The courgettes keep on coming, and in return I keep on inventing different ways to use them. I have somehow managed to sneak them into almost every meal over the last few weeks; lots of pasta dishes, risotto, curries and stir-fries, salads, you name it. I am almost at the point of making soup, but I feel that might be a last resort, that or chutney. Not that they don’t make a lovely chutney, just that I have made so much chutney in past years that I have stocks to last me through a nuclear war.
So, as I wondered through the aisles of the supermarket one day, my eye caught sight of some onion bhajis, and after my brain thought ‘mmm bhajies’, in a Homer Simpson type voice, I then thought ‘ooh, I wonder if I could make bhajis with the courgettes?’ Okay they’re a little wetter than onions, but maybe it could work. After a quick internet search it seems (as usual) I’m not the first to have come up with the idea.
I found a couple of specific courgette bhaji recipes that looked quite complex, and in the end decided to adapt a normal onion bhaji recipe.
Source: How to make the perfect onion bhajis by Felicity Cloake. Original recipe here with my adaptions in italics.
- 60g gram flour
- 30g rice flour (I couldn’t get hold of rice flour, so used all gram)
- 1 tbsp ghee or butter, melted
- Juice of ¼ lemon
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely chopped
- ¼ tsp fennel seeds (I didn’t use these)
- 1-2 hot green chillies (to taste), finely minced
- 2 tsp root ginger, finely grated
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- Small bunch of coriander, chopped
- 2 fresh curry leaves, chopped (optional) (I didn’t use)
- 2 onions, halved, core removed and thinly sliced (I used 1 small onion)
- Vegetable oil, to cook
- 1 large or 2 regular sized courgettes, deseeded if they’re large, grated and the excess water squeezed out using a tea towel.
Sift the flours into a mixing bowl, then stir in the ghee and lemon juice and just enough cold water to bring it to the consistency of double cream. Stir in the spices, aromatics and herbs and add salt to taste. Stir in the onions and courgette so they are well coated.
At this point, I used a shallow fry method, adding a few cm of oil to a large pan, heating well, and then dropping in a spoonful of the mixture at a time and flipping them over with a spatula after a few minutes. I then put them onto a baking tray lined with parchment and finished them off in the oven for 20 mins or so. However, feel free to use the deep fry method detailed below.
Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180C, or fill a large pan a third full with oil and heat – a drop of batter should sizzle as it hits the oil, then float. Meanwhile, put a bowl of cold water next to the hob, and a plate lined with kitchen paper. Put the oven on a low heat.
Once the oil is up to temperature, wet your hands and shape tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture into balls. Drop into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, then stir carefully to stop them sticking. Cook for about four minutes, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden, then drain on the paper and put in the oven to keep warm while you cook the next batch. Serve with chutney or pickle.
These are lovely as the starter or side to a curry dish, but equally nice with a piece of grilled chicken or fish and a salad. Or just eat them as a snack.