For me, the most enjoyable aspect of Indian food – something we indulge in twice weekly – is the sheer variety it presents. You could go for weeks on end and never eat the same dish twice. A recipe for Onion and Carrot Bhajis may not be what you were expecting, but it makes a tempting change from the usual accompaniments.
You may not even expect these to be far removed from the more common onion bhaji, but carrots behave differently. Carrots are able to retain far more moisture, yielding a succulent, almost juicy, bhaji. And the vegetables soak up the added lime juice, endowing the bhajis with an extra dimension of flavour.
From your very first bite you realise that the addition of both lime juice and zest is something special. The moment that tangy sensation registers is one that’s difficult to forget; you’ll be forever tempted by the allure of citrus.
When deep frying, remember that there’s no need to dispense with the oil after one go. Let it cool before decanting it back into its bottle of origin. You’ll have to keep replenishing it as you go along, but there’s no reason why a litre of sunflower oil can’t last you a long time. Just don’t let it get too dirty.
Onion and Carrot Bhajis
- 4 carrots, coarsely grated
- 1 red onion, finely sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 tbsp gram flour
- 2 limes, juice and zest
- 1 litre sunflower oil, for frying
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the carrots, onion and garlic. Gently toast the cumin and coriander seeds before grinding.
- Tip all the spices and salt into the bowl and coat the vegetables thoroughly. Do the same with the gram flour and lime zest.
- Heat the oil in a large wok or deep fat fryer; it should be around 190C. Add the lime juice and enough water to the carrot mixture to create a light, but not watery, batter.
- Each bhaji should be roughly equivalent to 1 dessert spoon; fry 3-4 at a time, allowing the oil to come back to temperature between batches.
- Give time to drain in a kitchen roll lined bowl before serving. You can keep them warm in a gently heated oven.
Cost: The addition of two limes to this recipe increases its cost a little and certainly isn’t necessary. But given the amount of flavour they add to the mix, I’d say it’s a worthy expense.
Besides, I don’t think anyone would argue that £1.20 for 10-12 onion and carrot bhajis – plus the cost of frying, which is hard to calculate – is very much to pay at all.