The bhaji smuggler
Serves 1 Prep 30 mins plus at least 3 hrs pickling and drying Cook 15 mins
handful parsley, mint and coriander, chopped handful Bombay mix focaccia, halved
FOR THE LIME-PICKLED ONIONS
1 red onion, finely sliced 1 lime, juiced
FOR THE CORIANDER, CHILLI & PEANUT CHUTNEY
1 large bunch of coriander, leaves picked and stalks chopped 60g salted peanuts (not roasted) 1 tsp ground turmeric 2 green chillies, sliced 3 tsp sugar 2 limes, juiced
FOR THE CARROT BHAJIS
200g plain flour 1 tbsp mixed spices (pepper, chilli powder, ground turmeric, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, ginger, caraway etc) or leave this out altogether 1 red onion, sliced 3 carrots (200g), grated 150ml sparkling water, cold 2 litres rapeseed oil
1 To make the pickled onions, put the sliced onion in a bowl, squeeze over the lime, add the salt and cover with cling film. Mix well, cover with cling film and allow to sit for at least 3 hrs, shaking the bowl every half an hour or so, or once a day if you leave it to sit for a week.
2 For the chutney, put the coriander stalks, peanuts, ground turmeric, green chillies and sugar in a food processor and blitz briefly. Add the lime juice and the coriander leaves and blitz until you have a nutty looking sauce.
3 Now, make the bhajis. Put the flour, spices and some seasoning in a bowl and mix together. Gradually pour in the sparkling water, whisking as you add it, until you have a single cream consistency. If the batter seems too thin, add some more flour. If it seems too thick, add more water. Add the onion and carrot to the batter and mix together.
4 Heat the rapeseed oil in a deep pan over a medium heat to 180C. If you have a thermometer, use it and monitor the oil; alternatively, put a cube of bread in the pan – when it browns quickly, you’re at peak oil temperature for frying. When the oil reaches 180C carefully transfer tight handfuls of the mix to the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry for 2-3 mins until golden brown, then drain on kitchen paper.
5 Sandwich the chutney, pickled onions, one bhaji, herbs and Bombay mix between the slices of focaccia. Make more sandwiches with your remaining bhajis, or serve them on the side.
A classic Indian starter in a sandwich – delicious!
Recipes adapted from Max’s Sandwich Book
by Max Halley & Ben Benton (£11.99, 535)