Monday, 19 April 2010

Gorgeously Spiced Aubergine Bhaji's with Chilli and mint dip - all Gluten, Wheat and Dairy free!

To follow up from the evening I spent with Sainsburys, Sainsbury’s kindly provided us with some of their Freefrom products and I held a mini dinner party with a friend who was recently diagnosed with a wheat, dairy and gluten intolerance (I was not aware of the yeast intolerance too at this point but just about scraped it!)

For starters, I made the most amazing Aubergine Bhaji's (fritters?). I do admittedly indeed love aubergines, and these were without blowing my own trumpet pretty awesome!! Crispy, flavoursome, omigod so good! Gluten, Wheat and Dairy free too! Definitely my new favourite thing to eat and faultless in taste. First time I've made anything like this and were so easy to make. I used the same batter mix a few days later just on thinly sliced onions, soaked in milk and lemon, then coated in the batter and it worked deliciously on them too!

These are best eaten freshly cooked but I won’t deny the scraps were eaten cold, much later on with glee still in my heart! For our main course I adapted an Ainsley Harriott recipe for Sinhalese Prawns (think Nepalese style of cooking?) but using freefrom spaghetti. If I was making this again (which I probably will!), I would go easy on the lemon juice as it was a little overpowering, maybe just try half and add more to taste. The Freefrom pasta did break up a little but not in a bad way. It did have a slight powdery taste but overall the dish was still enjoyable and a good substitute for ordinary spaghetti.

Finally for pudding, I made individual hot cross bread and butter pudding which were quite tasty considering they were gluten, wheat and dairy free! Recipes for both will follow in my next posts.

Thank you to ever patient friend Matt who opened the windows when the oil started foaming over the saucepan – note to use a large pan – switching pans mid frying is very unadvisable! Oh and of course for guinea pigging it all and saying nice things about the food!

Aubergine Bhajis

Makes about 10

Deep fat fryer not essential – I filled a large, deep saucepan with 1 inch vegetable oil

Batter recipe adapted from Indian: Simple ways to success by Das Sreedharan

1 medium aubergine, about 250g
1 small onion, finely sliced
100g gram flour (chick pea flour)
50g Doves Farm Gluten & Wheat free white flour blend
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, shredded
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves, shredded
Pinch turmeric
Pinch salt
½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp chilli powder - add more to taste if desired
200ml sparkling water, cold
4 tbsp table salt

Firstly, dice the aubergine into 1cm cubes, place in a large sieve, sprinkle over the table salt and leave for at least 15 minutes, this will help draw out some of the juices. Rinse well in water and dry in a clean cloth.

In a bowl, mix the flours and seasonings, slowly add the water, until you have a nice smooth batter. Add the onion and drained aubergine, coat well.

Heat the oil, drop a little batter in to test – it should colour nicely within a minute and float to the top, needs to be hot!

Carefully spoon in the batter, in batches, leaving plenty of space and fry each fritter for a couple of minutes or until nicely browned, turning over if necessary and then place on lots of kitchen paper to drain.

Serve with the dip. Oh and try to resist eating them all.

Chilli mint dip

Makes 1 serving – multiply as needed

1 red chilli
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves

Heat everything together in a small pan and boil for about 10 minutes or until lightly thickened, allow to cool and serve with the fritters.


  1. I love aubergines too - shame hubby doesn't share enthusiasm!! I've never heard of anybody with a yeast intolerance

  2. Oh they do look and sound good. I have a great love for the aubergine.

  3. These look amazing. And I love the dip, as well. I can see me making these at the weekend. Thanks for the recipe.

  4. I adore aubergine - they look really crispy too!
    When I started reading this, I was desperate to see a pic, you tease for putting it in at the end, lol!

  5. They look fantastic, Anne... another must-do recipe from you!

  6. Helen - I am sure they have something addictive in them, every time I eat aubergine I want more!

    Beth - My boyfried hates aubergines too, I made onion bhajis though for him which were very good too! The yeast thingy is new to me too!

    Angie - It was the first time I've made a dip like this and pretty pleased with my experiment, hope you enjoy both recipes!

    Nic - Ah well you see, I had to save the best till last! There are more drool over pictures but waiting for them to be emailed as my camera died on me! These are perfect for an aubergine addiction!

    Wendy - thanks, hope you try and love them! :)

  7. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll give these a go (as an onion bhajia) - they look immense! :)


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