Bhajia Fiji Style | How to Make Bhajia | Spinach Pakora | Crispy Fritters


On a cold day, nothing beats a plate of hot bhajias with some cha (tea). Growing up, we had these as after school snacks from the ("gadi la") cart vendor, smothered in tamarind sauce. It was such a delightful treats, one that I clearly didn't start appreciating until moving away from Fiji. Even today, whenever I bite into these bhajias, I always remember those fond memories of my primary school days. Ahhh.. the "gadi la admi" (cart vendor guy) made childhood lovely!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup gram flour/chickpea flour/besan
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 1/2 teaspoon carmon seeds (ajwain)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 cup finely sliced onions
  • 2 cups chopped spinach (measured after its cut)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro 
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed 
  • chili pepper to taste 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • water (enough to make a dropping batter consistency)
  • neutral-flavored oil for frying (I used canola)
Method:
  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan on medium to high heat. We will be deep frying these. Be sure to add enough oil to the pan. 
  2. Dry roast carmon seeds and cumin seeds on medium heat for a few minutes to enhance their flavor 
  3. In a large bowl, add spinach, onions, and cilantro. Mix well. 
  4. Add in carmon seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, and salt. Mix well making sure all the spices are well distributed. 
  5. Add in both chickpea flour and all purpose flour along with the baking powder. Combine well. 
  6. Add water gradually squeezing the batter/veggies with your hands until you the batter is at dropping consistency. The batter should be thick, yet slightly runny. 
  7. Once the oil is heated, carefully drop in batter into the oil. I like to make them golf ball size, but you can adjust to your liking. You may also drop heaping tablespoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Try not to overcrowd the oil because it will result in greasy bhajias. Drop temperature to medium after 2-3 minutes to ensure the bhajias do not burn, and are well cooked. Fry until golden-brown. Drain the bhajias on a wire rack placed over a cookie sheet. 
  8. Repeat with the remainder of the batter. Serve the hot bhajias right away with Tamarind chutney, hot sauce, or any chutney of your choice. A cup of dood-la-cha (milky tea) is the perfect accompaniment.
Tips:
  1. Feel free to substitute the spinach for any quick-cooking greens. You can also add in any other quick-cooking vegetable of your choice. Grated potatoes are wonderful added in.
  2. Make sure to not over-crowd the pan – this will lower the temperature of the oil and you might end up with greasy bhajias
  3. Use a wire rack to drain your bhajias instead of paper towels– paper towel simply makes fried foods steam and get soggy. To ensure your bhajias stay crisp, drain them on a wire rack placed over a pan. This will allow the excess grease to drain without making them soggy.
  4. Don't try to make them all perfect sized/shaped. The rustic shapes of bhajias helps add texture (crispy bits).


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