Crispy Onion Bhajia - Dish by Rish (2024)

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These crispy onion bhajia are made with slices of red onions tossed in spices and coated in a flavourful batter and fried till golden brown.

I honestly just love crispy food. It’s so satisfying.

But there are some recipes that just hit me with complete nostalgia whilst also delivering epic deliciousness. These Crispy Onion Bhajia are definitely one of them.

From crispy snacks, to spicy snacks, to sweet treats. I feel like the Indian cuisine has mastered them all – though I’m obviously biased.

If you’ve visited an Indian restaurant, take away spot, or any Indian household you’ll probably have tried these. We’re all about feeding people and we deliver when it comes to the snack situation.

But you know what we’re also great at? Not gatekeeping and that’s exactly why I’m sharing these incredible bhajias with you guys.

It’s the perfect snack that you need to add to your repertoire.

Crispy Onion Bhajia

When I say that these are the ultimate snack, I truly mean it.

Bhajia are also commonly known as pakoreh or ‘bhajis’ (in some Western-inspired Indian takeout spots). They are crispy fritters infused with spices and various different fillings.

So I imagine most people will have ordered or eaten onion bhajia previously. It’s one of the most popular types of bhajia and well known due to it’s absolute deliciousness.

These consist of thin slices of onions mixed with spices and then fried in a chickpea flour batter. They’re crispy on the outside, yet light and perfectly soft throughout. Just like all the best things in life.

I grew up with this dish being very much a weekend treat. We just knew when bhajia were being fried and we’d excitedly run into the kitchen ready to eat.

Onion bhajia were also something we whipped up any time we were expecting guests over. They were minimal effort and something that everyone enjoyed.

These were always served with a spicy coriander chutney and a mug of masala chai. It was instant comfort and a snack to fill the soul.

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What are bhajia?

To put it briefly, bhajia are essentially crispy fritters.

They’re usually lightly spiced and made with a chickpea flour (besan) batter. They can consist of various ingredients and fillings and are always a great way to use up leftover vegetables.

They’re deep fried, making them a real treat but also the most warming, comforting, crispy treat.

The types of bhajia can range from onions, potatoes, paneer, cauliflower and so many more. I’ve previously shared my Sweetcorn Bhajia recipe which is also a huge family favourite of ours.

And one I made whilst I was competing on MasterChef UK!

Onion bhajia, onion bhaji, and onion pakora. Are they all the same?

Essentially yes.

Though like the majority of Indian dishes, they can vary between households. This is because most Indian recipes are generational ones.

They’ve been passed down through the years and each family has their own variation. Although the basis of the recipes stays consistent between all, there are subtle changes which makes them all a little different.

And I think that’s exciting.

Bhajia are the Gujarati term whilst pakoreh/pakodeh is used in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi. The term ‘bhaji’ is very much a Westernised term and not really used in India.

In India the term bhaji refers to different forms of curries, not fritters. I’m not entirely sure how the term onion bhaji became popular but that’s what’s been coined around many Indian takeout spots in the UK.

So in all honesty, I think it’s about time we reclaim the bhajia.

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Why are bhajia so important?

A huge part of the Indian culture, like many others, revolves around food.

Bhajia are honestly ‘the’ appetiser and snack. It’s what we make when we’re inviting people over, or when people randomly turn up (it happens!). It’s also makes for a great weekend comfort along with a mug of masala chai.

In an Indian household (like many other cultures), it is customary to greet guests with food and drinks.

This usually involves a platter of traditional snacks ranging from Dhokla, bhajia, patra, khandvi, along with things like fafda, ghatiya, and many more.

Oh, and don’t forget the sweets too. There’ll be jalebi somewhere on that platter too. All served with a mug of warm masala chai.

Now if your family is anything like mine. We’re not that organised and definitely don’t have half the things on the platter that we really should. But I can promise you that what we do have will taste incredible.

We will always have dhokla and bhajia, and it won’t just be one type of bhajia.

