Mark Greenaway Recipe: White onion velouté with onion bhaji

White onion velout� with onion bhaji. Picture: Paul Johnston
White onion velout� with onion bhaji. Picture: Paul Johnston
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Soup is a wonderful starter for a dinner party as it can be prepared in advance.

This leaves you more time to spend with your guests and less time stressing in the kitchen! It also makes a substantial stand-alone lunch.

Many think of soup as a simple dish but with a few wee tweaks and additions a humble bowl of soup can be transformed into an elegant and enticing course.

A velouté is a soup which is thickened with butter and cream. The result is luxuriously silky. Because of the richness from the cream and butter it is a good idea to use one simple flavour.

This week I am sharing my own recipe for white onion velouté with onion bhaji. The subtle flavour 
of the gently sweated onions marries perfectly with the rich and creamy base.

The onion bhaji adds a touch of heat to the dish as well as a complete contrast in texture, the smooth soup versus the crunchy bhaji.

I serve this dish with a drizzle of curry oil, some blackened onions and baby herbs. These are optional additions but really help to transform it into a striking starter.


Serves 4

For the velouté:

1kg white onions, peeled and thinly sliced

125g butter

Large sprig of thyme

500ml milk

500ml cream

500ml chicken stock


For the onion bhaji:

100g gram/chickpea flour

Half a medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced

Large pinch of paprika

Large pinch of curry powder

Pinch of black onion seeds (optional)

1 egg, beaten

Enough milk to bind

Oil for frying


For the velouté:

Gently sweat the onions and thyme in the butter with generous pinch of salt until softened but with no colour. This will take about 20 minutes.

Add the chicken stock, milk and cream and bring to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes.

Blend with a high speed blender until smooth and silky. Pass the velouté through a fine sieve.

This can all be done in advance and then heated through just before serving.

For the onion bhaji:

Mix all the dry ingredients with the egg and onion.

Add enough milk to make a sticky mixture.

Deep fry tablespoons of the mixture till they are a deep golden brown.

Top the bowls of velouté with the onion bhajis.