Vegan Food Nerd


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Onion Bhajis

20140919_185950I’ve been lucky to live in England and get to enjoy some really fabulous Indian food. Hamilton has it’s fair share of decent options though, and living on the East side means we get to feast on the Himalya whenever the craving strikes. The Himalya is all veg Indian fare and they have a great vegan thali special.

I have always loved the variety of veggie options and pakoras and onion bhajis are a favourite. My parents gave us a bag of onions they picked up from a farm so we thought we’d make some bhajis to go with a lentil curry (recipe for the curry coming soon).

Notes:

  • I wanted to try baking these to see if they would turn out, but we weren’t sure. If you try baking them let me know if it works out for you!
  • You can alter the spice mixture if you like, but these were really flavourful with just a little bit of heat. Increase the chillies or add some chilli powder to make them spicier.
  • We didn’t try to form the bhajis at all, so they are kinda rustic looking. Cut your onion slices in half to help with shaping into more of a ball and less spider shapes will result.

Ingredients

1/2 large white onion, finely sliced
1/2 large red onion, finely sliced
2 cloves of garlic, mashed
1 thumb of ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 cup of chickpea flour + 1-2 tbsp
6-8 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus oil for frying
salt

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1) Add sliced onions to a bowl and separate each slice. Add spices, garlic and ginger and mix.

2) Add 1 cup of the chickpea flour, 1 tbsp of oil and 6 tbsp of water and mix. You may want to add up to 2 more tbsp of chickpea flour and water to make a batter to coat the onions that isn’t too thick. Some onions may release more liquid than others as well which will create a thinner batter.

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3) Heat about 1/2 inch to 1 inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan or cast iron pan. You want it hot but not so hot that your bhajis will get dark brown too quickly without cooking the onions. Drop a bit of batter in the oil and if it starts to sputter it’s ready.

4) Drop a spoonful of the onion mixture into the pan without crowding and fry until browned on both sides. At least 2-3 minutes per side worked for us.

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20140919_1840425) Place cooked bhajis on a paper towel lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Sprinkle with a little bit of sea salt. You can leave them in an oven at 250 F to keep them warm. Serve hot!

Makes 12 bhajis

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5 Comments

Fried Garden Eggplant

20140903_182912Despite the odd growing season we have harvested a few sicilian eggplants and what’s better than breading and frying them? (Ok, well my vote was to roast eggplant slices in the oven, but someone may have convinced me to do otherwise). I just picked a few more eggplants so I will totally win the next round! Regardless, the breading method used here made a really crispy coating and the eggplant was deliciously creamy and tender on the inside. We served it with some tomato sauce and pasta and garlic bread on the side (hello carbs!)

20140904_165115Notes:

  • There are a few steps to breading the eggplant as you have to dip into the flour mixture, then into the breadcrumbs to coat. Make sure to give yourself a bit of counter space and set up an assembly line to make for quick work!
  • To prevent finger clubbing, use one hand to dip into the wet mixture and transfer to breadcrumb plate, and use your other hand to coat with the breadcrumbs.
  • You can peel the skin if you aren’t a fan or if it seems particularly thick. The skin was left on here.
  • The eggplant slices were salted first for this recipe. Since these tasted really delicious, and had a lovely silky texture, I can’t vouch for making these with unsalted eggplant and getting the same result. The salting also helps the eggplant to absorb less oil.
  • The leftovers are great in sandwiches for lunch the next day with your favourite fixings!

Ingredients

1 medium sized eggplant, cut into 1/4″ slices

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup almond milk plus 2-3 tablespoons
1/4 tsp chili flakes
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

2 cups breadcrumbs
2 tbsp finely chopped herbs (parsley, chives & basil worked great)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

vegetable oil for frying

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1) Place your eggplant slices in a colander and salt each side generously. After about 30 minutes, pat each eggplant slice with paper towels to remove the moisture that has been seeping out.

2) Combine flour, almond milk and seasonings in a shallow bowl or plate so that you have a bit of a thin paste. It should be thick enough to stick to the eggplant and coat it in a thin layer – add more almond milk if necessary to thin it out slightly.

3) Combine breadcrumbs, herbs and salt and pepper in a separate bowl or plate.

4) Working with one eggplant slice at a time, dip into the flour mixture first and then into the breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs should stick easily.

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5) Heat a large frying pan over medium heat with about an inch of vegetable oil. The oil should be hot but not smoking – you can test your oil by taking some breadcrumbs and putting them into the oil. It should sizzle!

6) Put your breaded eggplant slices into the pan without overcrowding – 3 or 4 at a time is likely what you will fit. Fry until golden brown on both sides.

7) Place fried eggplant slices on a cooling rack placed on top of a cookie sheet while you continue frying the rest. This can be placed in an oven at 350 F to keep them warm and crispy and the cookie sheet will catch any excess oil. (You can also pat the excess oil with paper towels if you wish)

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8) When you are done frying all of the eggplant, serve immediately topped with some home made tomato sauce or eat as is.

Makes 8-9 slices