Kanda Bhajji - Onion Fritters

(Link to Marathi Recipe)

College life reminds me of the great pleasures for Tapari Chai and Kanda Bhaji. Most of the college campuses in those days had similar look and feel to it. Main gate and lots of small shops called Taparis along he college fence. You could smell the deep fried goodies like Kanda bhaji, Batata Vada around 4pm. That was the time when students and professors would go to get the daily dose of afternoon tea. These shops had limited menu. Morning they would serve tea, coffee, pohe, upama, cream roles, Parle G biscuits. Some would make fresh omelets per order.  Sabudana khichdi served on some religious fasting days and that's about it! Tea was served through out the day, mostly by adding more tea-sugar-milk-water to the same old concoction! If someone is too keen to get the fresh batch, they had to special order and wait until its made. Stores usually run by the owner and a helper and every patron got they asked for without writing the order and in the most chaotic times! At the time tea was Rs.2 per glass, Pohe-Upama  Rs.3 per plate, Kanda bhaji 5 bhajis in a plate for Rs.2, perfect for on-budget students.


I am sure things have changed drastically now. I recently went to my old university and saw our usual Tapri is no longer there. Neighborhood looked very different! I don't know where do the college kids go to get their daily dose of afternoon tea.

I learned this Kanda Bhajji recipe from one of these shop vendors, he was kind enough to share secrets of not using baking soda. Even though I love these so much, I rarely make them. Recently my sister-in-law made it for my father on his birthday and I took chance to take some nice photographs. Her recipe is exactly same as mine.

2 cups Thinly Sliced Red Onion 
2-3 tsp Red Chili Powder (or per taste)
2 tsp Salt (or per taste)
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Ajwain (Carrom Seeds/Bishop's Weed)
2-3 cups Chick Pea Flour/Besan (as needed)
1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro
Water (if and only if needed)

Oil for Deep Frying

Kanda Bhajji Batter

Preparation -
Layer sliced onion in a plate, sprinkle little bit of salt and let it stand for 15-20 minutes. If the mixture is too juicy, gently drain extra juices. If not, add crushed ajwain, red chili powder and mix well.
Start adding chick pea flour little bit at a time. Add more salt if needed.
Mix the batter well. Consistency of the batter should not be watery but you should be able to make fritters with spoon.
Heat oil in frying pan, drop little bit of batter, it should sizzle and float on top of the oil.
Now add 2-3 tbsp hot oil with the ready batter, mix thoroughly.
Carefully drop 4-5 fritters in hot oil and deep fry until golden brown.
Enjoy while piping hot to warm with hot cup of tea on a rainy afternoon.


These beauties are on their way to MLLA-53 currently hosted by Simona and is brainchild of Susan

Tips - 
  1. These are also known as Khekda (crab) bhaji because of their shape. 
  2. We also add green chili-garlic-ginger paste instead of red chili powder. It tastes amazing too.
  3. Add just 2-3 tbsp rice flour, it gives nice crunch to the fritters.


  1. Gosh these look good! I have made kanda bhajji very few times, but one of these days I should. So do you not add any water to the batter?

    1. ET, that is bit a tricky question. If onion is too dry and does not yield enough juices, you will need to add bit water. But I usually do not add any I use red onions and they are pretty juicy.

  2. Oh yes, that overboiled, oversweet chai -- but it tasted so good! I am craving those bhajias, Mints! Good tip about not adding water unless absolutely necessary. Also, adding a little rice flour to the batter makes them super-crispy.

  3. Your story reminded me of a Sicilian dish called panelle, a type of chickpea flour fritters. They were introduced to me as students' food, because of their filling qualities. Your sister's fritters look very nice. Thank you so much for contributing to My Legume Love Affair!

  4. Crunchy and delightful, Mints. There really is a fine art to frying, and your bhajji would get gobbled up before they got a moment to cool from the hot fat.

  5. This looks soooo good, my kind of meal! Thanks for the recipe.


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