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The Free-from Food for Family and Friends
These delicious oven-baked bhajis have all the flavour of their fried counterparts but are much creamier and lighter in texture. Baking them in the oven gives them a soft interior with a slightly crisp outer crust. They would be perfect as a starter, served with a green salad and some freshly sliced ripe mango, or as part of a curry feast with a large bowl of basmati rice and my baked Masala Chicken and Dhal with Caraway Aubergine (see pages 159 and 160). Or, indeed, you could have them as part of a picnic or packed lunch, their size making them nicely transportable. You can easily make them in advance, warming them up in a hot oven for 5–10 minutes before serving at the table.

- nut free - gluten free - vegan - soya free - yeast free -

Makes about 15 bhajis

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© 2024 Pippa Kendrick / HarperCollins · Reproduced with permission. · Free-From Food for Family and Friends by Pippa Kendrick out now (HarperCollins) photography Keiko Oikawa
  • Step 1

    Peel and cut the sweet potato into 2.5cm chunks, then place in a steamer or colander set over a saucepan and add the chickpeas. Steam over 3cm of simmering water for 15 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft and collapsing.

  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, halve the onions and slice into thin half-moons. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onions and fry over a low–medium heat for 15 minutes or until softened but not browned.

  • Step 3

    While the onions are cooking, finely grate the ginger, crush the garlic and deseed and finely chop the chilli. Add these to the onions, along with the spices, and fry for a further 2–3 minutes.

  • Step 4

    Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), gas mark 6, and grease a large baking tray with olive oil.

  • Step 5

    Finely chop the coriander, then transfer the steamed sweet potato and chickpeas to a food processor and blitz until you have a coarse purée. Turn out into a mixing bowl and add the softened spiced onions, gram flour, lemon juice, chopped coriander and remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and stir together until combined.

  • Step 6

    Scoop out heaped tablespoons of the mixture and shape into little round patties about 2.5cm in diameter. (You may want to wash your hands straight after shaping the patties as the turmeric can stain your fingers yellow!) Place the bhajis on the greased baking tray and bake in the oven for 40 minutes – carefully turning them over after 20 minutes – or until they are crisp and golden. Serve warm from the oven or leave to cool.

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