Celebrating Diwali with a treasured family recipe

This year, Saturday 14 November is the third day of Diwali, the festival of lights. Celebrations take place over five days known as Dhanteras (Day of fortune), Naraka Chaturdashi (Day of knowledge), Diwali (Day of light), Annakut (New Year) and Bhai Duj (Day of love between siblings). Diwali is considered the main day of the festival but this year celebrations will be most likely be virtual, as Covid-19 restrictions mean that people cannot always be with their families and friends.

Diwali is the festival of new beginnings and the triumph of good over evil, and light over darkness. It’s certainly an occasion for wonderful curry feasts, delicious daals and many more fantastic recipes. My friend Fatima makes amazing onion bhajis for this occasion, among many other delights. She uses a treasured family recipe handed down through many generations. She remembers making them with her mum, who had learnt the recipe from her own mother.

What you need for these onion bhajis

100g gram flour
50g  self-raising flour
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp baking powder
1tsp salt (to taste)
½ tsp ground black pepper
1tsp garlic powder (to taste)
½ tsp chilli powder(to taste)
2 medium onions sliced
75g spinach chopped
4tbsp chopped coriander
2tbsp vinegar
250ml water (or enough to make the batter)
Cooking oil for deep frying

Onion Bhajis by VanessaC (EY) is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the sliced onions, chopped spinach and coriander with the dry ingredients. Add the vinegar and enough water to make a thick batter (so it’s like a very thick cream). Heat the oil in a deep pan. Gently drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and fry the onion bhajis until golden on both sides. When cooked, allow the onion bhajis to drain on kitchen paper.

Variations: Add thinly sliced potatoes or courgettes.

Serve with salad, chutney, pickles and yoghurt raita (your choice or all of them if you can’t decide).


More of Meryl’s Recipes:


I’m missing seeing my friend Fatima and her family in lockdown 2. Not only is she a good friend, but she also makes delicious biriyani, scrumptious samosas and mouth-watering puri when we visit. I’ll have to make do with memories of all that this year and hope I can taste her amazing cooking before too long.

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