Chai and Kanda Bhaji!
I don’t know of any better combination than rain and fritters. What is it about the deep-fried snack that makes them soo comforting and satisfying?
Research studies suggest that it’s linked to the evolution and that humans have always been in search of food that’s rich in carbs and fat. And I totally agree!
Fritters are pieces of vegetables and meat that is coated in a thick batter and deep-fried until crispy. Onion fritters/ Kanda Bhaji/ khekada bhaji recipe has many admirers and once you try them, you will know why.
What is Khekda Bhaji ?
Surprisingly, these onion pakodas have another name in Marathi that will leave the vegetarians out there completely befuddled. khekada bhaji (खेकड़ाभजी), which literally means crab pakodas.
Imagine you being a strict herbivore enter a restaurant that screams ‘Pure Veg’ on the signboard. And a guy at the table next to you orders Khekda Bhaji! And now it seems that these folks also offer seafood! You call your server demand to know if they are double-dealing. Then they tell you it’s just onion pakoda. It’s called khekada bhaji because its shape resembles that of a crab. You find yourself smiling trying to hide your embarrassment and end up ordering some khekada bhaji yourself. And then you fall head over heels in love with the delicious onion fritters recipe!
The “Kapa Pav” Story!
During my 3 years long rendezvous in Goa, I got to try by far some of the best kanda bhaji. They served various types of bhaji- Onion fritters (kanda bhaji), potato fritters (batata bhaji), chili fritters (mirchi bhaji). I remember when I ordered bata bhaji (potato fritters) for the first time in goa. Local there were clueless as to what bata bhaji was? After certain adue I got to know that Goans call their bhaji as ‘kapa’. Then it was: “Bhau ek kapa pav dya” was an everyday thing. All the varieties of fritters were delicious. They were often served with pav, dry garlic-groundnut chutney, green chili coriander chutney and sweet tamarind chutney. Overall these chutneys created a perfect balance for these fritters.
Coming to our onion fritter / kanda bhaji recipe, it’s all about technique. You can’t just drop chunks of onion simmered in batter in that hot oil. You spread the batter moving it with your fingers as you go. It helps the onion slices to get a tad bit separated from each other and that is how you achieve the desired shape and texture. Frying the fritters on low heat for longer once they are set lends them the characteristic crispiness. crispiness. Also, the pakora batter should not have a lot of besan, but just enough to coat the onion slices.
Kanda Bhaji | Khekda Bhaji |
- 4 nos. Big sliced onions
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves
- 1 cup besan
- ¼ cup rice flour
- salt as per taste
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp ajwain /carom seeds
- ½ tsp baking soda
- for fying oil
- Cut off the stem part and cut the onion into half. Peel the onion and slice it horizontally.
- Make long and thin slices of the onion.
- Separate the slices.
- Add salt, coriander leaves and mix well.
- You can add finely chopped green chili if you want at this point of time.
- Adding salt helps the onion to release the moisture.
- Rest the onion for about 15-20 minutes.
- In a bowl take besan.
- Add rice flour, salt, red chili powder, turmeric powder, ajwain, baking soda and mix well.
- Add salt carefully as we have rubbed salt to onion too.
- Rice flour helps to make bhaji crispy and also in retaining the crisp for longer time.
- Sprinkle dry flour over onion and mix well.
- The mixture should not be sticky.
- Add that much flour which is absorbed by the moisture released by the onion.
- After coating the onion well with dry flour sprinkle water and mix well.
- Add enough water just to get little binding. It should not be sticky.
- Heat up oil in a pan.
- Separate the bhaji mixture and drop it in the hot oil.
- Do not make bhaji as we make them regularly.
- Fry on medium heat until these get nice golden color form all sides.
- After frying for about 3-4 minutes from one side flip the bhaji over and fry from other side as well.
- When the bhaji are fried well from both sides, take them out into a dish.
- Khekada bhaji is ready.
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