Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis – a healthy version of your favourite Indian street food. Deliciously spicy, crispy on the outside and yet soft and light on the inside. Naturally vegan and gluten free.
Complete your homemade Indian feast with a batch of fragrantly spiced Courgette and Onion Bhajis served with a minty dip. Quick and easy to make and no need for a deep fat fryer!
Too many courgettes ? Regular visitors to the Kitchen Shed will know I’m always looking for ways to use up our courgettes and I think my bhajis deliver a really tasty transformation.
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Feedback from my taste tester panel (family and friends) to my latest addition to our courgette recipe collection was unanimously positive. In fact, based on their responses, I think Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis might end up being more popular than my Courgette Chutney or Brownies.
Onion bhajis are one of my favourite treats but so often they can be a disappointment. Supermarket offerings or even some restaurant bhajis can be a real let-down. My Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis are so much better than any store bought and they have the added bonus of being healthier and less calorie laden. They are set to become a very popular starter dish on our homemade healthy Indian takeaway nights when we tuck into Roast Bombay Potatoes and Beef Madras curry.
What Are Bhajis ?
Bhajis (part of the pakora family) are an Indian snack often served with a cup of chai. They have become a firm favourite as a starter in the UK since the 1980s.
You may also see bhajis referred to as pakodas.
Vegetables, fish or meat are deep fried in a batter made with gram/chickpea flour and spices. Here in the UK, onion bhajis are the most popular.
What Equipment Do I Need ?
- A spiraliser or grater. I’ve used a spiraliser in this recipe because the long strands of courgette, when compared with grated courgette, give more shape to the bhaji. And you don’t need to spend a fortune on a spiraliser these days. Mine is from Amazon, it’s easy to use and comes apart for easy cleaning.
- A muffin tin or large baking sheet. I like to use a heavy based muffin tin as you get a more even bake. My favourite muffin tin is by Masterclass.
What Do I Need To Make Healthy Courgette Bhajis ?
Courgettes / zucchini. To make 12 bhajis you need 500 grams which is about 2 medium courgettes.
Red Onion – use one red onion. I prefer the sweeter taste of red onions when they are cooked because it contrasts with the slightly bitter flavour and hint of onion in the nigella seeds. However, brown or yellow onions will give good results.
Gram, Besan, or Chickpea flour. I used Besan flour and I love the nutty earthy flavour it adds to the bhajis. It gives a crunchy and crispy finish and has the added bonus of being gluten free. You can buy Gram flour or Besan flour from most UK supermarkets these days but if you can’t find it locally to you, you can order it online.
Rice flour and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. Rice flour adds extra crispness to the batter and bicarb makes the bhajis light and fluffy.
How To Make Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis
Oven baked bhajis are easy and quick to make and you can have a batch ready from start to finish in around 35 minutes. For full recipe instructions see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Salt spiralised courgettes and leave to drain while you weigh out and prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Squeeze excess water out of the courgettes before transferring them to a large mixing bowl.
- Mix the red onion slices in with the courgette before adding the spices and flours so they evenly coat the courgette and onion. You shouldn’t need to add any water as the courgette will continue to ooze liquid even though you have already squeezed out excess water.
- Spoon the bhaji mix into your muffin tin or pile up in mounds if you’re using a baking sheet.
- Pop in the oven for 25 minutes, brushing the bhajis with oil halfway through baking.
- Once cooked, leave to rest for 5 minutes before removing from the tin.
Why Are My Oven Baked Bhajis Not Crispy ?
- Make sure you leave your courgettes to drain while you prepare the rest of the ingredients and then squeeze out any excess water.
- Finely slice your onions and make sure they are roughly the same size – the onions will cook evenly and quickly.
- Using rice flour in the batter mix helps to give a crispy result.
- Do not add extra water – there will still be plenty of moisture in the squeezed courgette to bring the batter together.
- Don’t leave the batter mix to stand use it straightaway.
How To Serve
- With a minty yogurt dip or chilli sauce
- A starter for your homemade Indian feast
- A light lunch with salad
- In a wrap like falafel but with mango chutney or raita
- Perfect picnic food
How Long Do They Keep ?
We can easily eat a batch of these in one sitting as they are so moreish! But if you want to save some for another day, make sure they have cooled down before storing in an airtight container in the fridge where they will keep for up to 3 days.
Reheat in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 160 C.
Can I Freeze Courgette Bhajis ?
Yes, you can! Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis freeze well. Why not make a double batch and pop some in the freezer for later ?
Once cooled, place your bhajis in a freezer bag or a sealed container before freezing. Bhajis will keep for up to three months in your freezer.
Allow frozen bhajis to defrost before reheating in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 160°C.
More Courgette/Zucchini Recipes…..
Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis
- muffin tin or a lined baking sheet
- 500 g courgette – about 2 medium courgettes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 red onion
- 100 g besan or gram/chickpea flour
- 2 tbs rice flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp nigella seeds
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 3 tbs rapeseed/canola oil
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6
- Spiralise your courgettes using the coarse setting to give the thickest strings.
- Mix spiralised courgette with salt in a colander and leave to one side to drain.
- Slice red onions as thinly as you can. Make sure your onion slices are all roughly the same size.
- Squeeze the excess water out of the courgettes before transferring to a large mixing bowl.
- Mix the red onion slices in with the courgette.
- Add spices and flours until the courgette and onion are evenly coated. You shouldn’t need to add any water as the courgette will continue to ooze liquid even though you have already squeezed out excess water.
- Add ½ tsp of oil to each muffin cup.
- Evenly distribute the bhaji mixture into the muffin cups – about one heaped tablespoonful per cup. If you are using a lined baking sheet – pile up in 12 equal mounds.
- Pop in the oven for 25 minutes, brushing your bhajis with oil halfway through baking.
- Once cooked, leave to rest for 5 minutes before removing from the tin.
- Serve with a minty yogurt dip or chilli sauce.
- If you want to save some bhajis for another day, make sure they have cooled down before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Courgette and Onion Bhajis freeze well. Why not make a double batch and pop some in the freezer for later ?
- Allow frozen bhajis to defrost before reheating in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes at 160°C.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Pin For Later
I’m linking Baked Courgette and Onion Bhajis to Cook Blog Share hosted by Lavender and Lovage, Sew White and guests. This week’s host is Marita over at My Dinner