Sunday, April 13, 2008

Amma's Godumai Bajji (Spicy Whole Wheat Flour Fritters)

These are not true bajjis; they probably belong to the pakoda category. Traditionally bajjis are vegetable slices or pieces dipped in batter and deep fried whereas pakodas are made from a dough formed by mixing all the ingredients including finely chopped veggies.

I made these recently for teatime to celebrate congenial company. It is an old recipe from Amma and it is absolutely delicious. I have only eaten them at our house so this recipe seems to be another one of Amma's clever creations. Amazing to say the least, Amma was incredibly inventive; if one ingredient was not available, she found a replacement that worked just as well or even better. It is my guess that perhaps she substituted the whole wheat flour for the traditional besan for some reason - I am glad she did :)!

Using whole wheat offers a delectable change from the typical bajjis made with besan (chick pea or garbanzo flour). Do include the rice flour for crispness; otherwise the bajjis will be softer. The sprouts add to the crunch too - especially the ones on the outside. The cashews enrich them and take them beyond the ordinary. These bajjis are to live for! Very easy and very quick - perfect for when you want great snacks at a moment's notice - Enjoy :)!

12 servings

Ingredients:

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour (Atta)
1/2 cup Rice Flour
2 Tbsp Fresh, frozen, or dessicated Coconut, grated
1/4 cup Cashew nuts or Peanuts (coarsely chopped)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Ground Dry Hot Red Chilies (Cayenne)
1 or 2 pinches ground Asafoetida
1 tsp Salt or to taste
1 cup finely chopped Onion, any type (Red, Green, Brown, etc.)
4 Tbsp Plain Yogurt
1 hot Green Chili, minced (Optional)
1 or 2 Tbsp grated Fresh Ginger (Optional)
1/2 cup Fresh Sprouts (Optional)
1 small or medium Zucchini, finely chopped or grated (Optional)

Oil of your choice for deep frying

Method:

Start heating the oil in a Kadai (Indian Wok) or other suitable pan for deep frying.

Place all the ingredients in a bowl, sprinkle 1/2 cup of water and mix. Add more water a few tablespoons at a time if needed and mix thoroughly to make a soft dough. The dough should be soft and sticky but not runny like that for Dosas or pancakes.

When the oil is hot, carefully drop a tiny bit of the dough into it. If it starts to sizzle and brown within a few seconds, it is hot enough. Take big spoonful of dough and push off little bits of dough (about 1 or 2 teaspoons) into the oil with a teaspoon. The blobs of dough should be ragged shapes to assure a large cooking surface which allows them to cook quickly and also become crispy. Do not crowd the pan. Cook the bajjis for about 3 to 4 minutes turning them once to cook evenly. When they are deep golden brown, remove from oil using a slotted spoon and drain well by placing on absorbent towels.

Proceed with the rest of the dough to make more bajjis as described above. If you find that there is too much dough for your immediate needs, you can save it in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days.

Serve hot accompanied by any kind of fresh chutneys, pachadi/raita, ketchup, hot sauce, etc. as desired.

Note: I generally add the fresh sprouts and/or chopped zucchini to boost both taste and nutrition. You can vary the vegetables such as eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, summer squashes, Opo squash/bottle gourd, etc according to the season or your preference.

Sour yogurt is great for this recipe; so if you have some old yogurt with no place to go, it would be perfect here.

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