Quick and easy lunch-time meals can often be a challenge, especially when time is short. These Broccoli Bhajis can be prepared in advance and are an excellent option for a lunch box, snack pot or ‘grab and go’ lunch. The recipe provides another way to incorporate nutrient dense veggies into the diet.
Broccoli is packed with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins – including vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate and vitamin K. Being a member of the cruciferous family, broccoli also supports the body in its detoxification processes.
Onions likewise are a good source of vitamin C, and the B vitamins, and properties known to fight bacteria. They are a concentrated source of a flavonoid antioxidant called quercetin. Since quercetin has anti-inflammatory properties, it may be beneficial those suffering with allergies, while also helping decrease heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure. Another ‘plus’ for onions is their content of prebiotic fibre – a food source for all the beneficial bacteria in your gut that you want to thrive.
If your children (or you) are picky about onions, then leave them out and combine broccoli with cauliflower. You can also play around with the spices. The ingredients for my Broccoli Bhajis use mild spices, and you can increase or decrease these according to taste. Alternatively, if you aren’t a spice-lover, omit the spices and add some fresh herbs. A tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander or parsley provides freshness, or adding marjoram or oregano will bring a Mediterranean twist.
Broccoli Bhajis provide an excellent egg-free meal, since the traditional Indian way to prepare the dish is to use chickpea flour. This is generally sold as gram flour, or Besan, although Besan can sometimes refer to lentil flour. If the Besan you can find is from lentils, then this works equally well.
I have found the secret to good bhajis is not to use too much of the chickpea flour. You want to use the least possible amount you can get away with, that still holds the vegetables together. This roughly works out as a level tablespoon of chickpea flour for each cup of raw vegetables used. It is always best to add less gram flour than you think you will need, and add a little more if necessary. I do have a tendency to over-do it, which produces a stodgier Bhaji. This is fine if you like them filling, but since my emphasis is to increase vegetables, I generally prefer a lighter end-product.