Are there other types of bhajia?

Absolutely. The world is your oyster when it comes to bhajia. It’s a great method of using up anything you have left on hand.

Some of the other types include:

  • Sweetcorn bhajia
  • Potato bhajia
  • Daal bhajia (lentil bhajia)
  • Mixed vegetable bhajia
  • Paneer bhajia
  • Chilli bhajia
  • Cauliflower bhajia
  • Mushroom bhajia

And many more.

Bhajia batter can honestly be used for absolutely anything. There’s no real limitation to it, so if you want to experiment with it, go for it.

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How to serve these Crispy Onion Bhajia

With the two C’s of course.

Chutney and Chai

These crispy onion bhajia are best served with coriander chutney and mug of masala chai. They are great on their own, but for the full experience you’ve just got to have chutney and chai.

For anyone who hasn’t had masala chai before, it’s a tradition Indian tea that soothes the soul. It’s made with black tea leaves along with various spices such as green cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, and nutmeg. I love adding a pinch of saffron to mine too.

This tea is then simmered along with milk to really bring out the flavours of the tea leaves and the spices. It’s honestly the most comforting drink imaginable.

The coriander chutney I serve these with will be included in the recipe, don’t worry. I haven’t got my chai masala recipe up on the blog yet, but definitely something I’ve got in mind for the future.

If you don’t have access to chai spices, a good cup of strong milky tea will also do the job.

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What you’ll need

The full recipe can be found at the end of the blogpost

For the bhajia you’ll require:

  • Brown/white onions
  • Red onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – or any other chilli powder of your preference
  • Turmeric
  • Ground cumin
  • Fresh coriander
  • Gram flour – also knows as besan or chickpea flour
  • Cornflour – this is known as cornflour in the UK and corn starch in the US. But rice flour would also work as a substitute
  • Baking powder
  • Chaat masala – this is totally optional. It’s just for sprinkling over the bhajia at the end but feel free to omit if you don’t have it

For the chutney you’ll require:

  • Coriander
  • Mint (optional)
  • Cashews – but you can substitute for sunflower seeds if you’re intolerant/allergic to nuts
  • Garlic
  • Green chilli – but you can omit this to keep it mild
  • Lemon
  • Ice cubes
  • Chaat masala – or salt for seasoning

How to make these Crispy Onion Bhajia (photos)

Let’s start with the bhajia

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Crispy Onion Bhajia - Dish by Rish (6)

1) First start by slicing the onions
2) Then place all the sliced onions into a large mixing bowl

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Crispy Onion Bhajia - Dish by Rish (8)

3) Next add in the ground spices (masala) and the salt to the onions
4) Add in the chickpea flour (gram flour/besan) and the cornflour (corn starch if you’re in the US)

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Crispy Onion Bhajia - Dish by Rish (10)

5) Mix to combine, and don’t worry if it looks dry. The onions will gradually release their own water to help bind the batter
6) Add grated garlic, grated ginger, and finely chopped coriander. You can also add slices of green chilli at this stage if you prefer more heat. Mix to combine and leave aside for 20 minutes

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Crispy Onion Bhajia - Dish by Rish (12)

7) After 20 minutes the onions will have released some water to help bind the batter. Add the baking powder and the additional tbsp of water. Then mix to combine
8) Take roughly a tablespoon of batter and gently form a round shape in your hands. This does not need to be perfect at all, so don’t worry

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Crispy Onion Bhajia - Dish by Rish (14)

9) Next, fry until golden brown all over, this takes around 1-2 minutes. Also, do this in batches to prevent the oil temperature dropping too low. This will cause them to absorb oil
10) Once golden brown, transfer to a tray lined with kitchen paper to absorb any remaining oil

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11) Finally, sprinkle with chaat masala before serving (optional)

And now let’s make the chutney:

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1) First add all the chutney ingredients into a blender jug. And don’t forget the ice cubes!
2) Then blend into a thick green chutney

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3) Finally you can adjust the consistency of the chutney by adding in cold water. I added around an additional 3tbsp of water for the consistency I prefer, but do this to your preference.

