This particular snack I am sure is a favorite of all who would have tried it earlier, especially in winter or even otherwise. The beauty of chilli bajji or mulaku bajji (mulaku in Malayalam means chilli) is that, though the basic batter to fry is the same, the filling varies from one state to another in India. Some prepares without any filling as well.
We usually use Banana pepper (from the chilli family) for Chilli Bajji and it is tiny bit tangy, yet has a mild spice level. You can increase of decrease the spice level by removing or not removing the veins and seeds. Being born with an Indian palette, I love to have it the way it is with lots of spiciness. We even make it with Serrano pepper!
In this recipe, I am using a stuffing made with coconut with a blend of spices, nuts and use of tamarind for a tangy flavor. All you have to do is dry roast the spices and grind it in to a paste, not fine though. Just enough to hold the shape.
Once the stuffing is done, wash and dry the banana chillies, carefully make a slit one side, (remove the veins and seeds of you prefer ) and stuff with our coconut mix.
Going on to the batter, we need chickpea powder, rice powder, tiny bit of chilly, turmeric and hung powder, salt to taste and bicarbonate of soda for the texture. At this point, you have to be careful about the consistency of the batter , we do not want anything too watery or too thick. If you take off the whisk from batter, the batter should fall back as a ribbon.
The last and final step is to fry the chilli. Hold the head of the chilli, dip in to the batter and straight to a medium hot oil. Viola!! Now you just have to wait to get it cooked. Turn once in between. If we use high heat, the outer covering gets the brown colour, however the inner batter and the chilly remains uncooked. That could be the worst thing to do after all this hard work and your craving to eat it as fast as possible. Slow and steady wins the race!!
The chilli bajji can be accompanied with a dip, which usually in South India is the store bought ketchup. As we move to the north, they tend serve it with green chutney made of coriander and mint leaves. Though I would have loved to have both the dips, I did not had the greens at home to prepare the chutney. So I am going with the store bought ketchup. Feel free to use your own preferences.
That’s it, I have everything ready now for the beautiful winter day in Doha – piping hot chilli bajji with a spicy yet tangy coconut stuffing, ketchup to dip in, some onions and lemon on the side and last but not the least , hot masala tea for me and black tea for Shahul. How does that sounds to you ? Hope everyone will try it and let me know how it turned out for you !