08 Jan fennel bhajis
If you’re looking for a different type of bhaji, try fennel. I use gram flour, made from chickpeas, for our batter. You’ll find gram flour in health food shops and specialist food markets. It makes such a reliable, flavourful batter and is really worth seeking out. We’ve paired our bhajis with a cooling raita, which would also be a lovely accompaniment to our squash curry.
Fennel Bhajis (makes 6 to 8 bhajis)
100g gram flour
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of pepper
¼ teaspoon of turmeric
¼ teaspoon of chilli flakes
½ teaspoon of coriander
½ teaspoon of cumin
150ml cold water
1 fennel head
100ml of sunflower oil
4 tablespoons of natural yogurt
1 tablespoon of finely grated cucumber
1 teaspoon of finely chopped green chilli
1. In a large bowl, mix together the gram flour, salt, pepper, turmeric, chilli flakes, coriander and cumin. Add the water and use a whisk or a fork to blend the flour and water until you have a smooth batter.
2. Roughly grate the fennel into the bowl, mixing well with the batter.
3. Pour the sunflower oil into a deep frying pan and heat over a medium to high heat. The oil is hot enough when a little bit of batter bubbles and rises to the surface when it reaches the oil.
4. Carefully add heaped tablespoons of the battered fennel to the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, turning once. Once the bhajis are golden brown, use a slotted spoon to transfer to kitchen towel to drain off any excess oil before serving.
5. Meanwhile, make the raita by mixing together the yogurt, cucumber and chilli.
6. Serve the bhaji with a green salad and the raita in a side.
* this week’s storecupboard essentials
– Gram Flour – this flour is made from chickpeas and always yields a fantastic batter. Find it in your local health or specialist food shop.
This recipe first appeared in The Irish Independent on January 8th.