Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fry Em Up

Its nature at its best! furious, careless, unpredictable and exciting. This is the time to be in tune with natures feelings. Monsoon in Mumbai is never complete without the "moment". The unleashing of your instantaneous feeling of breaking free of all things mundane and inviting some "me" time. I am referring to the inevitable "moment":

Balcony / Terrace / Open Space / French Window / Bedroom (any) Window 

Dark, Damp Area (all around you), Dry Area (exactly where you are standing/sitting/lying), Naturally Fragrant, Thunder, Pouring Rain and Shades of Green

Dimmed, Candled, Fuzzy

Grey, Cool, A Dash of Lightning 

Comfortable, Old, Grungy

Only You 

Hot Chai, Onion Bhajjias, Ketchup

The "moment" is complete when its served hot and savoured over hours, right until the ambiance fades.

I am going to share an age-old recipe of Bhajjias, ideally Onion Bhajjias, for which the recipe was dutifully relayed by our Man-Friday of 50 years (yes, even before I was born). This method of making Bhajjias is simple, yet effective in bringing out the flavours for a perfect fried snack. Follow this recipe and I promise, this will be on your menu every monsoon.

5 large Onions
(Cut into half and sliced thin)
1 Green Chilli (finely chopped)
A small bunch of Coriander Leaves (finely chopped)
1 tablsp Red Chilli Powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp Crushed Black Pepper
1 tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
1 cup Gram Flour (Channe ka Atta)
Oil for frying

The secret is the use of absolutely NO water in preparing the mix for the fritter.

Prepare the Onions and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle Red Chilli Powder and Salt and leave aside for 15 minutes. As illustrated below, you will find that in the given time, the onions release water and soften.

Proceed by adding the rest of the ingredients except the flour and mix well. Slowly spoon in the flour and simultaneously squish and squeeze the onion mixture, thereby releasing more water and allowing the flavours to spread through the flour while mixing. Keep adding in the flour till you get a thick paste like consistency, but ensure it does not turn into dough. If you feel the flour is not enough, you may add more, or alternatively keep it less according to the water released through the onions. The water released by the onions is enough thereby eliminating the need of additional water.

Heat the oil in a deep bottomed vessel. Lift a small amount of mix and roll in between your fingers and palm to get a oval or round shaped mixture. Drop these one at a time in hot oil and deep fry till golden brown. You may use a small spoon to drop the mixture into the oil, depending on your comfort.

Serve hot with Coriander Mint Chutney  and Ketchup.  

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