Crispy Onion Bhaji (also known as Onion Pakora or Kanda Bhaji) is a delicious Indian snack made by deep-frying finely sliced onions dipped in lightly spiced gram flour batter.
They are extremely addictive, vegan, gluten-free, and ready in 30 minutes!
These crispy and spicy onion fritters are perfect to serve with your favorite Indian curries such as Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani, Butternut Squash, and Chickpea Curry, Tandoori Chicken, or Dal Palak (Spinach Dal) as a side dish.
Alternatively, you can have them as a perfect snack dipped in cooling Onion Raita or spicy ketchup.
This delicious Onion Bhaji (a.k.a Onion Pakora) recipe comes together with a handful of pantry ingredients and tastes way better than the shop-bought ones.
These ridiculously good Homemade Indian snacks are crispy, filled with spices, and so easy to make.
What are Onion Bhajis?
Onion Bhajis are Indian-style crispy fritters made with thinly sliced onions tossed in a besan flour batter made with fragrant spices, chili, and cilantro, then deep-fried until golden brown and crispy.
Also known as Onion Pakora/ Pakoda or Kanda Bhaji, these vegan Indian fried onions are traditionally served as an appetizer or snack.
The most popular accompaniments are chutneys, Indian tea, or some cooling raita.
Why This Recipe Works?
- It is very easy to make these onion pakodas with a few pantry ingredients you might have in hand.
- These delicious Indian crispy onion fritters are vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
- Same as my other delicious fritter recipe Mucver (Courgette Fritters), they are the perfect snacks for cold/rainy days to have with a cup of tea or coffee,
- You can store the leftovers for up to five days refrigerated.
What is Gram Flour?
Gram flour, also known as chickpea flour or besan, is a flour made from ground chickpeas.
It is a staple ingredient in Indian, Pakistani, and many other South Asian cuisines.
Gram flour has a distinctive nutty flavor and a slightly coarse texture.
It is commonly used as a thickener in curries, as a binding agent in fritters and pakoras, and as a base for batter in various dishes.
Gram flour is gluten-free and high in protein, making it a popular alternative to wheat flour for those with gluten sensitivities or following a gluten-free diet.
Ingredients You'll Need
Please scroll down to the recipe card below for the full ingredients list with measurements, complete recipe method, recipe notes, and nutritional information.
- Onions - Traditionally big red onions are used for the onion bhaji recipe but I prefer pink, yellow, or white as they have a milder flavor. Thinly slice them with a mandolin, a food processor, or a sharp knife.
- Gram (besan/chickpea) flour - This gluten-free flour gives the Onion Bhaji (Onion Pakora) a mild, nutty taste and a beautiful crunch. Depending on the brand of flour, you might need to adjust the amount of water stated in the recipe to get a perfect consistency for the batter.
- Spices - A little salt, fennel seeds, and turmeric powder are all you need as far as dried spices go. Feel free to spruce up the batter with additional herbs and spices such as ground cumin, ground coriander, garam masala, curry powder, curry leaves, red chili powder, and garlic powder.
- Fresh coriander leaves (Cilantro) – They add a nice herbal freshness to the pakoras; you will smell its delicious fragrance while making the pakora batter.
- Bicarbonate of soda - It makes the batter light and helps the bhajis crisp up. You can substitute it with baking powder.
How to Make Crispy Onion Bhaji (Pakora)?
This recipe for Onion Bhaji is very easy to make and doesn't require much of your time.
However, you need to follow a few simple steps to achieve the best results:
Thinly Slice the Onions
The most important thing to get right is to slice the onions finely.
Or they will stay raw and won't crisp up by the time the batter is cooked.
You can use a sharp knife, a, or a food processor to slice the onions.
Prepare the Batter
After slicing the onions, prepare the batter mixture for the onion bhaji.
In a bowl, put gram flour, bicarbonate of soda, turmeric, fennel seeds, salt, and water.
Add cold water slowly until it has a dropping consistency similar to heavy cream/double cream.
Add chopped coriander, chili, and sliced onions, and mix well with a spoon until the batter covers the onions.
Fill a deep pan or a wok with vegetable oil to a depth of 5-6 cm and heat the oil to 180° C (356° F).
Check the temperature of the oil by dropping in a small bit of the mixture. It should sizzle and float when it's hot enough.
