Plantain bajji with coconut chutney

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Delicious plantains wrapped in nutritious chickpea flour, and coconut the miracle fruit star in a mom-daughter exchange program. A secret ingredient adds the crispy touch to these southern indian plantain fritters or bajjis.  My mom shared her secret for bajjis & I share my tip for coconut chutney :) After volunteering to help 5-year olds in a competition today, enjoying a lovely & light meal prepared by some other volunteers, and post shopping, we returned home today with no more full meal desires. What I really wanted– plantain bajji with some ginger clove chai.

I’ve made these bajjis before, but they needed that mom’s secret—just a touch of rice flour to add that crispy texture. Mom helped make chai and the coconut chutney, while I prepared the bajjis.

Plantain Bajji

Ingredients
3 green plantains
1 cup fine chickpea flour
1 tbsp rice flour
1 cup water
2 cups Grapeseed oil
Spice Mix
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch hing
Salt to taste
Serves 4

Method
• Measure chickpea flour, rice flour, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper and hing in mixing bowl. SOS it may seem like a lot of cayenne but plaintain just soaks up spice!! Feel free to use just a pinch of cayenne for a test batch of bajjis & then you can add more if you still feel its too much cayenne.

• Add ¾ cup water and salt to taste. Beat dough thoroughly to remove any lumps, I used a spoon but you could use just as easily use a cake mixer. Add remaining water slowly if dough needs it. We’re looking for a cake batter that’s slightly on the thick side. Let sit. SOS letting dough sit will take care of the dough completely absorbing water.

• Heat oil in wok on medium high heat.

• Meanwhile wearing gloves, lightly peel plantain-I like to leave some skin on as I like the feel of a bit of plantain skin and the rustic texture that comes from the fibre, besides its quite good for health.. If you prefer completely peeled, here’s a how-to video .

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• Once peeled, cut plantain in half and then slice each half into 4. Soak plantain slices in cold water till you finish cutting all the plantains. SOS this will prevent plantain from getting black in colour. Drain water from sliced plantains and pat dry.

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• Test oil is the right temperature by dropping a penny size dough nugget in oil. If it comes sizzling to the top rightaway, oil is ready.

• Heavily coat each slice in batter and gently dip in oil. Try not to overcrowd pan. My pan held 4 slices at a time, and if you’d like some tips for healthy deep frying, yes there’s such a thing, check these notes.

• When bajjis are golden on one side, flip over to other side. When golden remove from pan and drain on paper towels.

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Health benefits
Plantain peel is great for a glowing skin, read more about other benefits here ..

Coconut Chutney

 Ingredients
1 cup grated coconut
3 thai green chillies
1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
½ cup water
Seasoning
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp urad dal
4 curry leaves
Hing
I tsp coconut oil
Salt to taste
Pots n pans
Food processor
Sauté pan

Serves 4

Method
• Grind grated coconut, thai chillies, some salt with quarter cup water in food processor till you have a slightly coarse paste. Add more water slowly if necessary. SOS this time I used coconut chunks instead of grated coconut & they work just as nicely.

• Stir in lemon juice and salt to taste.

• Heat oil in sauté pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds, let them pop and then add urad dal, curry leaves and hing. Optionally a dry red chili does wonders to raise the heat level of coconut chutney. Pour spice oil over coconut chutney. Serve with plantain bajjis and some hot clove ginger tea..

Here’s the tip I shared with my mom – if you’ve eaten coconut chutney in restaurants you might have found the texture a bit thickish.. That’s because of this natural additive-kala channa in hindi, pottukadalai in tamil. I love them roasted for a great snack by themselves, and they’re easily available in Indian grocery stores.

But I didn’t want to use them in chutney because roasted store bought can sometimes be rancid if its been sitting around for too long. Plus I love the pure taste of coconut and couldn’t dream of adding a thickener like this one—Managed to convince mom on this one, phew :). I can tell you that in itself was a feat…her take is this is how I would do it in India. Sometimes I have to gently remind her the same products are not available here and the climate is quite different too and the fine art of adaptability to local foods!!

–soul of spice–

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25 comments
  1. It’s been only for the last few years that I learned about and appreciate plantain dishes. BTW, I learned a new word (plantain), I called them all bananas. The chutney sounds very interesting. Since I have not used some of its ingredients, I have to do some reading (and hopefully tasting).
    Charu, I like the layout of your post, so clean, clear and easy following. :D Fae.

    • You made my day !!thanks so much Fae for your lovely compliment, means a lot to me.. you know how we share & share & share & then along comes an amazingly gracious comment saying how helpful this recipe is.. Hope you get to try plantain out, its delicious & has the subtlest taste diff from raw banana :)

  2. I really have a problem with fying things in oil at my house, for some reason that “fried” smell seems to linger for days. I love plantain and would love to make this dish, any suggestions on how to get around frying them?

    • I know the feeling. The other idea I once tried with a lot of success is pan roasted, just needs as little oil as you would use for sauteing. I put the zucchini dipped in the spice batter on a griddle, drizzled a little oil –kept a lid on & then when one side was cooked, I flipped over & the lid on once more…let me see if I can make that again. I’ll post with pix then..

  3. I check the hotness of oil by dipping wooden spoon If there are bubbles around it, that means it is hot.My God I didn’t know kala chana is added to the coconut chutney. But anyway its good and healthy, too.
    I am trying to remember the last time I ate plantain. Maybe many years, my mom made koftas.

    • What a neat trick.. Thanks for sharing. Yes split kala channa without the skin goes in coconut chutney. It’s great health wise, just sometimes restaurants add too much of it & reduce coconut, maybe a budget thing, but it compromises flavour….

  4. This dish sounds amazing. I see plantains in the wet market and do not know how to prepare them but with your lovely dish and that coconut chutney it sounds like a delicious dish I need to try.

    • thank you :) Plantains are delicious. You’re lucky they’re available in the fresh market, where do you live?

  5. I can only ziplock my mouth from watering after seeing those banana podi (that’s how it is called in Mangalore)! :)

  6. Hi Charu! I meant to comment on this post earlier today but ended up running off to do other things. Love your blog… the recipes look so beautiful. I’ve never tried plantains but the sound of the bhaji’s sound absolutely delicious!! Yum!! Thanks for popping in on my blog also. So nice to have made another inspiring blogging friend! Can’t wait to read more of your beautiful recipes and tips! xx

    • Hi Laura!! Thanks so much for your lovely comment… Completely understand –look at me taking my time to respond!! Work &travel.. Plantains are amazing. I’ll post some more interesting ways I’ve been trying them out soon. I do want to read more of your posts, hoping To make time this weekend for some good reading!!! Love, Charu

  7. Poppy said:

    I love plantain. As a vegetarian spending time in Africa, plantain was what I would eat every day and I loved it. I have never had it like this however, and it sounds amazing!

    • Can’t beat plantain for flavour!! Whst a coincidence. you had it almost daily while in Africa. In India we’d treat practically every inch of the banana plant as edible :)

      • Poppy said:

        Amazing, I love that attitude towards produce, so many edible parts of fruit and vegetables gets thrown away because it’s not as pretty. I love to use all my stalks and leaves etc. I also have lots of beautiful African ornaments made from banana leaves. So clever!

      • So good to meet a fellow blogger who believes in reusing.. You’ve got me thinking about a post now….stay tuned & so happy to have met you :)

      • Poppy said:

        Same to you! I look forward to reading more! :)

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