Onion Bhaji (Plus slow cooked Chicken Curry)February 18, 2014
Anyone that knows me, knows I love Indian food. There's a pretty decent selection of my take on classic (Western versions of!) Indian recipes on the blog, including:
Creamy Chicken Curry
Marinated Paneer with Indian Style Chop Salad
Almond Stuffed Roti
As I've mentioned before, there isn't really a big emphasis on Indian food here in America. Theres more of a leaning toward Mexican or Chinese/Thai style Asian flavors. So when I need my curry fix it's homemade all the way!
I made a huge slow cooked chicken curry the other day and froze it in two person sized meal dishes. Makes it super simple to have something proper in the evening after work, when the last thing you feel like doing is cooking (or more to the point, washing up).
I pretty much followed the recipe for the Creamy Chicken Curry with a few exceptions:
-Use a large casserole dish with a lid
-I quadrupled the measures
-Keep the chicken breasts whole
-Add a two cups of chicken stock, a tin of coconut milk and a tin of chopped tomatoes after browning the meat and leave on a low heat to simmer for 3ish hours
-Add the cream and leave to simmer for another hour with the lid off.
Once it's lovely and creamy and thick, turn off the heat and portion up into freezable dishes.
Now to the bhaji.
Ingredients: (To make 8 bhaji, feeds 4 as a starter, 2 as a main... or two greedy people along with curry)
1 large sweet white onion
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 tbl all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper
Thinly slice the onion, I start by cutting it in half then slicing. This way it doesn't roll around and you don't chop off your fingers.
Place the onion in a bowl, separating all the layers so you end up with a nice tangle of thin onion crescents. Shake over all the spices, salt, pepper, flour and baking powder then crack in the egg and pour over the milk.
Mix with your hands, be sure to pop the yolk and get it well mixed into the batter soaked onion jumble. You can mix the egg and milk separately but i'm always a fan of minimizing washing up and as it's all getting well mixed anyway it may as well stay in one bowl.
Leave in the fridge for at least half an hour, this gives the spices some time to infuse into the onion and the batter and also the gluten in the flour to develop and create a stickier batter.
When you are ready to fry the bhaji, gently heat 2 inches of oil (corn, sunflower, vegetable) in a high sided frying pan. Drop a small piece of onion into the oil to check how hot it is, it should fizz and rise to the surface of the oil immediately, but should violently spit or crack- your oil should NEVER smoke. If it is this hot it could burst into flames which is never good. Always err on the side of caution and gentle heat the oil, increasing the temp as you need to.
When dropping the bhaji mixture into the oil imagine it is spaghetti and you are serving it on to a plate, I use my hands to do it but if you feel happier near the oil using a utensil use a couple of forks. Twist the strands of onion around each other then gentle place in the oil, don't throw it or drop it- a) because your bhajis will unravel and b) because it is hot oil and it will hurt.
I am pretty impatient but I have learnt to leave things alone while they fry, prodding and poking it only leads to it falling apart. Let the bhajis fry for a good 5 minutes on one side before turning them. This way the batter will have set and will hold the onion together as you turn it.
Flip the bhajis to cook the other side then when they are golden brown all over, place them on kitchen paper to drain. You can either serve them straight away or if you want to finish them off in the oven just under fry them ever so slightly (so they are pale gold). Finishing them in the oven won't give as crisp a finish but it will allow more oil to drain away, I usually do this as i'll have a couple more dishes on the go (an Indian meal isn't an Indian meal without at least 5 things happening on the plate) and popping them in the oven gives me time to sort everything else out without staring into a pan of hot oil.
Serve up with minted yoghurt and mango chutney.