The Red Hot Chilli Cookbook by Dan May – Green Chilli Bhajis

by Hot Juan on April 2, 2012 · 1 comment

in Recipes

These exotic and tasty bhajis are wonderfully adaptable. I have never been a fan of making food that is absurdly hot but I have, on occasion, been tempted to do so with these! Substituting the mild green chillies for deseeded and shredded green Habaneros makes a bhaji that will live long in anyone’s memory – despite its delicious flavour, the intense heat can limit table conversation a little!

Makes about 16

Green Chilli Bhajis

Green Chilli Bhajis


  • 500 ml/2 cups sunflower oil
  • 4 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 4 tablespoons nigella (black onion) seeds
  • 4 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 4 tablespoons fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole cloves
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3–4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5-cm/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 100 g/3½ oz. mild green chillies, finely chopped
  • 60 g/¼ cup plain whole yogurt
  • grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes
  • 250 g/2 cups gram (chickpea) flour
  • 250 g/2 cups cornflour/ cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons hot curry powder (either Madras or Malay-style citrusy)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Caramelized lime, mint & yogurt dip
  • 1 teaspoon groundnut oil
  • 1 lime, quartered, plus extra lime zest, to garnish
  • 300 g/1¼ cups plain yogurt
  • a few fresh mint leaves
  • cooking thermometer (optional)


To make the caramelized lime, mint & yogurt dip, heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the lime quarters and fry each cut side until the surface begins to develop a strong colour. It can be useful to push the lime onto the hot surface of the pan to speed this process – this will force out a little more of the juice, aiding the caramelization. Mix the yogurt and a pinch of black pepper in a small bowl. Squeeze the juice from the caramelized limes into the bowl. Take half the mint leaves and roughly tear them, then add to the bowl, too. Stir, then garnish with the rest of the lime leaves and a little lime zest. Set aside.

Put the sunflower oil in a large saucepan. Heat until it reaches 190?C (375?F) on a cooking thermometer. If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, the oil is ready when a 2.5-cm/1-inch cube of white bread dropped into it browns in less than 60 seconds.

Meanwhile, toast all the seeds and the cloves in a hot, dry frying pan over medium heat until the seeds start to pop. Grind them using a pestle and mortar. Put the ground spices along with all the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix. Gradually add 250 ml/1 cup water until the final mixture is firm but will drop from a spoon.

Place about 3 separate tablespoonfuls of the bhaji mix in the hot oil and fry for about 8 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the bhajis from the pan using a slotted spoon and let drain on kitchen paper/ paper towels before serving. Continue to cook the remaining bhajis in batches and keep the already cooked bhajis warm until needed.

Serve with the caramelized lime, mint & yogurt dip.

Dan’s Tip: For a fiery option, use Indian Green Finger, green Bird’s Eye or even green Habanero.

This recipe comes from the Red Hot Chilli Cookbook by Dan May which we reviewed last month, that is published Ryland Peters & Small. The images are the copyright of Ryland Peters & Small.

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