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!  

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