Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mulaku Bajji

Hot and spicy deep fried Chilli fritter
My at-home version

I grew up in Oman, rather I have lived in this country all my life.. :) I first came here when I was three months old, with my parents. My father was working here much before he was married.. Well that would probably explain why I am so attached to this place and call it HOME! :) From my childhood memories, I recollect this place being very hot all throughout the year. Winters weren't all that cold! But, with time, the climate here has changed drastically! For the good I must say! Winters are much colder, summers aren't as hot as it used to be once upon a time and there's more rain than ever before! :) Yes, Rain! :) that's where I am getting to.. Rain or even just a cloudy sky, elevates my spirit to a state of bliss. Amidst a scorching summer, a little rain to sooth the heat down, is indeed a blessing.

The other day, I woke up to a beautiful view of a cloudy sky outside my window. That's something that boosts me with a lot of positive energy. 

While sipping my morning brew and relishing the drizzle outside the window, it reminded me of my recent trip to Kodaikanal that I shared with you last week. It reminded me of the fog gulped mountains, the cloudy sky, the cool breeze and the pleasant drizzles.. 

and ah! a face that flashed before my eyes was that of the kind lady who called me over to click her portrait at her little tea shop where she was making and selling hot and tempting Mulaku bajji..

YES! Here's a recipe inspired from the Kodai trip.. Deep fried, hot and spicy Mulaku bajji (Chili fritters). An Indian snacks packed with spices.. Just the right thing for a rainy day! :) Luckily, I managed to get the Anaheim pepper, the  chili used to make bajji. It's a mild variety of chili that could be described as neither a chili nor a capsicum or both fused together.. :)

Ingredients :

Anaheim pepper

8 nos. (as used here)

Gram flour (Chickpea flour)

1 cup

Corn flour

1 tablespoon

Whole-wheat flour (Aatta)

1 tablespoon

Bicarbonate of Soda

A pinch

Asafoetida powder

1/4 teaspoon

Red chili powder

1/3 teaspoon or as required

Turmeric powder

1/3 teaspoon

Fennel seed powder

1/3 teaspoon

Cumin seed powder

1/3 teaspoon

Kasoori Methi (crushed)

1 teaspoon


To taste


As required


For deep frying

Preparation Method :

Pick the freshest Anaheim pepper. Wash them clean and towel dry. If you do not find this chili, you could also make mulaku bajji with any other large chili. But, I wouldn't recommend an alternative choice, 'coz a snack that's flaming hot is definitely not going to be enjoyable. Yet, with whatever that's available, do check the heat of it before you proceed to preparing it.

For that, slit a cut vertically from the head to the tail and touch the seeds with a finger and rub on your tongue. You would get a rough idea as to how hot it is. If it is really fiery, I'd recommend you, remove the seeds out from inside with a knife. Anaheim peppers do not require the seeds to be removed. Slitting a cut is essential, or else, the heat that would steam inside while frying will either burst the chili causing the hot oil to dangerously sputter or may cause serious burns if you bite into it and it still has steam pressured inside even though the surface would have cooled! Does that sound confusing! ;) Well, just slit it anyway then! :D
Some bajji's are made with stuffing different fillings into it. This is the basic and modest version. :)

Now, let's make the batter. We will need gram flour or chick pea flour (however it is known). Make sure you check the date on the packet. My tip : the fresher the flour, the lesser the oil it will absorb. :)

Add the corn flour. (it's optional) I like my bajji crispy and not soggy. Corn flour helps the fritter to be crispy and retains the crispiness even after it cools. Add the whole-wheat flour.  It will help hold the batter together.

Then add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda. A PINCH! I mean it! More, would absorb oil while frying. Then add the asafoetida powder. I have seen my mom add asafoetida powder and then pour half a teaspoon of hot oil over it to cook it slightly. It infuses the flavour as well as removes the raw taste. Then add the red chili powder, to your desired taste. Some like the crust spicier than the chilli and some like it mild. Add the turmeric powder.

Then add fennel and cumin seed powder. Crush and add the kasoori methi (fenugreek leaves).

Add salt to taste and water and whisk into a fine batter. The preference of the consistency of the batter could differ person to person. 

I and my family personally like a crispy and light crust. Some like it soft and the chili thickly coated.  The trick is, if you want the bajji lighter and crispy, make sure the batter is not too thick. Precisely, it should drip gently down your whisk, but isn't too watery at the same time. If you want it the other way, add lesser water and make sure the batter is thick enough to leave a trail when stroked with a spoon. Make sure to taste the batter add more salt or chilli powder if required. Don't judge the taste of the batter at this point. ;) Remember! it's still raw! :)

Next, heat some oil in a wok.  
Another tip : Never leave the batter for too long. Once you add water, make sure you cook soon, or else it could absorb oil while frying! When the oil is really hot, gradually dip the chili in the batter. You dont have to really open the slit or deliberately let in the batter.

Slowly insert the chili into the oil. As soon as you have inserted a batch, bring down the heat to medium. Then, with a spoon or your hands, pour on some batter over each chili. This helps give a crunchy and crispy crust and a different look too. :)

When the sides have seemed to start browning, turn it over.

When both sides have evenly browned and it has cooked through, remove them onto a paper towel. Continue the same with all batches.

And here you are with a plate of hot and crispy Mulaku bajji! :) Just the right thing with a cup of tea on a rainy day with your loved ones! :) Bliss :) Enjoy!  

Don't forget to share your story in the comment bar below, or on the Facebook page. :)

Saturday, May 17, 2014


The Princess of Hill Stations

Kodaikanal is a beautiful hill station of the Dindigul district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. An ideal getaway for Nature lovers and photography enthusiasts who desire a relaxing and peaceful getaway from the scorching heat and hectic everyday race.. 

