Recipes from scratch, for everyone

Onion Bahji and Pakoras with Vegan Raita

This post originally started out as a recipe for onion bhaji but the raita turned out so good that I just wanted to make more and more deep fried goodies to dip into it. That’s when the pakoras came in.

Vegan cucumber mint raita

Onion bhaji is hands down my favourite Indian food. Essentially Indian onion rings that are easier to eat because they don’t leave you with a piece of soggy onion in your mouth while your still holding your piece of (often unflavoured) fried dough. You can dip so much into this tasty batter and throw them into your fryer to arrange an entire pakora platter. Naturally vegan and gluten free, the highlight of this recipe is the vegan raita.

All the ingredients for the batter - before and after mixing

I’ve decided to use tofu as my base instead of the usual cashew base I go for because I wanted more of a tangy flavour and the cashews are generally better for cheesy earthy flavours. Tofu is so easy to manipulate that this sauce turned out so well. This sauce is also great for if you’re eating curries, especially ones that have gotten a bit too spicy.

Onion bahji and pakoras

I don’t like buying lots of different flours for different recipes, so instead I mill my own, which you don’t even need fancy equipment for. I just use my nutribullet and I get fresh flours that have a depth of taste the you just cannot get from the prepackaged stuff. You can use any blender though, just be prepared, the first 3 seconds are very loud! Plus you know exactly what’s going in there.

Chickpeas before and after milling

If you’re using this recipe to entertain, you can fry up everything in advance and reheat in the oven. This way all the crispiness will be preserved.

Onion bahji and pakoras next to raita


Onion Bahji and Pakoras with Vegan Raita


    For the bahji and pakoras
  • 250g dried chickpeas
  • 3 tablespoons white rice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon black onion seeds
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon coriander, ground
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 300-400ml water
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and grated
  • Oil for frying
    For the vegan raita
  • 300g silken tofu
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 handful mint leaves
  • 1 handful coriander
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Put the chickpeas and rice together in a blender and blend together until a fine flour has formed. It's okay if there are some still large lumps. Do not over blend. Sift the four.
  2. Combine all the batter ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine, adding the water gradually. You do not want the batter to be too runny.
  3. Cut the eggplant into medium, sized pieces. Dip them into the batter and drop into the hot oil.
  4. Do make the onion bhaji, pick up small clumps of the sliced onions, dip and then fry.
  5. Combine the onions and grated potatoes and fry the same way as the onion bhaji.
  6. Fry the pakoras until golden brown and then transfer to a paper lined bowl in a warm oven .
  7. Blend the tofu and lemon juice together and add the rest of the raita ingredients. If you prefer it to be more runny then add some water.

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