Onion Bhajis with Lime Pickle Recipe

Thinly slice your onions and toss them with a mix of flours, ginger, chile, and turmeric for a better version of onion rings.
December 29, 2017, 12:00am
Onion Bhajis with Lime Pickle Recipe
Photo by Farideh Sadeghin

Making the lime pickles is quite a time-consuming process, so let's make a big batch while we're at it.

Servings: 6 (about 28 bhajis)
Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 2 ½ weeks (for the pickles)


for the lime pickles:
2 pounds|900 grams limes, cut into 8 pieces (about 14 limes)
¾ cup|115 grams kosher salt
½ cup|60 grams chili powder
40 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
⅔ cup|160 ml vegetable oil
¼ cup|25 grams white cumin seeds
3 tablespoons black mustard seeds
½ teaspoon asafoetida (optional)

for the onion bhajis:
canola oil, for frying
½ cup|75 grams wheat flour
½ cup|75 grams tempura flour
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
3 tablespoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 green chilies, minced
3 pounds|1 kilogram 360 grams white onions, thinly sliced (about 5)
1 cup|230 grams mayonnaise
½ cup lime pickle


  1. Make the lime pickle: In a large bowl, toss the limes, salt, chili powder, and garlic, pressing down on them as you do. Place in a steamer and steam until soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a glass bowl and cover with a towel. Place in a warm place for 2 days, mixing every 8 hours.
  3. After 2 days, heat the oil over medium-high until a thermometer reaches 375°F|190°C. Add in the cumin, mustard, and asafoetida and cook until the seeds begin to pop, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture over the limes and stir well. Cover with a towel and leave for another 2 days, stirring every 8 hours.
  4. Transfer the limes to a food processor and process until chunky. Transfer to a sterilized container and let sit in a cool place for at least 2 weeks before using.
  5. Make the onion bhajis: Heat 3-inches of oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 325°F|160°C.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the flours, cilantro, ginger, turmeric, salt, chilies, and 1 ½ cups|350 ml water until smooth. Add the onions and mix to coat.
  7. Working in batches and using a ¼ cup measure or just a small handful, form the onions into a rough ball and place in the oil. Cook, turning as needed, until dark golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bhajis to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
  8. Mix the mayonnaise and the lime pickle in a small bowl. Serve with the onion bhajis and garnish with the cilantro.

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