I’m experimenting with gram flour at the moment. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this ingredient, gram flour is made from ground chickpeas, it’s a beautiful pale yellow, fine in texture and is predominantly used in Indian dishes. That said, my first experiment involved a Sicilian dish: panelle. Won’t be blogging about that though. It tasted much like polenta and I don’t like polenta very much.
My second experiment were the following onion bhaji and in these gram flour redeemed itself. These spiced Indian fritters are one of my favourite restaurant starters and I’m absolutely delighted that they are so simple to make at home.
(makes 8 small bhajis)
1 cup gram flour
1 tspn turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp garam masala
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
Ground nut oil, ghee or other “neutral” oil
- Mix together the spices and salt. Add 2/3 of the mixture to the gram flour and sieve into a bowl.
- Add a little water to the spiced flour and mix with a fork. Add a little more, stirring continually until the mixture forms a stiff, smooth batter.
- In a non-stick frying pan, heat a tablespoon of oil over a med-high heat. Add the onion and fry briskly for one minute. Reduce the heat slightly. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds. Add the rest of the spices and stir well. Continue frying for a couple of minutes until the onion has softened but not browned.
- Add the fried onions to the chickpea batter and stir well.
- Pour enough oil into the non stick pan to just cover the base. Heat over a med-high flame. Spoon blobs of the onion batter into the pan, leaving at least a couple of centimetres between each bhaji.
- Fry for a couple of minutes before turning and pressing the bhajis down to flatten to 1.5-2 cm thickness. Fry for a further 3-4 minutes or until bhajis are golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove from pan and blot excess oil.
- Serve with raita.