And don’t forget to also season with chaat masala or salt

How to make these Crispy Onion Bhajia (video)

Frequently asked questions

Can the Crispy Onion Bhajia batter be prepared in advance?

Yes it can, but don’t add the baking powder and the additional tbsp of water until you’re ready to fry. Otherwise this will prematurely activate the baking powder and they won’t rise or crisp up as well upon frying.

I do find these bhajias taste the best when made fresh, but you can prepare the batter up to 24 hours beforehand and refrigerate. Though I’d recommend allowing the batter to come to room temperature before frying.

I find that frying bhajia batter straight out of the fridge tends to drop the oil temperature too rapidly. And in turn you do end up with the bhajia soaking up too much oil.

If you enjoyed this recipe

Please do let me know! Leave a review and a rating below, I’d love to know how you got on.

You can also tag me on Instagram at @dish_by_rish. Or follow me onFacebook,Pinterest,Youtube, andTikTokto keep up with all my cooking and baking creations.

Until then, happy cooking!

Crispy Onion Bhajia - Dish by Rish (19)

Crispy Onion Bhajia

Crispy Onion Bhajia - Dish by Rish (20)dishbyrish

These crispy onion bhajia are made with slices of red onions tossed in spices and coated in a flavourful batter and fried till golden brown.

4.50 from 2 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 15 minutes mins

Resting time 20 minutes mins

Total Time 45 minutes mins

Course Appetizer, Snack

Cuisine Indian

Servings 30 bhajia


For the crispy onion bhajia:

  • 4 medium sized onions I recommend half red and half brown/white
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or any other chilli powder of choice
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves garlic grated
  • 2 inch piece of ginger grated
  • 1 green chilli finely sliced (optional)
  • Handful of coriander finely chopped
  • 130 g gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 25 g cornflour this is corn starch if you’re in the US
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Chaat masala optional
  • neutral flavoured oil for deep frying

For the chutney:

  • 30 g coriander
  • 15 g mint (optional)
  • 8 cashew nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 green chillies use 1 or omit for a milder chutney
  • Half lemon juiced
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp chaat masala or salt to season


For the crispy onion bhajia:

  • First start by slicing the onions into long strips, then place these into a large mixing bowl

  • Add the chilli powder, cumin powder, turmeric, and salt to the mixture, and then add the gram flour and cornflour. Mix to combine, don’t worry if it’s dry as the onions will slowly release their moisture to form a batter

  • Next add in the grated garlic, ginger, and coriander, and mix once more. You can also add in the green chilli at this stage if you’re using it

  • Allow the bhajia mix to sit for 20 minutes as the onions will release some liquid to help bind it all together. You can make the chutney during this time if you wish

  • After 20 minutes, mix the bhajia batter once more and it should now be a lot more cohesive. Add in the baking powder and a tbsp of water and mix once more

  • Take roughly a tbsp of batter and gently form into a rough round shape in your hands (it will be a little messy and sticky). Then place it directly into 180’C oil to fry. Fry in batches to prevent overcrowding and the oil temperature dropping

  • They will only take 1-2 minutes to fry. Once golden brown, drain and leave aside on a tray lined with a paper towel

  • Finally sprinkle with chaat masala before serving

For the chutney:

  • Simply place the coriander, mint (if using), cashews, garlic, green chilli, lemon juice and ice cubes into a blender jug and blend till smooth

  • After blending it should be relatively thick. Add additional water 1tbsp at a time until your desired consistency. I use around 3tbsp of water for a chutney consistency perfect for bhajia

  • Then finish by adding either chaat masala or salt in order to season the chutney

Keyword bhaji, bhajia, coriander chutney, crispy onion bhajia, onion bhaji, onion bhajia, onion pakora, pakora

Crispy Onion Bhajia - Dish by Rish (2024)
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