Bhajias for all, all for bhajias!

It is rainy season and the dark clouds shadow their gloomy self on the inhabitants below. And what do these shadows cast upon us. Laziness and the sudden urge of having fried food. Ohhh Yumm! Are you thinking of French fries? Ahhh no. Think of something “Desi”. What does everyone in India undoubtedly like as a side dish? What is that one dish you crave for when you go to the eateries or snack outlets? What is sold at those food stalls you stop by? When it’s raining, school is shut and you request your mother to make that one dish and she can never say no. May be you are getting close. Now to put an end to the rising curiosity, it is the “chatpatta”, “masaledar” and “lazeez” BHAJIAS.

So there are various kinds of bhajias. I have several favorites. And the best part is they are awfully easy to make. Just have all the ingredients and the diced vegetables and there you go, with a little garnishing you are all set. The most famous are the potato and onion bhajias. But there are other vegetables peeping in and trying to steal your attention. Those hidden tastes include spinach, chilies and cauliflower. Now that I’ve made your mouths water enough, let me dive into giving you the base recipe. You can simply add any chopped vegetable you feel like and devour it on a lazy Sunday.

Here is the list of ingredients:

  • oil for deep frying
  • 2 cups besan/gram flour/plain flour
  • 2 tsp rice flour (optional)
  • ½ tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • ½ tsp carom seeds/ajwain, cumin seeds (optional)
  • ½ tsp red chili powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala powder
  • a pinch of asafetida powder
  • a pinch of turmeric powder or haldi
  • baking soda (optional)
  • water – add and mix constantly with the paste being formed so as to get thick flowing batter
  • chopped vegetables: thin sliced potatoes/chopped cauliflowers/cut spinach leaves/sliced long chilies/chopped onions
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp salt

Once you have these ingredients lined up, you can go ahead with the following steps:

  • Take a mixing bowl. Add the following to it:
    • Besan
    • Red chili powder
    • Cumin seed powder
    • Ginger-garlic paste
    • Turmeric powder
    • Asafetida
    • Flour
    • Salt
  • Stir all the ingredients well to form a thick batter. Add chopped vegetables (whichever bhajia you wish to make). Add water little by little to make it a consistent paste. Coat each vegetable piece with the batter. (Do cut large size pieces. Easier to coat and tastier to eat).
  • Now heat oil in a fryer or kadai. Once moderately hot, slowly put each piece into the oil. Fry for 30-45 seconds, until golden-brown.
  • While frying turn them occasionally to fry evenly from all sides.
  • Repeat with the remaining mixture to make more bhajias using the same oil so as to replenish it as well as avoid wastage of gas.
  • Put the bhajias in a porous container for the oil to drip away. Then drain them on paper napkins and serve immediately with chutney and sauce as side dish. Sprinkle some chaat powder as garnishing to add extra flavor.

You can now have the scrumptious bhajias with family and friends and enjoy the rains.

Damini Naidu

technology enthusiast, trained bharatnatyam dancer, past-time philosophical writer, movie buff

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