Impromptu bhajia

My flatmate is on a sort of elimination diet at the moment, part of which involves avoiding wheat and gluten. As even the corn tortillas you can buy in the shops generally contain wheatflour, he was on a mission to find masa harina, the treated corn flour that’s used to make them. But, despite the astonishing rate of gentrification that’s occurred in Balham in recent years, including its very own organic food store, it hasn’t yet developed a Little Mexico, and none was to be had.

We did, however, find gram flour and thought we’d give it a go. It worked surprisingly well, but as I am in desperate need of a new frying pan that isn’t bowed in the middle, full size ‘pancakes’ weren’t really feasible, so we settled for little ones made in the bottom of a milk pan. They were kind of like giant blinis, rather than small tortillas, in terms of size and consistency, but they were good and were fit for purpose (which is to say: to have guacamole and refried beans and steak stuck on top).

The side of the gram flour packet also had an onion bhajia recipe. As I had an bag of onions and an enormous bunch of coriander, plus all the other ingredients to hand, it seemed right to make them, plus the *must. cook. something* urge was quite strong. (I’d also been making endless batches of guacamole, hence the coriander, but mashing isn’t cooking.)

Once again, I cursed my lack of a proper deep fryer, but a milk pan full of corn oil did in a pinch. They turned out like this:


Not bad for a first attempt, I think. They came out a tiny bit too spicy, so I think I’d go for mild, rather than hot, chilli powder in future, and the first few I tried to cook while the oil wasn’t hot enough, but that’s that lesson learned. It’s another thing for the repertoire, anyway.


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