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This recipe came from Sue Brewer who ued to live in Brittany where she had her own gites to rent.

I asked Sue to do her own introduction . . . . .

"Originally from London my better half and I have lived in a little hamlet called Le Millet near Ploeuc sur Lie in France for the past three years. Although life in the Cotes d'Armor region of Brittany is quite idyllic there are some downsides, notably the price and strength of tea bags, unavailability of sliced back bacon (who can live without bacon sarnies) and finally the lack of Indian cuisine.

The first two things we must stock up on during our infrequent visits to England, but curries and bhajis - pas du problem!

I realised that the only way I was ever going to have an 'Indian takeaway' in France was to make it myself. Now this isn't as silly as it sounds; I always make the curries or whatever in large quantities and then freeze them in meal-sized portions. So Saturday night is still takeaway night, either sharing the meal with friends or to eat whilst watching some rubbish on the television - you know the sort of thing that's on TV on a Saturday night.

OK I do bring back the spices from dear old blighty as here in France they are rare and, if found, expensive (except for that awful pale yellow curry powder) but the rest is down to moi."

"I think that the onion bhajis found in the UK must have been created for that market, as I couldn't find anything similar in the traditional cookbooks. Not even in Madhur Jaffrey's books (my curry guru) did I find anything. So I searched the net for ideas and this is my own adaptation. Believe me, they are miles better than anything you can buy in a supermarket, or in many restaurants, and they freeze beautifully."


4 oz (110g) chick pea flour (also called gram flour or chana flour), sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 dsp lemon juice
Scant 1/4 pt water to mix
2 med onions
Oil for frying


  • Mix sifted flour, salt, soda and all the spices.
  • Add lemon juice.
  • Gradually add the water, as when making a batter and mix well. (You don't want the 'batter' to be too sloppy). Leave to stand for a few minutes.
  • Cut the onions in half lengthways and then cut into slices cross ways. Separate out the slices. Add the onions to the batter and fold in well.
  • In a large frying pan heat oil at a depth of about 1 inch (2.5cm). Place a tbsp of onion batter (tricky actually, because of the 'sticky out' onion bits, but you soon get the hang of it) in the hot oil and fry over a medium heat. Press to ensure that they are cooked inside. Cooking time is 3 - 4 minutes each side.
  • Drain on kitchen paper.


  • You can either serve straight away, or leave to cool and reheat in a hot oven (200°C, 400°F, gas mark 6) for 10 minutes.
  • The bhajis also freeze well when cold, and I always defrost before reheating, but you could experiment with cooking from frozen.

Recommended accompaniments:

Serves 4

Sue Brewer