These are a step forward from the deep-fried favorites: they are healthier, more pleasant to cook, and just as tasty. I like to serve these with a fresh cilantro or mango chutney, or beet raita (see here).
½-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Indian green chile, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 pounds yellow onions
4 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chickpea flour
1¼ cups cilantro, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon ground red chile
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking pans with lightly oiled foil. Put the ginger, green chile, and cumin seeds into a mortar and pestle along with a small pinch of salt, bash to a coarse paste, and leave to one side.
Peel and halve the onions, then slice them into very thin (1/8-¼ inch) half-moon shapes. Put the oil into a large frying pan over medium heat and, when hot, add the onions. Fry for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’re translucent and just soft enough to cut with a wooden spoon.
Put the onions into a bowl and add the ginger, green chile, and cumin paste, along with the chickpea flour, cilantro, ground red chile, ground coriander, turmeric, lemon juice, and 1½ teaspoons of salt. Mix thoroughly and, little by little, add up to 2 tablespoons of water, until you have a very thick batter.
Take a tablespoon of the mixture and drop it onto a pan. Repeat with the rest of the mix, leaving an inch or so between each bhaji.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the bhajis start to crisp up and brown on top. Remove from the oven—you may need to gently lever them off the foil using a palette knife—and place on a plate alongside some chutney before devouring.