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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.

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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Chris

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

Although I have gram flour I don’t have rice flour is there a substitute please

Brian Jones

Tuesday 8th of September 2020

Use regular all-purpose flour, it will make the dough a little heavier so just add it a little at a time until it gets to a good texture similar to the one in my video and you should be good to go.

Nanda Almond

Friday 21st of August 2020

These are really tasty, but they stick to the bottom of the air fryer. I sprayed with olive oil, a lot, it still stuck.. any advice??

Brian Jones

Saturday 29th of August 2020

Hi Nanda, glad you like them... Mine did not really stick at all, but if they are an easy solution would be to cut some small rounds of baking parchment the same size as the bhaji and cook them on that.

Choclette

Friday 3rd of July 2020

You're a genius. I adore good onion bhajis. I have an air fryer and gram flour so looks like I'm going to have to try making some.

Brian Jones

Sunday 5th of July 2020

Now that's not a word I am associated with often ;) Enjoy :D

Kate

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

The consistency was rather runny. Is it 100ml of water or 10? I am cooking them now so I don't what I ll end up with but they smell nice whilst cooking!

Brian Jones

Friday 24th of April 2020

That very odd, it definitely 100ml I make these all of the time. They mix should not be like a bread dough, it should be relatively "fluid" but certainly not like water.

David Williamson

Thursday 20th of February 2020

I've just bought an air fryer and these were the very first thing I made. Bloody fantastic is my verdict! Can we have more of these Indian-style recipes, please?

Brian Jones

Saturday 22nd of February 2020

Cheers David... I'm currently working on cooking samosa in the air fryer, they taste fantastic, but my folding technique is shocking but they will appear just as soon as I have it nailed down.

In the meantime have a crack at my Tandoori chicken marinade, and then cook it in the air fryer. Wings take about 20 minutes, thighs 30-35 and tenders or breast meat between 10 and 15 depending on how it is cooked. Start at 180C and then increase to 200C for the last 5-10 to get a nice char.