Fritters are my go-to snacks when the craving to have something deep-fried hits me hard. I don’t know what is it about deep-fried snack that makes them so comforting and satisfying. Research studies suggest that it’s linked to the evolution and that humans have always been in search of food that’s rich in carbs and fat. Sounds right to me! So fritters by definition are basically a piece of vegetable or meat that is coated in a thick batter and deep-fried until crispy. Onion fritters/ Kanda Bhaji / Onion Bhaji recipe has many admirers and once you try them, you will know why.
Onion fritters are known as kanda bhaji(कांदा भजी) or kandyachi bhaji(कांद्याची भजी)in Marathi. In Hindi, they call it pyaaz ke pakode(प्याज़ के पकोड़े). The modern-day Indian would call these fritters onion pakoda (अनियन पकोड़ा) or onion bhaji (अनियन भजी) . Pakora in English is called fritters. Surprisingly, these onion pakodas have another name in Marathi that will leave the vegetarians out there completely befuddled. Khekda bhaji (खेकड़ाभजी), which literally means crab pakodas.
Imagine you being a strict herbivore enter a restaurant that screams ‘Pure Veg’ on the sign board. And a guy at the table next to yours orders Khekda Bhaji! And now it seems that these folks also offer seafood! You call your server demand to know if they are double-dealing. Then they tell you it’s just onion pakoda. It’s called khekda bhaji because its shape resembles that of a crab. You find yourself smiling trying to hide your embarrassment and end up ordering some khekda bhaji yourself. And then you fall head over heels in love with the delicious onion fritters recipe!
Fritters are one of the best foods that the Indian cuisine has to offer. During my year-long rendezvous with Mumbai, I got to try by far some of the best fritters. The snack places sell a fritters platter that has an assortment of fritters – Onion fritters, potato fritters, spinach fritters, chili fritters. And I cannot pick a favorite. All the varieties of fritters were delicious. They were often served with pav, dry garlic-groundnut chutney, and fried green chilies. I would sometimes have just fritters for dinner; they were that good.
The Indian fritters usually have no egg in their batter. I have shared a couple of fritters recipe that you would love if you absolutely adore fritters – Green Chili Fritters & Lentil Fritters. The green chili ones are the Indian pakora in the truest sense. They are hot! Like make-your-eyes -water hot. The lentil fritters are savory, fragrant, crispy, and mellower. The lentil fritters recipe is actually pretty healthy. It has got lots of protein and very little fat because they don’t absorb much oil.
How to Fry the Onion Bhaji?
When it comes to making perfect onion bhaji recipe, it’s all about the technique. You just don’t drop blobs of onion in that hot oil. You spread the batter moving it with your fingers as you go. It helps the onion slices to get a tad bit separated from each other and that’s how you achieve the perfect shape and texture. Frying the fritters on low heat for longer once they are set lends them the characteristic crispiness. Also, the pakora batter should not have a lot of besan, but just enough to coat the onion slices.
How to Make Onion Fritters
- Onions – 4 medium, uniformly sliced
- Besan/Chickpea flour – ½ cup
- Cornstarch – 1 tbsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Whole coriander seeds – 1 tsp
- Fennel seeds/saunf – 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
- Carom seeds/Ajwain – ½ tsp
- Red chili powder (Byadgi mirchi) – ½ tsp
- Green chilies – 3, finely chopped
- Roasted sesame seeds – for garnish
- Sunflower oil – for deep-frying
- Slice the onions uniformly, not too thin or too thick. Transfer the onions to a big bowl and salt to them. Mix well.
- Cover the onions and let them rest for 2 hours so that they release their water.
- After 2 hours, onions would have released their moisture. In the meanwhile, heat sufficient oil in a skillet. Add the whole coriander seeds, fennel seeds/saunf, cumin seeds, carom seeds/ajwain, and red chili powder to the onions. Mix well.
- Next, add the besan/chickpea flour and cornstarch. Mix well.
- When the oil is hot, take a small portion of the onion batter. Carefully spread the pakora mix in hot oil using your fingers and turn the heat between low to medium.
- When the underside of the bhaji/fritters sets, flip them and continue to fry till they are crisp and light brown.
- Remove them onto a plate lined with paper towel.
- Finally, serve onion fritters/onion bhaji hot with fried green chilies, garlic-groundnut chutney, and ketchup.
Onion Bhaji Recipe with Step by Step Pictures Below
Prepare the ingredients for the onion fritters recipe. Lay out the besan/chickpea flour, cornstarch, and spices.
Slice 4 medium onions uniformly, not too thin or too thick. Transfer the onions to a big bowl and 1 tsp salt to them. Mix well.
Cover the onions and let them rest for 2 hours so that they release their water.
After 2 hours, onions would have released their moisture. In the meanwhile, heat sufficient oil in a skillet. Add 1 tsp whole coriander seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds/saunf, ½ tsp cumin seeds, ½ tsp carom seeds/ajwain, and ½ tsp red chili powder to the onions.
Next, add ½ cup besan/chickpea flour and 1 tbsp cornstarch.
When the oil is hot, take a small portion of the onion batter. Carefully spread the pakora mix in hot oil using your fingers and turn the heat between low to medium.
When the underside of the bhaji/fritters sets, flip them and continue to fry till they are crisp and light brown.
Remove them onto a plate lined with paper towel.
Finally, serve the onion fritters/onion bhaji hot with fried green chilies, garlic-groundnut chutney, and ketchup.