Eat the Seasons… November

Butternut Squash & Onion Bhajis

Makes 14-16 Bhajis

Ingredients for the Madras Spice Mix:

  • 2 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1 tbsp Each of Cumin Seeds, Fenugreek Seeds, Yellow Mustard Seeds & Ground Turmeric
  • 5 Whole Dried Kashmir Chillies
  • 6 Whole Green Cardamom Pods
  • 1 tsp Medium Curry Powder

Ingredients for the Pumpkin Bhajis:

  • 1 Large Egg
  • 25ml Milk
  • 1 tsp Vegetable Oil, plus extra for deep-frying
  • 100g Butternut, peeled, deseeded & coarsely grated (prepared weight)
  • 50g Onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tsp Madras Spice Mix (ingredients above)
  • 50g Garam Flour
  • Sea Salt & Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • 2 Spring Onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp Chopped Coriander


  1. First, prepare the madras spice mix. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, add the mixed seeds, turmeric, dried chillies and cardamom pods and dry-toast for 1-2 minutes or until the spices are lightly toasted and their aroma wafts up from the pan, shaking the pan regularly to ensure that they do not catch and burn. Let the toasted spices cool and then grind them all together to a fine powder using a spice grinder.  Add the curry powder and mix well.  Keep the ground toasted spice mix in an airtight container or jar in a cool, dry cupboard for up to 1 month.  The leftover spice mix can be used for home-made Madras curries and soups.
  2. Prepare the butternut bhajis mixture. Whisk the egg, milk and 1-teaspoon oil together in a mixing bowl.  Add the squash, onion, spice mix, coriander, spring onions and salt and pepper and mix lightly to combine, then add the flour and stir to mix.
  3. Heat some vegetable oil in an electric deep fat frying or in a deep frying pan to a temperature of 1600C (or until a small piece of bread browns within 20 seconds in the hot oil). Once the oil is hot enough, place teaspoonful’s of the bhajis mixture into the hot oil and deep-fry for 4-6 minutes or until cooked, crisp and golden brown.   You will need to deep-fry the bhajis in two or three batches.  Using a slotted spoon, remove and drain the cooked bhajis on kitchen paper, season with salt, then keep warm while you cook the remainder.
  4. Serve the hot or warm bhajis as a starter with mango chutney and minted yoghurt, or serve as a fun accompaniment with pumpkin soup. As a snack, they are great for a drinks party – simply pile them into a bowl and serve warm.


You can email Suzanne with any comments or questions at