Onion Bhajis and Pakoras of various kinds were one of the reasons we got an air fryer. Putting on the big saucepan and filling it with almost a bottle of oil, then being paranoid about a fire (yes we grew up in the 70s with dire warnings about chip pans!) all seemed a bit too much to go through to enjoy one of our favourite snacks. We are, however, pleased to say that the air fryer does an amazing job! And the end results contain 60% less fat.
(Bhaji v Pakora) This is mostly about the thickness of the batter. Bhaji are thin and crispy and pakora more like small savoury cakes. The recipes are very similar though.
- 3 Red Onions Sliced
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 cup gram flour
- 1 tbsp rice flour.
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp Kashmiri chili powder
- ½ tsp Cumin Seeds
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼-½ cup water
- 2 tbsp. Oil for oil spray
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Slice the onions and add the salt, mix thoroughly and allow to stand for 5 minutes, to release some moisture.
- Mix all the remaining dry ingredients and add to the onions. The onion juices should start to form a batter.
- (you can add some fresh chopped chilli, coriander or mint at this stage for an extra dimension to your Bhaji)
- Add just enough water to bind any flour mix not attaching to the onions. (keeping the mix as as low in moisture as possible is the key to crispy bhaji)
- Add few drops of lemon juice.
- Preheat your air fryer to 200c
- Separate your onion mix into loose balls and press down lightly to make patties.
- Depending on your air fryer you can add the patties straight to the drawer or you can line the air fryer basket with a baking sheet with holes or a steamer sheet, or use silicon muffin cases.
- Reduce the temp to 180c and air fry the bhajis for 5mins
- If using a baking sheet (or its alternatives) remove these and place the bhaji straight in the basket or tray. Give them a spray with oil.
- Cook for a further 5 mins, then turn over, spray, and cook again for 3-4 minutes or until cooked from all sides.
Why not try thinly sliced carrots & courgettes as an alternative.
Best eaten hot straight away, though they can be kept in the fridge and indeed frozen. Check your air fryer manual for reheating instructions.
Perforated paper liners - You can cut a parchment paper as per your air fryer basket and make holes in that to allow the air to pass through or use the liners used for bamboo steamers.
For other vegetables, such as cauliflower, potato, sweetcorn, or even meats like chicken strips the batter needs to be thicker. For the above batter you need about 2 1/2 cups of ingredients.
Use the above recipe, add 1/8 tsp baking soda, some chopped garlic and a bit more water until you have a thick batter.
Leave to sit for 10 mins.
Then spoon 2 tablespoons of the mix into the prepared basket/drawer and flatten. Repeat this as many times as the basket space allows without the pakoras touching. Mist the top of each pakora with cooking spray. They will probably take 6 or 7 minutes at each stage instead of 5.