Naughty or Nice: Onion Bhajis

As you may or may not know, I co-write a column called Naughty or Nice with the wonderful Aoife Barry in The Irish Independent’s Weekend magazine on Saturdays. Each week, we try to think of delicious and quick recipes that can cater for those naughty and not-so-naughty eaters out there.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, or indeed follow me on Twitter and Instagram, it will come as no surprise that I look after the Naughty recipes. I come up with simple, slightly bold recipes to which Aoife B offers a much less bold, often vegan, alternative.

I’m going to start posting some of my favourite recipes from our columns, in case you are either too far away to pick up a copy of the Irish Independent on Saturdays or happened to miss it over the weekend. For a look back on the rest of the food section from Weekend, which includes a review of Bear by Paolo Tullio, have a look over here.

I believe the success of this great little recipe comes down to the use of gram flour. It’s made from ground chickpeas and holds together really well when fried. You can find it in specialist Asian food shops and health shops and good quality food emporiums.

Naughty Onion Bhajis: March 24th


100g of chickpea flour (also known as gram flour)

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

150ml cold water

2 red onions

Vegetable Oil

5 heaped tablespoons of natural yoghurt

1 teaspoon of freshly chopped coriander leaves

1/2 lime


Sift 100g of chickpea flour and ½ teaspoon of baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add one teaspoon of ground cumin, one teaspoon of ground coriander, ½ teaspoon of chilli flakes and ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Mix well and then whisk in 150ml of cold water to make a light batter.

Finely chop one red onion and finely slice another red onion and mix them into the batter until well covered. Very carefully, heat 3cm of vegetable oil in a large, deep frying pan. Add a little bit of the batter. If it bubbles and starts to brown, the oil is hot enough.

Using a tablespoon or a teaspoon (depending on whether you want to make 6 large or 12 small bhajis), add heaped amounts of the red onion batter mix into the hot oil. Be careful not to over-crowd the pan. Fry for a few minutes, turning once, until both sides are golden and brown. Drain on some kitchen towel.

In a small bowl, mix 5 heaped tablespoons of natural yoghurt with a teaspoon of freshly chopped coriander leaves and a squeeze of lime juice.

Serve the fried bhajis with the yoghurt dip and some sweet chilli sauce on the side.



Possibly one of the best music videos of all time, Tunak Tunak Tun has featured on this blog before. It’s by Indian Bhangra Pop singer Daler Mendhi and it’s probably the best thing ever.

Categories: Dinner, Lunch


  1. Hello Aoife, These creatures look delicious, so I’m going to try them at the week-end. Thanks for the idea. Something different for the aperitif…

    • Hi Maureen, thanks for your comment. They are a brilliant aperitif! And you will be amazed at how easy they are to put together. The gram flour really helps the batter stick too which is great. Enjoy! And let me know how you get on with them :)

  2. I can never seem to find the Naughty Or Nice column anymore on the Indo website, it used to be on the front food webpage but there hasn’t been a weekly link on there in months.

    • Hi Stef, you’re right, they haven’t been putting it up there for a few months so I thought I’d post them here instead. Thanks for looking for it though :)

  3. That looks delicious. I’ll have to try this. Also, did you get my email? I sent it to the Gmail address you have posted on this site.

  4. A great idea that you’ll be posting some of the recipes here! These sound delicious Aoife! I must try to pick up some gram flour.

    • Thanks Nessa! Definitely grab some gram flour the next time you see it, it sticks together so well making for a really lovely batter. It’s also really good as a binder so it’s great for making falafels and stuff like that. Or so Aoife B tells me, she’s the one who pointed me in the direction of the stuff :)

  5. Looks great, I’ve been meaning to try making bhajis for ages. And I even have that same bowl!

    • Thanks! Definitely give them a go. I couldn’t believe how simple they were to make! Let me know how you get on if you do end up making them :)

  6. They look absolutely delicious! Gonna be brave and try to make them this weekend! Thanks for the recipe! x

  7. They look lovely – I have been bahji’ing up rhubarb, celery and most successfully fennel recently – once you know how simple they are you quickly figure out that any leftovers in the fridge can be bahji’d

    • You have actually blown my mind with that comment. I am going to bhaji’ing everything from now. Fennel Bhaji!!!! AMAZING!!!!

  8. I’ve always felt that anyone who could make a meal out of an onion was richer than someone with a pocketful of cash. Having just made your delicious onion bhajis for lunch and enjoyed them with some salad, chili sauce and yoghurt tip, I’m richer again. So simple and straightforward… definitely one for the repertoire.

    • You’re absolutely right. So glad you enjoyed the bhajis, it’s a great little recipe. And isn’t it so simple? I’m very fond of it myself. Glad you enjoyed it too!

  9. I tried this last weekend with some steak and potatoes. I figured onions go well with steak so why not make the onions in bhajis form.

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  11. Everyone loves what you guys are up too. Such clever work andd coverage!

    Keep up the verdy good works guys I’ve added you guuys to my personal