Tuesday 1 October 2013

It's been a good season for zucchini. Then again, when is it not a good season for zucchini? This year, I thought I was prepared for them. Well, sort of prepared... I did not reckon for all the ones from the farms and neighbours coming in to me as well. Its like I was taken over by the giant zucchini monsters... and there are SO MANY of them... I even ran out of space to put them in. Aaargh... zucchini, help.

So they now live in a cooler somewhere in the kitchen and I try not to look too hard for them. I am going to have to sort them out soon enough, but for now, out of sight, out of mind.


The one thing that I did do with my early ones was grate them all and pop them into the freezer. I was thinking about these Lemon Zucchini Cookies when I was doing that. But then I realised that they would work perfectly for these bhajis too. So now my zucchinis are doing a happy dance, because not only do they get made into cookies, but there's nothing better than hot, crispy zucchini onion bhajis with a steaming cup of chai on a cloudy, grey autumn morning.

I can live with that. Take that, Mr. Over-proliferating Zucchini.

These bhajis are an adaptation of my onion bhajis. The sliced onion adds a nice hint of sweetness to these delicately spiced morsels. I served them with a lemon cilantro mint chutney that cuts through the richness of these bhajis.

(Printable Recipe)

For the Zucchini and Onion Bhajis

2 medium zucchini, coarsely grated (around 750g total weight)
2 tablespoons kosher or coarse sea salt
1 medium onion, thinly sliced 
1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (gram flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon mild chilli powder (or 1/2 teaspoon hot cayenne pepper)
More salt to taste
1/4 cup water, if required
Unscented oil to deep fry (I used canola) 

Lemon Cilantro - Mint Chutney 

Large handful fresh cilantro
Large handful fresh mint
Juice of one large lemon + extra to taste
1/4 cup water (as required to blend)
Salt to taste


Place the grated zucchini in a large bowl and sprinkle over the kosher salt. Stir well and leave for about an hour. Drain and rinse the zucchini well, squeeze out the excess water, then place in a bowl.

Add the onion, chickpea flour, baking soda, whole and ground cumin, coriander, chili powder and salt to taste.

Using your hands (beware, this is messy) or a spatula, mix everything together very well, until it comes together as a very thick batter. Add a splash of water too loosen the batter, if it feels too stiff.

Heat the oil in a deep pot to 350 F. Using a tablespoon measure, gently drop in small balls of the zucchini-onion bhaji batter into the hot oil. Fry, turning every so often for 4 - 5 minutes, or until the bhajis are golden brown and cooked through.

Lift the bhajis out, using a slotted spoon, and drain well on kitchen paper. Serve hot with the lemon-cilantro-mint chutney.

To make the chutney, blitz together all the ingredients until smooth, using just enough water to blend. Taste and season with more lemon juice and salt, if required. This chutney is quite fresh and tangy, so load up on the lemon juice, if you like it.


  1. Sending you so many hugs, Michelle. I can only imagine how hard it is right now, but I'm confident that you'll eventually find comfort instead of sadness when you think of all those wonderful dishes that are tied up with her memory.

  2. Much love to you right now, Michelle. Your Grandma lives on in you with your love of cooking and with all of the wonderful recipes and memories that you got from her. I am sure that she was more proud of you than you would ever believe.

  3. sending you lots of prayers..I hope you will be able to remember her through delicious dishes..XOXO

  4. I can imagine the loss of Mai. Sending you prayers from my family and me.. SHe will always be with you by way of her dishes that you recreate. XOXO

  5. So sorry to hear that your grandmother has passed. Sending gentle hugs your way. Take some time for yourself and your family and cherish the memories.

  6. Living in India, I enjoy this lovely dish in the monsoon season. It feels awesome. You have added you own twist to this classic recipe.

  7. I love the concept of this recipe and can see how with less salt these would be awesome. But as us, we could barely eat them. Next time I'll cut the salt in half.

    1. Hi Jay, did you rinse out the salt, as instructed first? The salt is to draw out the water in the zucchini so that its not overly wet.

  8. Zucchini is good for health and this is really great recipe to make.

  9. Just made these - they are really great! Highly recommended!


I love hearing back from my friends and readers. Please let me know how you liked this post, and if you would consider making this recipe, or have already made it. Please take a moment to post pictures on my Facebook page, if you do happen to take a couple :)

Please note, that due to the enormous amount of spam comments I've been getting, I am re-enabling comment moderation. Your comment will be visible on approval. Apologies in advance.