Chef Cardoz’s recipe for onion bhajis (or bhajais) mentioned in The Hundred-Foot Journey.
-Three red onions, Julienne cut
-1.5 cups of gram flour (besan chickpea flour)
-One green, finely diced chili pepper
-Ten stalks of cilantro, the hard stalk ends removed and the rest diced
-Pinch of crushed awajain seeds (substitute: thyme)
-1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Julienne the red onions vertically, producing a pile of crescent-shaped onion slivers. Place the onions into a mixing bowl, and add the finely diced chili and cilantro, plus crushed awajain seeds (or thyme), turmeric, and salt. Mix onions and spices with your hands. In a separate small bowl, add the chickpea flour and a bit of water, little at a time, constantly kneading the mixture with your fingers until you have created a thick paste. (The onions provide more liquid, so do not make it too watery.) Add the thickened paste to the bowl of onions, and toss with your hands, until the onions are well coated in batter. Heat a pot of canola oil on the stove. Test the hot oil, by using your right hand to pinch together a clump of onions and lowering it just above the oil before the final drop (so it doesn’t splash.) Oil is the right temperature if the battered onion clump immediately bobs to the surface. Cook for a few minutes, until the bhajis are golden brown, then lift and drain on paper towels. They should look a bit like Medusa heads; the outside should be crunchy, the inside soft and gooey and fresh-tasting. If you want to make the bhajis before guests arrive, then cook the bhajis only until lightly golden before setting them aside and draining them on paper. When the guests arrive, quickly cook the bhajis in hot oil again for a couple of minutes, until golden-brown. Drain, blot, and serve. Serve bhajis with a sweet-tart tamarind chutney or garlic chutney found in any Asian food store. Recipe makes 12-15 bhajis.