Into the hot oil, drop a small portion of the mixture with a spoon, and shape them into patties.
Don't overcrowd the pan as the pakoras will end up greasy.
Fry until both sides are golden brown and crispy.
Transfer them to a cooling rack placed over a baking pan.
Serve these crispy Indian fritters warm with raita, mint chutney, or mango chutney.
Top Tips From the Chef
- For crispy and evenly cooked bhajis, make sure to thinly slice the onions. This helps them cook through and ensures a nice texture.
- The batter should have a thick consistency, similar to pancake batter. If it is too thick, add a little water to thin it out. If it is too thin, add a bit more gram flour.
- The ideal frying temperature for crispy bhajis is between 177°C – 185°C (350°F-365°F). If the oil is too hot, the pakoras will get burned too quickly, and if the oil is not hot enough, they will absorb the oil and the fritters will get soggy.
- Check the oil temperature with a cooking thermometer for the most accurate temperature read. If you don't have a cooking thermometer, you can check the temperature of the oil by dropping in a small bit of the mixture. It should sizzle and float when it's hot enough.
- Raita is a popular accompaniment to onion bhajis. Its cool and creamy nature balances the spiciness of the bhajis.
- You can serve Onion bhajis alongside various Indian curries. For a classic combination, serve them with a rich and creamy tomato-based curry like Chicken Handi or Dal Palak (Spinach Dal). The crispy texture of the bhajis complements the smoothness of the curry.
- For a lighter option, serve onion bhajis with Indian Chickpea Salad (Chana Salad) to provide a refreshing contrast to the crispy and flavorful bhajis.
Storage and Reheating Instructions
You can store the leftover pakoras refrigerated for up to five days in an airtight container.
They’re amazing cold the next day in lunch boxes or picnic baskets.
Alternatively, you can freeze them and keep them for up to five months.
Simply place them in a zip-lock freezer bag or an airtight container.
To reheat the leftover Bhajis, simply place them in your air fryer for 4 to 5 minutes, or in the preheated oven for around 7 to 8 minutes at 180 °C.
Alternatively, you can use a microwave to reheat the bhajis but they won’t be crispy this way.
There is only 78 kcal in one piece of onion pakoda when you make them with exactly the same ingredients as stated in the recipe card below.
While traditionally bhajis are deep-fried for that crispy texture, you can try baking them as a healthier alternative.
Preheat the oven to 190° C (374° F), lightly grease a baking sheet, place the bhajis, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until they turn golden brown and crispy.
Yes, you can use any variety of onions for making bhajis.
However, sweet onions like Vidalia or red onions are commonly used for their mild and slightly sweet flavor.
For more delicious recipes around the world why not try:
I hope you enjoy the process of making these crispy Onion Bhajis as much as you enjoy eating them! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet olsun!
Crispy Onion Bhaji (Pakora) Recipe
- 3 medium onions (300 g) (finely sliced)
- 150 g gram flour
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ⅔ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ⅔ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ⅔ teaspoon salt
- 1 chili (finely chopped)
- ⅓ cup chopped coriander
- 170 ml water
- oil for frying (ground nut or vegetable oil)
- Prepare the batter with gram flour, bicarbonate of soda, turmeric, fennel seeds, salt, and water. The batter should have a dropping consistency similar to heavy cream/double cream.
- Add chopped coriander, chili, and thinly sliced onions, and mix well with a spoon until the batter covers the onions.
- Fill a deep pan or a wok with oil to a depth of 5-6 cm and heat the oil to 180° C (356°F). Check the temperature of the oil by dropping in a small bit of the mixture. It should sizzle and float when it's hot enough.
- Into the hot oil, drop a small portion of the mixture with a spoon, and shape them into patties.
- Fry until both sides are golden brown and crispy.
- Transfer them to a cooling rack placed over a baking pan. Serve warm with raita or any other favourite dip of yours.
- The temperature of the oil you fry your bhajis in is very important. If the oil is too hot, the pakoras will get burned too quickly, and if the oil is not hot enough, they will absorb the oil and the fritters will get soggy.
- There is only 78 kcal in one piece of onion pakoda when you make them with exactly the same ingredients as stated in the recipe card.
- The most important thing to get right is to slice the onions finely. Or they will stay raw and won't crisp up by the time the batter is cooked.
- These delicious Indian onion fritters are vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
- You can store the leftovers for up to five days refrigerated.
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