Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Onion bhaji | Ulli vada | Onion fritters | Kukskitchen

Ulli vada has always been a childhood favourite. My earliest memories are eating those ginormous ulli vadas bought from Mariana bakery in Kowdiar in Trivandrum (Capital city of Kerala) near St. Santhal school. I did my UKG (reception) there. The ulli vadas they make are simply out of this world. What makes them special is the crispy out side and the firm tasty inside with out much flour in them.

Traditionally gram flour is used as the base. Over the years I have used several combinations and improvised a lot on the proportions and contents to achieve that taste which my palate acquired at age 4-5.  Adding rice flour was a landmark and it gave the vadas a gorgeous crisp which stayed longer. Coming to UK introduced me to a gooey mess the supermarkets call onion bhaji. They are (in my opinion) a shame to the cuisine.

Today I share with you my ulli vada recipe. A malayalam version of my recipe can be found in അമ്മച്ചിയുടെ അടുക്കള.

A few things before we start:

  • If you can get curry onions (pink onions) to make these bhajis.
  • Use as less flour and water to make the dough.
  • It is very important to get the temperature of the oil right. Too hot and they will fry too fast and remain raw inside and gooey. Too cold and the results will be oily and soft.

Onion bhaji
ഉള്ളി വട 
Makes 8-10


1- Onions - 2 , thinly sliced
    Ginger - 1 inch piece, thinly sliced
    Garlic - 2 cloves, thinly sliced
    Curry leaves - 5-6
2- Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
    Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
    Gram flour - 6 tbsp
    Rice flour - 3 tbsp
    Fennel seeds -  1/2 tsp
3- Coriander leaves - one handful, chopped fine
    Green chilli - 1, fine chopped
4- Salt to taste
5- Oil to deep fry


  • Heat enough oil in a deep frying pan.
  • Mix (1) together and squeeze between fingers to make the onions soft and dry off any excess water using a kitchen towel.
  • Mix in (2) and stir well to combine. Add a few drops of water if you feel the mix is not coming together. 
  • Finally mix (3) to the above and stir to coat well.
  • When the oil is hot reduce the heat to medium.
  • Wet your hands with cold water and shape tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture into balls.
  • Drop into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, then stir carefully to stop them sticking together or to the bottom of the pan. Cook for about four minutes, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden, then drain on a paper towel and put in the oven (50 degrees) to keep warm while you cook the next batch.

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Thank you xx

Sherin Deepu

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  1. Crispy and tempting snack with cup of hot tea!!

  2. My Mom used to make this when we were young, but now she doesn't make it. I once tried and it didn't come out this crispy. I will try your version. Looks really yummy!!

    1. Dear Shibi

      Please do. The trick is to squeeze out all the water from cut onion and adding as little water as possible. Let me knwo how it turns out dear.



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