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.
3 green plantains
1 cup fine chickpea flour
1 tbsp rice flour
1 cup water
2 cups Grapeseed oil
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
• 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 .
• 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.
• 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.
Plantain peel is great for a glowing skin, read more about other benefits here ..
1 cup grated coconut
3 thai green chillies
1 tbsp lemon/lime juice
½ cup water
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp urad dal
4 curry leaves
I tsp coconut oil
Salt to taste
|Pots n pans
• 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–