More recipes of teatime snacks that Amma made are here! It is supposed to be summer here but it just doesnt feel that way with the cloudy skies and the temperatures timid to go above 70-75 and some rains too along with that. But we are making the most of it with innumerous cups of chai and fried things to go with it
One thing about Amma being here and me helping her out with her cooking or sometimes just observing is that, I realise that most of what I cook is based on what I thought went into the dishes. I have been successful for the most part. But I have been completely missing out a few things here and there for some dishes sometimes and I always thought it was just the way every individual cooked that the taste was slightly different. I didn’t realise that that extra small one ingredient needed to go in there to make it taste very close to amma-made or paatti-made. Of course, when they make it, it IS different anyway
When making bajjis/savory fritters, I never add rice flour to the batter, just besan and the spices. I vaguely remember Amma adding a little rice flour to the batter saying it will help hold the batter to the vegetable better and makes crispier bajjis too. But I have somehow only very rarely added that. I do it if I remember, but it is not there in my default bajji batter. And, yes, the little rice flour does make the bajjis taste a lot better. I should remember to make it a habit to add it from now on. That is the one of the “one little thing” I was talking about earlier.
Bajjis made with Vazhakkai / Vazhakka /Kaya / Pachakka and sweet fritters called Pazham Pori / Ethakka Appam are the two most common “kadis” or snacks that you will find in any regular tea stall in Kerala. Vazhakka is raw plantain/raw banana but not the long plantains you get in stores here and not the raw version of the regular bananas too. These are smaller ones and you can find them in Indian stores (see pic above). I have never tried making this bajji withe regular raw plantain, so I am not sure how that will turn out to be.
Vazhakkai Bajji / Vazhakka Bajji – The recipe
- Vazhakkai / Vazhakka / Raw Bananas – 2, peeled and cut vertically into thin slices (you can cut them in half once again too)
- Besan (Gram flour) – 1 cup
- Rice Flour – 1 tbsp
- Red Chilli powder / Cayenne – 3 tsp ( it might seem like a lot, but I have seen that when you fry it, the heat goes down. To be safe – add some chilli, fry one batch, taste test and add more if you want)
- Asafoetida powder – a pinch
- Salt – to taste
- Baking soda – a pinch, optional
- Canola Oil – enough for deep frying
Mix the besan, rice flour, red chilli powder, asafoetida, salt and baking soda well. Add enough water to it to make it almost as thin a batter as for pancakes. Don’t make it too thin and it won’t stick to the bananas then.
Heat the oil in a pan till almost smoking hot, reduce the heat a little, but still on high. Dip the cut banana slices, one by one, into the batter and put them slowly in the hot oil. Turn them around after a minute or so and fry till golden brown. If the oil is too hot then the fritters will turn brown quickly but the insides and the banana would not have cooked properly. So, it is important to keep the oil hot enough so that it fried well and also not so hot that it doesnt get cooked.
Drain on paper towels and serve with tomato ketchup or coconut chutney and of course, a nice hot cup of chai!