Rains and bhajiyas are a splendid pair or should we say a match made in heaven. But monsoons in Nagpur are seeing a delay this year. Yet, with the late arrival of monsoon does it dampen our fritters eating habit ? I would say no.
The slightest hint of clouds and a drizzle is enough for us to set our cozy corners with trays of chaa and bhajiya. When friends and relatives visit your house; the easiest hot snack you offer are tea and some bhajiyas.
Even though bhajiyas are the simplest snack recipe out there, they are also versatile. Its simplicity in essence is what lends the versatility to it.
Let me explain, bhajiyas are – any edible stuff + batter+ deep frying or sometimes shallow frying.
The edible stuff can be anything veg, non-veg, vegetable, fruit, crushed, smashed, sliced, ground, cooked, raw, leftover etc we then coat it in a batter of flour and liquid and then fry it in medium hot oil on a low flame till it is crispy from outside and fully cooked and soft from inside.
Please note, while we are defining it so simply and talking about its versatility, we must also understand it is nothing short of testing your cooking skills, not only in terms of techniques but also flavour and texture pairing. Because even though you can push boundaries, experiment new combinations you do not want to end up making a flavour fiasco.
The most important thing to understand is whosoever is enjoying the bhajiyas, it is to be had instant hot off the flame or while still hot to enjoy all the crispy deep-frying goodness.
We know that fritters around the world come coated in different batters. But what defines Indian pakoras, bhajjis, bhajiyas, bora, chop etc and especially most Gujrati bhajiyas are that they are coated in spiced and leavened chickpea a.k.a Besan flour batter and deep fried in hot oil on medium flame stirring occasionally till soft and well-cooked from inside and golden from outside. So, the bhajiyas that we are preparing for this blog post are the quintessential Gujrati bhajiyas. They are not only yummy to eat and easy to make but pocket friendly too.
Although we all look forward to enjoying fried snacks in the wet rainy atmosphere, we must take care to enjoy them in right proportion using fresh washed ingredients, blanching green vegetables when needed and using the right oil. This way it not only improves your experience of enjoying bhajiyas with loved ones and giving you a sense of pleasure, the additional weight gain is also a guilt free occasion.
Deep frying stuff coated in a crispy batter who would say no to something like that. Hell, I would eat karela properly treated in form of pakoras too.
Well researching more about this simple question, I really found out that Gujaratis make bhajiyas out of karela too it is known as karela na khalva. I am not an expert at that or never had seen my family make it. Excited to learn something new so sharing the proper links of video recipes that I found to be perfect to try out.
Karela khalva by
Tiny little secret-The pakoras I crave so much were not an exciting part of my liking in teen years and found them to be too boring and yes, no tea too. Now chai pakora is that flavourful combination which heightens up each sense. Sensing tiny happiness in a such a simple recipe .
- Flavourful Warm steam filling your mouth. Check.
- Fat and flavours lining your lips and palate. Check.
- A cooked through bite. Check.
- Hint of spices in and crispiness of batter. Check.
- Amazing texture variations from the food to fried batter. Check.
- And most important in our lists of checks-The fiery salted chillies.
Promising not to eat and you end up eating after each bite and the nonstop cycle of chilli and chutney dipped pakora bites continuous only broken to be beautifully enhanced by a sip of tea
Each household, state, communities have their quintessential range of bhajiyas or pakoras. You might know an ample variety but end up making your house staples most of the time.
And my house staples are
- Aloo na bhajiya (Sliced potato fritters)
- Pakka Kela na bhajiya (Ripe banana fritters)
- Marcha na bhajiya (Large chilli fritters)
- Makai na bhajiya (Corn fritters)
We sometimes also make
- Arbi patta na bhajiya (Colocasia fritters)
(Black stemmed arbi leaves can also be cut potato sized and drenched in batter . We don’t usually make it but are also seasonal or the arbi roots your choice. We have arbi plant near our house so leaves are easily accessible. ) You can give it a try.
Or you can also make Patras- Do try out. Gujrati Patra.
Some tips for awesome homemade Gujrati bhajiyas.
- Use little rice flour for crispiness and lightness as in to avoid too much oil soaking.
- Use of cool water.
- Use heavy bottom kadhai.
- Use sieved Besan.
- Use Ajwain for digestion.
- Use little bit of hot oil if flakiness is needed it also avoids more oil to be absorbed .
- Use adequate oil and filled up to right size of kadhai (Indian wok) .
- Use oil with high smoke point.
- Vegetables need to be completely dry.
- Let batter rest for 15 minutes and add only needed soda at last moment.
- Don’t flip while batters still wet.
- Drain oil.
- Most important – a medium consistency. Consistency adjustments are the funniest experiences for newbies where they are lost in adjusting flour and water. Add water slowly while mixing.
