Stuffed Banana peppers, Onion and Spinach bajji

Bajjis remind me of Marina beach in Chennai. Huge vats of dark filthy hot oil. A bajji seller who looks like he hasn’t had a decent wash in weeks. The vegetables piled high for flies to feast on. But my god, those hot bajjis, by the beach, wind in your hair, sand between your toes. That’s my idea of a good life. All you need is a quick prayer, a mental check that your financial affairs are in order for your loved ones and you’re ready to tuck in.

These are my version of bajjis, a lot more hygienic but not much healthier. There’s no way out except to deep-fry them. With some Chai, they’re good for a rainy Sunday evening. Serve with chilli sauce or Maggi’s hot and sweet sauce.

For the batter: You’ll need:

  • 3 cups of besan
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Chilled soda water
  • 3 teaspoons red chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon fennel powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon chat masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon hing
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Salt to taste

Method:
Stir everything except the soda water. Once all the spices and besan is mixed well, add the soda water little by little. You need a thick batter. If you coat the back of a spoon the batter should cover it entirely without streaking.

For the stuffed peppers: You’ll need:

  • 4 Banana Peppers
  • 1 medium sized potato (I use a white-skinned washed potato)
  • 1 teaspoon roasted red chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon chat masala
  • Salt to taste

Method:
Mash the potato with the spices. Cut a slit in the centre of the pepper and stuff it with potato mixture. Coat in batter and fry in medium hot oil. Let it cook slowly to allow the pepper to cook inside the batter. Move from oil once brown and crisp, drain on paper towels.

For spinach bajji: You’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves (wash and dry throughly)

Method:
Coat each leaf on both sides with the batter. Scrap off excess batter. Drop into hot oil. These take seconds to fry and crisp up. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels.

For onion bajji: You’ll need

  • 1 large red onion

Method:
Peel and slice onion into 1/3 inch round slices. Dip into batter, scrape off excess. Fry till brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels.

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