accentuating the sweetness of the cauli, just as it does the onion. I’ll give it a try and let you know. :)

  31. bristol plasterer
    June 8, 2015 at 9:30 am

    This sounds lovely and really tasty. Thank you for sharing this.


    • frugalfeeding
      June 11, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you – I hope you give them a shot. I make them regularly.

  32. john
    August 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Made these last night WOW

  33. Louise
    November 2, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    Hi, was wondering of you know how long they would keep for? In a container in the fridge.
    I’m trying to meal prep for night work and these would definitely be something that would make my nights that bit easier

    • frugalfeeding
      November 7, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      Sorry for the slow response – in the fridge they’d last 2-3 days. However, I’d warm them back up before eating, preferably with a sprinkling of lime juice or even water. Refrigerating tends to dry them out a bit.

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