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


1 red onion, finely sliced 1 lime, juiced


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


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)

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