We started our journey from Ernakulam in a mini traveller and it took us almost 11 hours to reach. (11 hours inclusive of stopovers to dine and have tea, roadblocks and the halts at check posts) The onward journey would be a little time consuming because of the uphill roads.

Going along with an experienced driver would be better we believe. Driving all the way up along the hairpin curves could be tiring. Make sure the vehicle is comfortable and in good condition. Roads are really bumpy in some places.

We went as a family of seven. That's an enjoyable experience to travel in good company unlike most of our journeys when it's just the two of us.. 

Booked ourselves into a nice and simple place called KodaiResort.

ü  Good service
ü  Reasonably clean rooms
ü  Reasonably Clean bathroom
ü  Fresh linen
ü  Balcony with great view
ü  Friendly staff

That satisfied our basic check-list. 

Kodai Resort

 Ought to mention few other added privileges available there. 

ü  A multi-cuisine restaurant that serves excellent food.
ü  Health club, ayurvedic massage centre and beauty parlour.
ü  indoor/outdoor games.

ü  Beautiful and well-kept garden and walkway.
ü  Camp-fire (provided it's not raining) etc.

Floral treat at Kodai Resort

We'd surely recommend this place for a peaceful and relaxing stay! :)


Kodaikanal has a very pleasant and bracing weather, with temperatures that vary from moderate to very cold, with not much of a variation between summers and winters. The climate of Kodaikanal is very pleasant and cool all round the year. Most houses and resorts do not even have fans. 

Early morning breathtaking view of the Perumal Peak from the balcony of the resort. Peaceful and calm with fresh and cool breeze..

The air is so clean and fresh that you could leave your windows open. The average temperature during summers would be around  11 to 20°C and winters, 8 to 17°C. Kodaikanal experiences rain between the months of June and September. 

Kodai Lake. Manmade lake developed by the British..

The best seasons to visit Kodaikanal are the times between April and June and from September to October, when the climate is at its best and surroundings foggy and colourful. Nights are usually crisp and cold. If you are intolerant to cold, consider carrying warm clothing along.

Travelling during seasons, however has a disadvantage. Each viewpoint would be packed with people and also it might seem difficult to capture beautiful shots without people in the background.. ;)

White water lilies in the Kodai Lake


Enjoy Horse riding or Cycling through the 5km path around the Kodai Lake. Ideal for a long walk too, that helps soak up great energy. :)

- That's my nephew on the horse :)

Indian pond Heron

 Rowing boats

Violet water lilies in the Kodai Lake

Little Grebe, freshwater diving birds.

Street snacks

 Fresh carrots grown on the hills..

 Bonnet Macaque. 
Do not try to get too friendly with these little guys. ;) Heard they are excellent at snatching things from you and never returning them back. Make sure your vehicle windows are shut, or they could even get in and snatch away your belongings.. :D

 My favourite click of the whole trip.. An eagle right on time! :)

Pine-tree forests. Peaceful and cool retreat! Unfortunately there was no fog :(

By the way, that's my adorable niece. :)

The enthral fog covered Pillar Rocks. While we reached the viewpoint, the fog gradually lifted  for a couple of minutes slowly revealing the giant rocks, then covered them again.

I am out of words to describe or give an insight on the most breathtaking view we witnessed there.. You ought to see it yourself to appreciate the magic the sight holds.. 

This incredible and enchanting view in itself is worth the hassles of the long trip. Bliss! 

  Bubbles from somewhere!! :)

  The kind lady who called me over to click her portrait! :D That was indeed an unexpected favor :)
At her little shop where she makes and sells hot chili pakodas :) 

Anyway, thanks to her.. :) Those rare moments when total strangers too get friendly.. I guess that speaks about how hospitable the people of Kodai are! 
Out of excitement and happiness, I know I didn't get the best shot. ;)

I have a very sensitive stomach and therefore am very hesitant to have street food. But, my husband and others did buy and have the pakodas and they said it was delicious. Maybe you should give it a try! :)

 The Golf Course run by the Kodaikanal Golf Club.

 Miles to go before dusk. Kodai woman walking miles carrying bundles of wood home from the hills..

Union Church, near Coaker's Walk

 The Red-whiskered Bulbul :)

  Thick fog gulped mountains seen from the Coaker's Walk. 

Another beautiful view of ridges over clouds from the Coaker's Walk. 
It is so peaceful and calm, with fresh air and slender drizzle. If you are an avid nature lover, trust us, you would love standing here all day! I envy the people who live around here.. :)

 Ridge over clouds  

The Red-whiskered Bulbul perched on a bark :)
 The English style stone cottage with white painted windows which reminds of 
the 'Cottages in Fairy-tale Storybooks'

Creepy looking trees branches :)

 Fruits and vegetable shops that sell produces from the hills.

 Peaches that grow on the hillside.. 

Silver Cascade Waterfall 

Silver Cascade Waterfall with not much of water around this time of the year..

View of Palani while coming downhill.. 

Beautiful view while coming downhill 

Acres of huge windmills at Pollachi on the way back..

There are more beautiful places to cover at Kodaikanal like 
  • The Bryant Park 
  • Kurinji Andavar Temple
  • Solar Physical Observatory
  • Telescope House
  • Shenbaganur Museum 
  • Dolmen Circle 
  • Thalaiyar Falls
  • Chettiyar Park
  • Bear Shola Falls
  • Dolphins Nose
  • La Salette Church
  • Pambar Falls etc. 

But, this is the best major sites we could cover on a two night stay. Yet more to explore if destined. :) If you haven't been to Kodaikanal, maybe it is one site you ought to visit! :)

If you appreciate this story or would like to share your own travel experiences that you think may be helpful to readers, please leave a comment.