Well, did you know, that classic onion bhajis are actually an accidentally vegan dish? You probably did, didn’t you? So I don’t have to add, it’s a vegan recipe. This is an easy recipe, maybe some people would even grumble seeing the simplicity of the recipe: oh but they aren’t REAL onion bhajis, it’s now how we make them! Certainly, they aren’t pretend to be anything else but a simplified version of them – but I don’t see problem with it. They are simple, easy, quick to make and in the end of the day, they are tasty- very tasty too – I just don’t have the time to cook it the “correct” way. So I came up with this easy to make version of them: Easy Onion Bhajis in Air Fryer.
Classic Onion Bhaji History
I find food history fascinating, so I learnt more about onion ‘bhajis’ or ‘pakoras’ – so I will share it with you, hope you find it just as interesting.
So, firstly, this Indian snack should be made with chickpea flower (or gram flour) as per tradition and served with mango chutney. Often a combination of a number of spices make the bhajis: chilli and turmeric which I used, but also ground coriander, ground cumin or even tikka massala paste. Eggs are also used – but not always. Most importantly, they should be fried in oil – but I ditched that too, to make it healthier.
They have been around for thousands of years in South Asia, originated from Karnataka and they were served at tea time and early evening. It quickly became popular as the main ingredients of onions and chickpea flour are cheap and common ingredients and so the street food vendors started to sell them too and all ethnicities in India make this dish with little variations.
My Vegan Onion Bhajis Made in Air Fryer
Deep fried food can be very delicious – we can all agree with that, I think. However, opting for an air fryer to prepare them will offer a healthier version of the dish. I use my air fryer more and more for this reason and try to avoid deep frying as much as I can. The result is just as yummy!
Easy Onion Bhajis in Air Fryer
- 2 large onions thinly sliced
- 150 g flour
- 1/2 green chilli deseeded and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/3 tsp lazy chilli or chilli flakes
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3-4 spring onions thinly sliced (optional)
- 1/2 cucumber chopped
- 2 handfuls fresh mint finely chopped
- 150ml greek or vegan greek yogurt
- 1/2 fresh lemon juiced and zested (optional)
- good pinch salt
Soak the sliced onion in cold water for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the batter: mix the dry ingredients (sifting the flour in will make the batter smoother).
Add about 100ml cold water slowly, mixing he batter continuously with a whisker, so everything is evenly distributed. If it's too stiff, add some more water. If it's too watery, add some more flour and teeny bit more salt.
Preheat your air fryer to 175C.
Fry them for 10 -15 minutes on 175C then turn the heat up to for the last 5 minutes or so to 200C so they get a bit crispy on the outside.
Prepare the raita: peel and chop the cucumber to small pieces, finely chop the fresh mint and mix with the yogurt and add the lemon juice and zest.
Serve the onion bhajis immediately. Enjoy!