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Lighter Easy Air Fryer Onion Bhaji or Pakora

My air fryer onion bhaji recipe is a thing of great beauty, it is simply an onion fritter made from a spiced batter and they taste fantastic.

I like to cook these in an air fryer as maintaining a clean deep fat fryer is a chore, but I have instructions for frying too.

Portrait image of crispy air fryer onion bhaji or pakora served with a curry and mint and yoghurt dip

The Great Onion Bhaji.

My love of Indian food is scarcely hidden here on my site, there is however a lack of Indian starters, sides and snacks.

Now that is not because I do not like them, but it is because they are often fried.

It is not the frying that causes me concern, it is having oil in the fryer hanging around all of the time.

Also the spicing in Indian food means that the oil really is only of future use with similarly spiced food.

As a result, I was always going to follow up my air fryer chicken wings with this pakora recipe.

I was already making plans for these air fryer onion bhaji before I hit the “add to cart” button.

Portrait close up image of crispy air fryer onion bhaji or pakora

Do They Work in The Air Fryer?

Yes… Well, of course, that was going to be the answer or they would not be here!

Are they as good as a fried pakora? Sadly not, however that does not mean that they should be discounted.

I have not eaten any form of pakora for far too long, and the reason is that whole oil hanging around ‘thing’.

Cooking them in this way means that I am more likely to cook them. That is a huge tick in the box if you ask me.

The secret to cooking them is a good spray of cooking oil before cooking and again just before you crisp up them up.

Don’t worry, if you want to fry yours I have added instructions within my recipe!

Portrait overhead image of crispy air fryer onion bhaji or pakora served with a curry and mint and yoghurt dip

Recipe Hints, Tips & Serving Suggestions?

My version is heavily spiced, however, they are not spicy hot.

I have no idea why, but I have never put chilli in any form into mine. I guess it is a habit, if you wanted you could shred fresh chilli and add them to the mix.

Alternatively, you could add chilli powder to the batter mix.

Whilst we are on the topic of the batter one of the keys to getting this recipe right is not having too much batter.

If you have too much the centre of your bhaji will be stodgy and gloopy.

That is not good, you need to have just enough batter to loosely hold together the onions.

They would ordinarily be served as a starter with an Indian Chutney in a British Indian restaurant. Something like this green tomato chutney would be perfect.

However, I love dipping them in curry! In fact, you will see a take on my pork vindaloo in the background of these pictures.

And yup, I use them in lieu of naan bread, because, well because I can!

I always add a yoghurt and mint sauce too, essentially it is my mint raita recipe without the cucumber.

Square image of crispy air fryer onion bhaji or pakora served with a curry and mint and yoghurt dip
Yield: 4 Bhajis

Air Fryer Onion Bhaji Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes

An onion bhaji or bhajiya as an Indian snack, starter or side that is in all but name a pakora. My version is generously spiced although not hot with chili and is cooked in an air fryer. Don't worry though I have frying instructions too!

Ingredients

  • 100 g (2/3 Cup) Onion
  • 45 g (1/2 Cup) Gram Flour
  • 15 g (1.5 Tbsp) Rice Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Onion Seeds
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Grated Ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Ghee
  • 10 g (1/4 Cup) Chives
  • 100 ml (1/3 Cup + 1 Tbsp) Water
  • Oil Spray

Instructions

  1. Mix together the dry ingredients.
  2. Mash the garlic clove, grate the ginger and snip the chives.
  3. Add in the chives, garlic and ginger.
  4. Mix in the melted ghee and the water.
  5. Top and tail a small-medium onion and remove the skin, then cut in half and finely slice from the top to bottom.
  6. Add the onion to the mix and stir to combine.
  7. Spray the air fryer basket with oil.
  8. Wet your hands and form into 4 fairly loosely formed 'balls'.
  9. Place the balls in the air fryer, spray with oil spray and then cook for 12 minutes at 180°C or 350°F.
  10. After 12 minutes increase the temperature to 200°C or 400°F respray with oil and cook for a further 4 minutes.

To Deep Fry

Follow my instructions to point 6.

  1. Drop into hot oil at 180°C or 350°F and cook for 4-6 minutes, flipping over halfway through.
  2. Transfer to a piece of kitchen paper and allow to cool a little before serving.

Notes

Gram flour is chickpea flour and if you cannot get it this recipe works really well with plain flour. Although you will need to reduce the total weight of flour to around 45-50g.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

2

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 143Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 297mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!

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