Onion Bhajis (Indian Pakora Recipe)

Onion Bhajis (Indian Pakora Recipe) Recipe

Piaz pakora are the Indian version of onion rings. According to Wikipedia, when onions, on their own, are prepared in [pakora batter], they are known as onion bhujia or bhaji. Regardless of how you refer to them, the onions are cut into thin wedges and dipped in a pakora batter, which is a mixture of besan (chickpea) flour and spices. A quick turn in the fryer and they are ready to serve.

Lulu's aunts, Sherin and Sara, stayed with us this weekend and made these wonderful fritters. They're typically served as a snack, but they would make wonderful appetizers as well. Fried food is always a crowd pleaser!


Yields: 30 appetizers

½ cup chickpea flour, sifted
½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 curry leaf (optional), finely chopped
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 yellow onions
1 quart peanut oil (or regular vegetable oil), for deep frying, as needed
lime wedges, for garnish


Peel and cut the onions into thin wedges. Create little mounds of onions.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the chickpea flour, baking powder, chili, turmeric powder, cumin seeds, curry leaf (if used) and salt. Add a little cold water to the dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated. It should have the consistency of pancake batter.

Layer a cooling rack, previously lined with paper towels if you like, on top of a baking sheet (for easy clean-up of the drained oil).

In a large Dutch oven (or any regular deep-fryer), heat the oil for about 2 minutes over high heat. There should be at least a 2-inch-high level of oil. Wait until the oil is slightly bubbly (not too hot).

Test the oil by dropping a teaspoon of pakora batter into the hot oil. It should float but not swell.

Using a fork, pick up one mound of onions. Dip the onions into the pakora batter to coat completely. Allow the excess batter to drip back into the pakora batter bowl. Drizzle an additional teaspoon of pakora batter over the onions to ensure that it adheres well to the onion wedge and place in the hot oil. Repeat the same procedure for the rest of the fritters.

Place the pakora one at a time in the hot oil; cook up to 5 pakora per batch.

Fry in batches. Make sure the onion fritters don't touch each other. Lower the heat to medium. Deep fry for 2-3 minutes per batch. The fritters will start to pop and increase in volume. Use a splatter screen to prevent the oil from jumping everywhere . Flip each piece using a spider skimmer and cook for about a minute more until golden on both sides.

Delicately lift each fritter, draining as much oil as possible and transfer them to the cooling rack. Continue with the rest of the onions.

Serve immediately with various chutneys on the side such as mint chutney or tamarind chutney.

Bon appétit!


Add a small amount of turmeric powder so as not to alter the flavor of the batter. It's used as a natural food coloring to make the onion fritters look more vibrant.

Chickpea flour is common in savory dishes in Indian cuisine and is the main ingredient in paratha, a flat Indian bread.

For optimum results when heating the frying oil, the thermometer should register 345°F to 360°F. Heat the oil over medium to high heat (for a nice golden color).

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on June 28, 2010.


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