Recipe: Vegetable Bhajis and Jamie Oliver Love

by Cate on April 26, 2010

Veggie overload courtesy of Jamie Oliver.

Bhajis Plated with Lemon and Lime

I love Jamie Oliver.  No matter that he is married.  Or soon to be the father of four.  Or that he lives across the pond.  I love his spirit.  His exuberance.  His passion.  My mom and I were lucky enough to go to two events that he did years ago.  One was a book signing where he discussed a new cookbook of his.  The second was another book signing, but he also cooked a few dishes and played drums.  Yup.  Played drums.  His personality in person is exactly what you see on tv.  Full of life and positivity.  Full of quick movements, rapidfire speech and an easy smile.

And now, if you didn’t know much about him before, it’s hard to avoid him now that he’s brought his change-what-kids-eat-for-lunch campaign to US schools.  And none too soon.   Last year, Nick’s school actually had a Burger King day every week.  Followed by a Pizza Hut day.  And a Subway day.  Weekly.  Ick.  Probably don’t need to tell you that I was sending lunch from home most days, thankyouverymuch.

I bought Jamie’s newest cookbook, Jamie’s Food Revolution, a few months back and have been slowly working my way through it.  Much like his “naked chef” persona, Jamie is still keeping the focus on the ingredients, making them the star of the meal without weighing it down with unnecessary extras.  Simple, healthy, delicious meals that you can easily make from scratch.  Meals that you can feel good about serving to your family (or yourself!), but don’t require an insane list of ingredients that you’ll never use again.

Friday morning, I flipped through the cookbook and flagged a few recipes to try that night.  All the sudden, the whole dinner was Jamie Oliver, and I started with Vegetable Bhajis.  They’re Indian vegetable fritters.  Packed with veggie goodness and fried for a moment or two.  Like totally OMG good.  Once they’re done, you sprinkle with a little bit of salt and squeeze a little bit of lemon or lime juice over them.  Crispy delicious goodness.  You must make them.  You simply must.  That might be an order.

As I took more and more out of the pan, I called Jamie and The Neighbors to come over and grab a few while they were hot.  They were that good.  Just a word of note before you make them … as much as I love these, they really need to be eaten right away.  This is not really a good item for reheating.

Vegetable Bhajis - Finished

I mentioned that I made them to a friend of mine, who is Indian, and she said they’re also delicious using spinach or chopped up pieces of cauliflower.  When Jamie came over tonight, she was scrounging in the refrigerator, looking for more of them, so we’re going to try another version later this week.

Make them.  You’ll love Jamie Oliver as much as I do.

Project 365
April 26, 2010, Photo #83

Party Time
I had a party on Saturday. There was Mom Juice. ‘Nuff said.

Vegetable Bhajis
Recipe courtesy of Jamie’s Food Revolution

Bhajis are Indian vegetable fritters and a great thing to eat with your curry (especially after a few drinks!).  They should always be made fresh and be eaten immediately.   They can be made using all sorts of soft veggies – always keep onions in the mixture, but try adding grated yams or sweet potatoes, finely sliced bell peppers, leeks or even garbanzo beans instead of carrots.  It’s up to you whether to make your bhajis large or small.  A food processor or coarse grater is very handy for this recipe.

Serves 4-6

2 large carrots
a 4-inch piece of fresh root ginger (I used ginger paste)
2 medium red onions
2 – 3 fresh red chilies, to your taste (I skipped)
bunch of fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 heaped teaspoon cumin seeds (I used about a half teaspoon of ground cumin)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 heaped cup self raising flour
1 quart vegetable oil
a piece of potato
juice of 1 lemon
2 limes

Peel and finely grate of shred the carrots, ginger and red onions and put them into a large bowl.  Finely chop the chilies and add to bowl.  Roughly chop the cilantro leaves and stalks.  Add the mustard seeds, tumeric, cumin seeds, salt and chopped cilantro to the bowl.  Add the flour and 1/2 cup of cold water and scrunch together well, using your hands until you have a nice thick mixture.

It’s best to make these in a deep fat fryer, or you can put a large pan on a medium to high heat and add the oil.  Drop in a piece of potato – when it floats to the surface and begins to sizzle, the oil is the right temp.  Remove the potato using a slotted spoon.  Pick up a tablespoon of bhaji mixture, press it together tightly and carefully lower ity into the hot oil.  Repeat until you have several on the go.  Cook for 5 mins until crispy and golden.  Remove the cooked bhajis using your slotted spoon and put them on kitchen paper to drain.  Sprinkle with a little sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Repeat for the remaining mixture.  Serve with the lime cut into wedges and enjoy!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Merry120 April 26, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Yum! I love these when I go out and eat Indian food. I will have to make them soon though I try to stay away from fried things. I have been trying some of Jamie Oliver’s recipes & have been doing Food Revolution Fridays posts. I just bought his book Food Revolution & I can’t wait to make some of the recipes out of it.


Joanne April 27, 2010 at 6:14 am

I am in LOVE with Jamie as well! His show is one of the best on tv and I just love his message and determination to really change the status quo.

These bhajis look delicious. I love that they are filled with veggie goodness.


thecoffeesnob April 27, 2010 at 7:51 am

I’ve admittedly never caught on the Jamie Oliver craze, much as I applaud how he has revolutionized food in Britain. But these look and sound amazing- I have to give this a go!


Ramona April 27, 2010 at 11:56 am

They look very good and filled with veggies makes them a good dish to prepare.


mandy April 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm

These look delicious. A friend and I were just discussing Jamie Oliver over the weekend (I apparently live in a hole and had never really heard of him, but in my defense I dont really watch tv). I will definitely have to check out his cookbooks.


Jaimie April 27, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Jamie Oliver is the best!


Jen April 29, 2010 at 5:13 pm

I love Jamie Oliver! My daughter just gave me one of his cookbooks and I am excited to try out some recipes. This sounds incredible!


Hillary May 6, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I will make these! And guess what? Jamie O showed up in my dream last night …


Fran May 23, 2010 at 3:25 am

I have made these lots of times. Today I have added some olive oil to the recipe, and instead of frying them, I have baked them. They are fantastic, and a bit healthier than fried – although not entirely authentic.


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