If there is one appetizer that I always order at Indian restaurants, it’s onion bhaji. Then I will have a Dal Palak, vegetable korma, or baingan bharta. What are your favorite Indian vegan dishes folks?!
Back to this recipe, traditionally these fried chickpea flour balls are packed with onions and spices. Since Brussel sprouts are in season I thought it would be nice to tweak the recipe a bit and swap out onions for Brussel sprouts. These flavorful bhaji are crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and packed with shaved Brussel Sprouts. Plus it’s served with a creamy mint yogurt dipping sauce.
Making these bhaji will take you less than 30 minutes from start to finish. The base of the batter is chickpea flour, also called besan. It has a light yellow color and a subtle beany flavor when raw.
Then comes the spices: garam masala, turmeric, chili powder for a hint of heat, and finally fenugreek. You start by mixing the flour, spices, and salt, and then add water until a thick batter forms.
Once your batter is ready you stir in the shaved Brussel sprouts and mix until well combined. To shave Brussel sprouts I used a food processor fitted with a thin slicing blade, you can also use a mandolin, or a knife if you are feeling courageous.
Brussel sprouts can be quite bitter if not cooked properly, to reduce their bitterness we will first blanch them for 3-4 minutes in boiling water. A teaspoon of maple syrup in the batter will also help reduce the bitter taste even more. Blanching is optional, if you want to save time you can use Brussel sprouts as is but I found blanching them results in better flavor and texture.
Finally, you shape the batter into balls, fry them until golden brown, and serve hot with the creamy mint yogurt sauce!
These bhaji make a great appetizer, they are rich in flavor thanks to the spices, and slightly crunchy with the shaved Brussel sprouts. The mint yogurt sauce pairs very well with the bhaji, adding a touch of freshness.
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Brussel Sprouts Bhaji
- 2 cups shaved Brussel sprouts (see notes)
- 3/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek leaves
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- about 2 cups oil for frying
Mint Yogurt Sauce
- 1 cup non-dairy yogurt
- 1/4 cup fresh mint
- 1/4 tsp salt (or more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
Brussel Sprouts Bhaji
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, blanch the shaved Brussel sprouts for 3 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
- Combine the chickpea flour, spices, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the water, maple syrup, and mix using a wooden spoon until well combined. You will get a thick batter. If it looks too thin, add more chickpea flour.
- Stir in the shaved Brussel sprouts. Mix well until all the Brussel sprouts are incorporated into the batter. Using your hands, shape 6-7 balls (about 2 tbsp of batter per ball). Place them on a plate lined with parchment paper.
- In a medium-size saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once hot, carefully drop the balls into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the balls from time to time for even cooking.
- Once golden brown, transfer to a plate lined with paper kitchen towel to drain excess oil. Serve immediately with the mint yogurt sauce.
Mint Yogurt Sauce
- Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust salt if needed.
To shave Brussel sprouts: I recommend using a food processor fitted with a thin slicing disk, or a mandolin.
Nutritional information is just an estimate, it doesn’t take into account the frying.
- Serving Size: 1 Bhaji ball
- Calories: 52
- Sugar: 2.2g
- Fat: 0.7g
- Carbohydrates: 8.8g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 3.1g