You can check consistency by coating your spoon with batter and it should coat to know there is enough flour as too much water will lead to oil absorption , but liquid enough for it to be of coating flow consistency- one where ribbons are made and dissolve easily. Proper coating keeps the inside food soft and moist.
With all the knowledge out of the way we are ready to enjoy a plate full of bhajiyas. Is your tea ready yet?
Gujrati bhajiyas (Fritters for the rainy season)
Prep for corn bhajiyas
- 1 nos Corn medium
Batter for corn bhajiyas
- 1 nos Corn roughly grated
- 1 tsp Ginger chilli paste
- 2 tbsp Coriander leaves
- 1 pinch Carrom seeds
- 1/2 tsp Coriander- cumin powder
- 1 pinch Asafoetida
- 1/8 tsp Turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp Warm oil
- 1/4 Cup Gram flour Sieved (approx)
- 1/2 tbsp Rice flour
Batter for other vegetables.
- 1 cup Gram flour
- 2 tbsp Rice flour
- 2 tsp Ginger chilli paste
- 1/4 cup Coriander leaves finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp Carrom seeds
- 1/4 tsp Asafoetida
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp Sugar
- 1/2 tbsp Curd
- 1 tsp Warm oil
- 4/5 cup Water (approx 180 ml)
- 1 nos Potato medium (130-160g)
- 2 nos Colocasia leaves Use small fresh and black stemmed
- 1 nos Ripe banana medium (70-90g)
- 7-8 nos Big mild chillies
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 nos lemon reserve squeezed lemon
- 1 Cup Coriander leaves
- 1/2 cup Mint leaves
- 1 inch Ginger peeled
- 4 cloves Garlic
- 4 nos Chillies
- 1/2 tsp Roasted cumin powder
- 1 tbsp Roasted split gram
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 nos Lemon juice
- 2 tbsp Cold Water
Necessary Add ons
- Chat masala To sprinkle
- Oil To deep fry
- Fried salted chillies To serve
Prep for corn bhajiyas
- Roughly grate a medium size corn using the larger side of grater and keep in a mixing bowl.
- To the grated corn add all ingredients except gram flour.
- Slowly add gram flour till your batter reaches a dropping consistency.
- Keep aside to rest for 15-20 mins.
Making batter for other vegetables
- Collect all ingredients for batter.
- In a mixing bowl add all dry ingredients except water and warm oil.
- Separate the dry batter in two equal parts in two different bowls.
- Slowly add half amount of water in one bowl and whisk using a wired whisk or your palm. (the fingers act as whisk).
- You should reach almost thick coating consistency i.e. after whisking the batter should quickly when lifted
- After reaching desired consistency add 1/4 tsp warm oil and whisk in one direction for 2-3 minutes to incorporate air.
- Repeat step 4 through 6 again for second bowl but add little more water approx.1-2 tbsp to reach a more thinner coating consistency where the batter flows in small ribbons
- Or other way to check the second bowl is coat back of spoon and it should thinly yet opaquely coat the spoon on holding it horizontally and leave a clear trail on swiping a finger.
- Cover and rest both the batters for 15-20 minutes
- Use the first thicker batter for chillies. Use the thinner batter for potato slices, ripe banana slices and torn colocasia leaves.
- While all three batters are resting you can prep the vegetables.
- For potato-Wash, clean and peel the potato. Cut into roughly 0.5-1 mm slices using your chefs knife or mandolin slicer. Thinner the better.Just before frying pat dry the potatoes lightly with a clean dish towel and place on a dry plate.
- For chillies-Wash, dry and slit chillies from center and remove seeds without breaking. Rub salt and lemon mixture generously using the squeezed lemon peel.
- For ripe banana- Just before frying slice bananas as usual approx. 0.5 cm in size.
- For colocasia leaves- Wash, dry, remove stem, cut leaves into 3-4 pieces to better manage, quick blanch and dry again.
For deep frying
- Fill kadhai or Indian wok with sufficient oil to completely immerse required amounts of fritters in batches.
- Heat oil to approx. 180c temperature. You can check by dropping a tsp of batter and the batter should take few seconds to rise on top and sizzle.
- Do not overcrowd the pan.
- Transfer the veggies with your non- dominant hand to the batter.
- Use your dominant hand to coat the ingredient with batter and transversally slide it into the hot oil.
- Keep the oil on medium flame while sliding the fritters. Once the batch is loaded lower the flame and let it rise to the top and allow the sizzle to die down.
- Flip the fritters and let cook till golden from both sides turning occasionally using a slotted spoon.
- Drain excess oil by pressing the spoon against the interior of wok curve and remove on a colander lined with paper napkin.
- Transfer the fried and drained fritters to a mixing bowl . Sprinkle chat masala , spice mix of choice or keep plain.
- Add all ingredients to the blender and blitz to get a dipping chutney.
- You may adjust water to get desired consistency.
- Taste and adjust salt, sugar and lemon if needed.