What are bhajias (often called bhajis and pakoras )? Bhajias are generally vegetables sliced and dipped in a spiced chickpea batter and fried until crispy. Sometimes,vegetables are grated or chopped and added to the spiced chickpea batter and little spoonfuls are dropped into hot oil to fry until crispy. For these ones we stuffed them with garlic and spices before frying them.
Bhajias in any form or shape are a great favorite in this country. You just have to walk down any street food markets and will see that it has the biggest queue of people waiting to be served.
These Stuffed Bhajias are a favourite of a lot of people especially those of us who grew up in East Africa. These bhajias are a great treat during the cold winter days when we are not going out. Well the bhajias are stuffed with garlic chutney so you wouldn’t want to be around people!!
Ingredients for enough bhajias for 3-4 people
- 10-12 new baby potatoes
For the batter to dip the potatoes:
- 2 cups of chick pea flour (often called gram flour or besan)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon of Ajwain
- small bunch of fresh coriander cut finely (can use coriander powder too)
- Pinch of soda bi carbonate
For the stuffing:
- 5-6 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon chilly powder
- ½ teaspoon of cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the Deep Frying:
- 1 litre of cooking oil ( I always use sunflower oil)
A . Prepare the potatoes as below:
1. Steam the baby potatoes with the skin on. I suggest steaming rather than boiling as you do not want the potatoes to over cook and break.
2. Once cooked, allow to cool and peel the skin from the potatoes.
3. Lightly oil the potatoes and either grill them until lightly brown or cook them in the oven at 150 degrees for 10-12 minutes. This will ensure that your potatoes do not break for the next step.
4. Once browned, allow the potatoes to cool and prepare the stuffing.
B: Prepare the stuffing:
1. Peel and blend the garlic using a pestle and mortar or a grinder.
2. Add salt and 1 teaspoon of lemon to the garlic to make the blending easier.
3. Remove the blended mixture to a mixing bowl and add the chilly powder and cumin powder to it
4. This mixture should resemble a firm paste. Add more chilly powder if it looks runny.
Tip: Be inventive with your stuffing. You can add desiccated coconut or ground peanuts, sesame seeds to your stuffing if you like.
Now prepare the potatoes:
1. Cut the potatoes across – but only half way on one side; turn to the opposite side and cut the potato across half way again as shown in my pictures below.
2. Fill them with the stuffing.
C: Prepare the chick pea flour batter to dip your potatoes in:
1. Add half a cup of water to the Chick pea flour
2. Add the salt, ajwain, fresh coriander and soda bi carbonate and stir well.
3. The mixture should be fairly thick as shown in my picture.
4. Allow this to rest whilst you heat the oil.
D: To finish making the Stuffed Bhajias: Steamed, grilled , stuffed and fried potato and garlic bhajias! :
1. To check if the oil is hot, drop a small drop of batter into the oil. If the oil is ready, the batter will rise to the top.
2. Turn the heat slightly low now.
3. Take one potato at a time ; using a spoon, dip it in the chick pea flour mixture and transfer it to the oil.
4. Allow it to cook one side and turn.
5. Once these look golden brown nd crispy, they are cooked and ready to serve with a tamarind sauce. As mentioned, I wouldn’t advice you to visit friends after eating this garlicky dish!!
Other pakora recipes you may like from my blog are:
- Sweet potato bhajia
- Mixed bhajias/pakoras
- Mixed vegetable bhajias using bread
- Sweet potato and Onion bhajias/pakoras
- Crispy Potato bhajias (Maru bhajia)
- Onion Bhajias -Onion fritters
- Rice bhajias
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