Out Of The Pod
These delectable, crunchy morsels are best served as soon as they come out of the pan, and make a good snack to nibble with drinks, especially alongside a bowl of sweet and sour tamarind or coriander/cilantro chutney as a dip. Other ingredients such as chopped spring onions/scallions, fenugreek leaves, spinach or grated carrot can be incorporated into the bhaji mix, depending on what is available. The chickpea/gram flour acts as a binder for the other ingredients and gives a lovely crisp texture.
Mix all of the ingredients apart from the oil in a bowl and add just enough water (about 200 ml) to make a mixture that holds together and can be dropped off a spoon.
In a medium-sized saucepan, heat enough oil to deep fry about 6 small bhajis at a time. The oil should be hot enough to brown a cube of bread in 30 seconds (around 180˚C–190˚C).
When it is hot enough, use a teaspoon and a dessert spoon to drop walnut-sized balls of the mixture into the oil. Cook over a medium heat until golden brown, turning over as they cook, then remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Cook the rest of the bhajis in the same way, 5–6 at a time, draining on paper towels while you fry the next batch.
The bhajis are best served straight away, but can be cooked in advance and reheated if that is more convenient.