I made Bhajia after a long gap. I had few Florida Hot green chilies in fridge and this weeks Cilantro bunch was extra grown with thick and very long stems, almost 20 inches long. I wanted to make use of these stems so combined them with Florida hot green chilies and onions. I didn't make traditional style besan batter instead allowed dry besan to get moist with chili, oinion, cilantro juices. I used water spray to make pakora mixture slightly damp for easy moulding into crab like or birds nest like shape. I made these bhajias for evening tea time snack but by the time I finished it got too dark so image taken at night was not very sharp, I saved two fritters to click image next day. I ate up one fritter thinking it is not possible to click just two fritters but at the same time I don't wanted to miss recording first attempt of this combination of fritters. Imagination and instinct helped me to put some styling around single fritter, I am glad I decided to take an image, it was good experience in food styling which is required for food blogging. These fritters are very versatile and can be made with variety of veggie combinations.
Makes more than 20 Fritters.
- 1 medium Onion - Sliced thin lengthwise. (2 cup loosely packed yield.)
- Handful Cilantro Stems - 2 inch long. (30-40 pieces)
- 6-7 Florida Hot green chilies - slice into 1 cm broad and 2 inch long strips,30-35 pieces ( If using regular green chilies, slice lengthwise into three or four parts. Use around 8-10 chilies or less for mild heat.)
- 1 +1/4 Cup Besan (gram flour)
- 2 Cup Cilantro leaves - roughly chopped
- 2 Cup Oil - for frying
- 1 water spray bottle.
- 1 Tb.spoon Chat Masala to sprinkle over bhajia. (optional)
Method of preparing fritters/Pakode :
- Cut onion length wise into two parts then slice lengthwise into thin slices. Place them in a medium size bowl.
- Clean and rinse cilantro, separate stems and leaves. Cut hard stems into two inch sticks, if stems are too thick like your little finger, slit into two or three pieces. Roughly chop cilantro leaves and tender stems. Transfer stems and leaves in the same bowl.
- I used full grown Florida hot chilies which were 7-8 inch long, so I have to cut them in 2-3 parts and then slit into 2 inch long sticks. Check the image of bowl to see cilantro stems and sliced green chilies. I removed veins and seeds from few green peppers to reduce heat. Transfer chili sticks to a bowl.
- Spread 1 + 1/4 cup Besan and salt over chopped ingredients, stir thoroughly with spoon to get all fritter ingredients properly coated with besan flour. Let it stand for 10-12 minutes, in between stir well, scoop grainy textured besan from bottom and scatter it all over. In the mean time start heating 2 cups oil in a medium size kadhai over very low heat. Once besan clings to onion and chilies try to pick lime size mixture, pat with fingers into flat fritter shape, if it roughly holds together then you are ready to start frying. Test and adjust salt level. You can once spray water over mixture to speed up binding process. You have two ways to form these fritters either by using fingers or patting it over plate or plastic sheet.
- Method : 1) Grab 1/4 cup quantity or lime size mixture with your five merged finger tips. Place mixture over merged four finger surface. Gently spray very little water over fritter to make it little more moist, by using thumb pat and bind mixture into flat fritter. I did this by using only right hand. Don't pat into fine round shape, allow few onion, green chili and cilantro stems to spread outward. This will give birds nest / Crab like appeal to each fritter. Before starting to fry make sure oil is not smoking hot. For testing temperature pick one piece of onion from mixture, drop it in the oil, it should quickly sizzle with bubbles all around and rise up to the oil surface but should not quickly change shade. If it gets dark then reduce heat to low for 4-5 minutes then start frying. Once fritter binds well slowly drop it in the oil, continue to bind more fritters, fry 6-7 fritters in each batch. Fry over medium heat, turning occasionally with slotted spoon/ Zara until golden.(2-3 minutes each batch) Remove from oil using slotted spoon, drain on absorbent paper towel lined basket or tray. Quickly sprinkle little chat masala for extra flavor. Continue back working with more fritter batches. At end mixture gets more moist, you may not need to use spray for last batch. You can add some more sliced onion, sprinkle some besan flour in the last batch to maintain nest / crab like fritter shape.
- Method : 2) Above method may be little difficult to follow so instead of using hands you can pat each fritter over slightly greased thick plastic sheet (cut gallon size freezer bag), banana leaf or medium size thin flat plate. Shape 3-4 fritters at a time and gently slide in oil using knife or spatula. Fry as explained above. Use caution while frying fritters. Serve with sweet-sour tamarind date chutney or ketchup.
Indian Gluten free and eggless Fritters.
Extra long Florida hot green chillies.
Food Styling- 4 flowers of sage, 1 curly mint leaf, ketchup and
root portion of betroot, peeled, sliced and arranged.