The British love their onion bhajis. This I know because of the number of times that I’ve made bhajis, on specific request, as a starter every time we’ve had friends around for a home-cooked “authentic Indian” (meal, naturally).
This time I decided to vary it just a bit with fresh methi and peanuts, hoping that they wouldn’t be rejected as “not proper bhajis” - and what do you know, the pakodas were such a big hit that the consensus was that I should “always do it this way”. Huh. So much for onion bhaji love – a love about as lasting and sincere as the tears raised by the fumes from the onions! *grin*
I have to say that the bhajis really were exceptional, though – the slight bitterness of the methi, the crunch of the peanuts and the sweetness from the onions… I guess I should not have been surprised that loyalties were transferred from the plain onion bhajis to these!
Recipe for: Methi peanut pakoda
2 cups fresh methi leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
1 cup raw red-skinned peanuts
2 medium onions, sliced thin
2 medium potatoes, sliced into thin sticks
3 tbsp rice flour
1 cup besan (gram flour/chickpea flour/kadala maavu) + more as required
1 tsp cumin-coriander powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder
2 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry
A few tbsp water
1. Put the vegetables and peanuts into a large bowl and mix well.
2. In another bowl, mix the flours, spices and salt together.
3. Heat enough oil in a kadai or deep fryer. Meanwhile, add the vegetables to the flour and mix together with 3-4 tbsp water. Adjust the gramflour/water combination until the vegetables are just held together with the batter.
It should not be too thick or too watery.
4. Pinch off small pieces of the dough and put in the hot oil a few at a time, taking care not to crowd the surface.
5. Fry on medium high heat, turning the pakodas with a slotted spoon, until they are crisp and golden brown.
6. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot with any chutney.