Onion Bhaji

onion bhaji

We are all brought up with different ‘staples’ in our diet.  Indian food was never a staple for us, more a take away treat, like many children of my era.  However, as a nation, we seem to have completely embraced the delicately spiced nuances which are associated with asian cooking, although I would suggest that, in the main, it is still experienced via the restaurant or take away.  And I include myself in that category.

However, I am trying to conquer the art of cooking different cultural staples, if nothing else, just to see how easy it is.  Enter the Onion Bhaji, or as son #1 used to call them, Onions and Bhajis.

We are extremely lucky where we live, to be surrounded by different cultural food grocers, so finding all the ingredients is very, very easy.  I just pop down the local shop.  However, I am acutely aware that not everyone is as lucky, so, before I go any further I’d like to remind you all that recipes for savoury foods are just a guideline, nothing more.  If you don’t have it in, and cannot easily get hold of it, either miss it out or replace it with something you do have that is complimentary.  This may take a little research but trust me, it’s really not worth getting all hot and bothered because you can’t find fresh curry leaves …

Right.  So the ingredients I used are as follows:
60g gram flour, 30g rice flour – I used ground rice here as I didn’t have any rice flour and ground rice is just a more coarse version of the flour.  You could, should you so desire, just use gram flour in which case it is 90g (I know, mathematical genius…)
Juice of ¼ lemon, 1 tbsp ghee or butter, melted, or, in my case, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.  It’s personal preference here, but I also use vegetable oil to cook the Bhajis in so it’s a win win for me.

½ tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp chilli powder, 2 green chillies – the thin ones are better as they have more heat – 2 tsp fresh ginger and two cloves of garlic chopped together and 2 onions halved and sliced.  Small pinch of salt.

Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and add the oil, lemon juice and just enough cold water to make it into the consistency of Yorkshire Pudding batter.  Add all the spices, mix, then add the chopped onion.

At this juncture you may wish to add some fresh, chopped coriander, curry leaves or both.

Bring a deep pan of vegetable oil to a heat of 180C – now then, here’s a thing.  I had to look this up because I don’t have a deep fat fryer or a thermometer to test the heat.  I go by throwing a small piece of bread into the oil.  If it fizzles up and becomes a crouton in seconds, I know the oil is hot enough.  Not very scientific I know, but it’s the best I’ve got to give at present.

Anyway, when the oil has reached the desired temperature, take a dessertspoon of the mixture and drop it into the oil.  It should fizzle and rise to the top immediately, if it doesn’t, your oil is not hot enough, so whip it out and wait.  Keep turning the Bhaji until all areas are golden brown, then fish out and pop on a sheet of kitchen roll so that any excess fat is soaked up.

In my pan I use for frying, I can fit about 3 Bhajis in, so, prior to cooking, I put my oven on to keep already cooked Bhajis warm, whilst cooking the others.  This mixture makes between 6 and 8, so they won’t be in there long.

I then prepare a yoghurt dip by adding 1 – 2 teaspoons of mint sauce to 1 – 2 tablespoon of natural yoghurt.  Lush.

The first batch I made were not as delicious as I thought so I readjusted the balance of spices to the above recipe.  You, too, may have to readjust until you find the right spice level for your personal preference.  The other little tip I have, is, make sure that the batter is not too runny.  You can always add a little more water if it feels too stiff but it’s an absolute nightmare to readjust quantities if it’s runny.

Onion Bhajis.  Simple as.







Huevos Rancheros

huevos racheros

This, my friends, is my new breakfast obsession.  Simple, refreshing, apparently very good for a hangover, and an absolute doddle to make.


Before anyone starts jumping on my case blithering on about how this is not a traditional recipe and really you should be using blah blah blah cheese etc. etc. etc. as they have done with Jamie Oliver, may I remind you of two things.

Thing 1.  All the recipes I share are an eclectic mix of stuff I have read and snippets of useful bits and bobs I have managed to retain from watching others, embellished with a slight dash of my own je ne sais quoi.

Thing 2.  I am not a professional Essex Boy and therefore should be exempt from all slatings.

Right, moving on.

So, I hear you ask, what is in this wunderkind of breakfast what not?

Well, it is the simplest of things.  Collect a couple of red peppers, a few green chilli, a large bunch of fresh tomatoes and blend together in a food processor.  If you no longer have one of these because you’ve given yours to your favourite eldest daughter-in-law, chop all ingredients finely together using a large knife or mezzaluna.

Put a splash of olive oil into a frying pan and warm through before adding the tomato mix and cooking slowly.  Add a little salt.

Meanwhile, put another pan over the heat and place a corn tortilla in it. Warm through one side and turn over.  Place on a plate.

When the tomato mix is cooked, crack open an egg and put on top.  Cook.  You may need to just cover the pan for a wee while so that the tomato base doesn’t burn, although to be honest there should be enough liquid in it from the fresh fruit to stay moist, providing you haven’t used a tiny bit of mixture and a ginormous pan.  Don’t laugh, I’ve done it myself…

Once the egg is almost cooked, grate some of your favourite hard cheese over the egg.  I use cheddar as we always have it in, but I’m sure it would work well with any type of hard cheese.  Allow it to melt slightly before placing the whole tomato, egg and cheese affair on top of the toasted tortilla.

Gloriously more-ish.

Just a word of advice.  I have been using the thin green chilli as I like to feel the heat on my tongue without it leaving a slightly sizzling numbness.  You will need to experiment with this but I suggest you start with a ratio of two chilli to four or five tomatoes and one red pepper.

If you are cooking for more than one, just increase the amounts of fruits etc. proportionately but still cook within the same pan as the eggs just sit on top of the tomato base.  If you are cooking for one, make sure you have all the ingredients in to remake it.