Alright, everyone, I’ve been working on this silly little recipe for quite a while now and I’m finally able to show it to you:
My take on the onion bhaji “scotch eggs” that I used to grab from local food markets, before the world got plunged into chaos by this pandemic. An indian classic on the outside, yet oh so gooey and british within:
Delicious with any number of different chutneys, tamarind sauces and green chilli products. Or simply dripping with its own yolk.
To make this fun fusion food, you will need:
1 onion (any colour)
2 green bird’s eye chillies
65g gram (chickpea) flour + more for coating eggs.
65g plain flour
4 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
And about a litre of vegetable oil, to cook in.
It’s a lot, I know, but these snacks are large and you can’t shallow fry them or cheat it, like I do my mozzarella sticks. I’d recommend making up a bunch at once, for efficient use of the oil.
And I’d also recommend using the indian kanthari mulaku, if you can, since it’s the most culturally and flavourfully appropriate pepper. But don’t worry if you can’t get hold of that, since several other varieties, like thai rawit and african peri peri, taste remarkably similar.
Not identical, of course, but close enough that supermarkets sell all three under the same “bird’s eye” name and often get different ones in, throughout the year. So it’s more important that you get them green, to complement the flavours of the chickpeas and spices, than which peppers you actually pick.
You could even use generic indian finger chillies, if you’d prefer less of a kick.
For now though, set your chillies of choice aside and prepare a bowl full of cold water. So that we can start cooking the eggs. You’ll want that bowl at the ready, once they’re soft-boiled, so that you can stop them from continuing to cook through and hardening the yolk.
Then, with that at hand, fill a saucepan with more water and turn up the heat as far as it’ll go. Adding the eggs right away. They’ll need a good eight minutes, before they’re done, and then another five to ten to cool, in order to stay together when we’re peeling them.
So, once you’ve fished out the cooked eggs and plopped them into their water bath, it’s time to get started on the bhaji batter.
For that, combine the flours, spice mix baking powder and salt in a bowl, before turning the whole lot into a paste with three hundred mil of water. Chop in your chillies, nice and fine and without the seeds, then add the onion and stir the whole lot through.
Ideally you want your onion something like this:
Cut into rings and then halved for more manageable slices. Though a little thinner might be even better.
Then the batter’s ready, so we can start heating up the oil. For which I’d strongly recommend a second pan.
But, as long as you follow that simple precaution, you should be all good. Heating oil is as simple as turning on the hob and you can test the temperature with a small drop of the batter.
If bubbles form around it within just a few seconds, the oil is at the point we need and, hopefully, so too are the eggs, by now.
If they’re cool, dry them off and crack their shells gently, using the back of a spoon. Peel them carefully, taking care not to take off too much of the egg with its shell, and then roll them in your extra gram flour. In order to help the batter stick.
Dunk the lightly-coated eggs into that batter now but do so gently and use a spoon. That way you don’t have to apply pressure when you remove them and you can easily ensure that every egg gets its fair share of onion.
Gently drop each one into your oil and allow two minutes, per side, for their surfaces to crisp up and brown. Before dabbing them on some kitchen towel and serving them up, alongside any excess batter bits.
They’ll need a moment to cool before you can eat them but, when you do, they’re crisp, yet fluffy on the outside and delightfully gooey within.
Full of earthy chickpea and spices to complement that delicious, oozing core, while the zing of the onion and chillies counterpoint the egg’s mild, refreshing whites.
I thought that this snack was absurd, the first time that I saw it, but it’s more than just a novelty. The flavours come together beautifully and the high medium
heat of my peri peri pepper version only improves the experience. Striking the sides of my mouth and throat, as I swallow, then fading away to a lingering warmth.
And I thoroughly enjoy having their dark, green chilli taste in the mix, as well.
Or, if you’d prefer something sweeter and more fruit-forward, how about one of these mango chutneys?
Whether you like to dip or prefer to eat your scotch bhajis the way that they are, they’re definitely worth the effort.