Pyaaz ke pakode(crispy onion bhajji)

Pyaaj ke karare pakode
(crispy onion bhajji)

I have a very interesting story regarding how I learned to prepare these crispy onion bhajji!!! In North India “bhajji” word is not used. You prepare bhajji with potatoes, onion, green chillies or cauliflower…. the word is “pakoda.”

After my marriage I came to Chennai and here I got introduced to the word bhajji. After 10 months staying in Chennai we went to Jamaica. There was an Indian restaurant named Akbar. As an appetizer onion bhajji used to be served. It used to be less oily, and unlike onion pakode, crispy fried slices of onion wrapped with less flour used to be served. We used to enjoy them thoroughly and I always wondered how do they manage to use such less flour and have every slice separate without getting stuck with each other. I tried to replicate at home but failed miserably.

Three years later when when we were settled down in Bangalore, Manish and I were watching Sanjeev Kapoor’s show on TV and there he was cooking the same onion bhajji!!! We both jumped with joy to see the whole process and next weekend this onion bhajji was part of our breakfast!!!!
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Ingredients :
Onions
Oil for frying
Gram flour
salt

Process :
Peel onions and wash them nicely. Chop them vertically in long stripes.
You really need to chop a lot of onions here so take help from your family members…
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Add salt as per your taste in these chopped onion and mix nicely. Now let these salted onions rest for 20-30 minutes.

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During this resting period salt will melt and onions will be wet.

Now start sprinkling gram flour (besan) 1 tbsp at a time on these wet salty onion. We are not going to add water here, so use that much gram flour only which gets mixed with wet onions.

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Heat oil in a deep pan and fry the onion and besan mix. As there is less flour wrapped around onions, bhajjis wouldn’t absorb much oil during frying.

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Serve hot onion bhajji with your choice of chutney or sauce!!!

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Stuffed Brinjals/Eggplant/Aubergine

Stuffed brinjals/eggplant/aubergine is one of those dishes from brinjal which is loved by all those members of your family who do not like this vegetable a lot. To make family members eat brinjals is a very difficult task. So stuff them with onions, their choice of spices, or roasted gram flour. Personally I love vegetables in stuffed form a lot. Stuffed form  just add on glamour in simple veggies! Try lady finger, bitter gourd, tinda or even tomatoes or chilies- all these vegetables tastes fantastic in stuffed form. Slowly I will be posting recipes for all these vegetables with stuffing in the blog. But till then you can check this recipe   Stuffed Chilies(Bharva Hari Mirch)

These stuffed eggplant can be served with plain paratha, roti or side dish for rice. This dish will enhance the flavor of your meal!!!
(Pardon the picture quality of ready stuffed brinjals, had guests in the house and I was feeling awkward to take pictures at the right frame.

Ingredients :

Small size brinjals
Oil
Spices : coriander powder, red chilli powder,turmeric powder  salt, a pinch of asafoetida (hing), garam masala, dry mango powder (amchoor), grinded fennel seeds(kuti hui sauf)

Process :

Wash and dry brinjals.

small size brinjals

Now collect all spices in a bowl and add one or two tsp oil in it and mix everything together.

masala for stuffed brinjals

Cut brinjal horizontally and vertically – But make sure not to cut all the way, that is from end-to-end.

cut brinjals horizontally and vertically

Fill in little quantity of spices mix in the gaps – both horizontally and vertically.

stuff brinjals horizontally and vertically

Heat one non stick or heavy bottomed  pan and pour 4-5 spoons of oil in it. Place all spices filled brinjals in it.

cook stuffed brinjals in a non stick pan

Reduce the heat to sim, cover the pan and let them cook on sim flame

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Keep on turning  brinjals upside down for even cooking till they become tender from all sides.

cook stuffed brinjals evenly from all sides

Serve with roti, nan, plain paratha or rice!

stuffed brinjals are ready!

stuffed brinjals are ready to be served!

 

Plain Baati (traditional Rajasthani food)

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Plain Baati or saada baati falls into the category of traditional Rajasthani food. It can be cooked very easily without much prior preparation. You just need three or six bricks to make your Choolha (stove), if you don’t have permanent one. Bring some dry uple (made from cow dung) for fire, little salt, wheat flour, water and one vessel to knead the dough. That’s it……..

This is the way migrants from Rajasthan cook baati when there is no rain in their village and they are searching for work in different cities, and  eating it with raw onion.
But now this traditional food has taken place in restaurants and hotels with many different types of varieties.

And of course, now you get a separate baati oven in the market.

Here we will be preparing simple wheat flour baati with ajwain (carom seeds) flavour, but not in baati oven, because I don’t have one. I baked baati in my microwave on convection mode and Manish and Apoorva loved them.

INGREDIENTS :

Wheat flour 1+1/2 cup
Salt 3/4 tsp
Desi ghee (melted) 3 tbsp
Ajwain (carom seeds) 1tsp
Baking powder 1/4 tsp
Baking soda 1/4 tsp

Water     to knead the dough (at room temperature) as per requirement

Melted desi ghee 1 cup

Method :

Take wheat flour, salt, ghee, ajwain and baking powder in a bowl and mix everything. Take a mix of half milk and half water, but it is optional. You can make do with just water.

Prepare dough by mixing everything .

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Dough should be harder than chappati dough…but softer than poori dough. Prepare equal size of balls from this dough and press them slightly  between your palms. And with your finger tip gently press in between (as you can see in the pic, impression on baati).

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You can bake them on gas oven as well as in microwave on convection mode.
If you are doing on gas oven, keep changing their posotions at regular intervals (by turning upside down).

Initially keep the flame on full for 4-5 minutes…so that baatis will puff up a little, then put the flame on medium or sim….so that baatis are nicely roasted from inside too.
Once they are done….keep ready melted ghee in a big bowl and put all hot baatis in that.

You can leave baatis as it is or after 5/7 minutes take them out and serve when they are hot.

For microwave convection mode, give a brush up with ghee. Preheat oven on 200 degrees. Bake for almost 40 /45 minutes or until baatis start becoming light brown in colour. Change the position of baati in between and again give a brush up with ghee and continue baking. Once they are done, follow the same process of dipping them in melted ghee and serve hot with any daal of your choice.

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Don’t blame me if you finish two or three baatis without daal itself because they look so inviting dipped in hot desi ghee!