Toor Dal Fry| Dhaba Style Dal Fry

Dal Fry refers to a lentil gravy that is very popular in Indian restaurants, especially the dhabas of North India. It is an absolutely delicious dish, full of brilliant flavours, and makes for a beautiful accompaniment to rotis and rice alike. Today, I am going to share with you all the recipe for Dhaba Style Dal Fry.

Dhaba Style Dal Fry

What goes into Dal Fry?

The principal component of Dal Fry is mostly toor dal, while there may be other lentils added in at some times. The dish gets its name from the sauteed onions and tomatoes (‘fried’ in common parlance) that go into it – though there is really no deep-frying involved here.

Dal Fry is usually mildly spiced, with a bit of garam masala, lemon juice and kasoori methi greatly adding to it. However, it is the special tempering added to it that elevates the Dal Fry to a whole new level – mustard, cumin, garlic, curry leaves and a few other aromatics sizzled in ghee.

What is the difference between Dal Tadka and Dal Fry?

Both Dal Tadka and Dal Fry are popular dishes in Indian restaurants. The major components of both dishes are the same, but there is a difference in the way they are cooked, due to which the taste of both is completely different.

In Dal Tadka, the lentils are cooked along with the tomatoes and onions, after which it is salted, spiced and tempered. In Dal Fry, the tomatoes and onions are cooked separately and then mixed with the cooked lentils.

Different types of dal

I am a huge fan of different varieties of dal, and keep experimenting with various types at home. You might want to check out this Dal Moradabadi, Hyderabadi Khatti Dal, Maharashtrian Drumstick Dal, Gujarati Khatti Meethi Dal, Parikkai Pitla (a Tamilnadu version of sambar or dal), and Dal Dhokli.

Next up on my list is this Panch Phoron Dal that my fellow blogger Sujata ji has shared. Sujata ji‘s blog, Batter Up With Sujata, is a treasure house of unique baked goodies and Bengali recipes. I love the deep-red colour of this dal that Sujata ji has prepared with masoor dal and the Bengali five-spice mix called Panch Phoron.

How to make Dhaba Style Dal Fry

Making Dhaba Style Dal Fry at home is not very difficult. I have been fortunate enough to learn some dhaba-special dishes from a wonderfully talented cook in Delhi, such as this Aloo Matar Sabzi and Pakodewali Kadhi. This Dal Fry too I learnt from her, years ago, and have made countless times myself.

Here is how I go about it.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1/2 cup toor dal
  2. 1 medium-sized tomato
  3. 1 medium-sized onion
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 2 green chillies
  6. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Red chilli powder to taste
  9. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  11. 1/2 teaspoon jaggery powder
  12. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
  13. 1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  14. 3/4 tablespoon kasoori methi

For tempering:

  1. 3/4 tablespoon ghee
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  3. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  4. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  5. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  6. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  7. 2 dry red chillies

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Centre left and right: Steps 3 and 4, Bottom left and right: Step 5

1. Wash the toor dal well under running water. Drain out all the water. Place the washed and drained toor dal in a wide vessel.

2. Add in enough water to cover the toor dal completely. Keep the water about 1/2 inch above the dal. Place the vessel in the pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 7-8 whistles or till the dal is completely cooked. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Chop the tomato finely. Peel the ginger and onion, and chop them finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.

4. Peel the garlic cloves. Pound them roughly using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.

5. When the pressure from the cooker has gone down fully, get the cooked toor dal out. Mash the cooked dal thoroughly. Keep aside.

Top left and right: Step 6, Below top right and bottom right: Step 7, Bottom left: Step 8

6. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the finely chopped onion and ginger and the slit green chillies. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the onions start browning.

7. At this stage, add the chopped tomatoes to the pan. Also add in a bit of salt and a little water. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the tomatoes turn mushy.

8. Still keeping the flame at medium, add the cooked toor dal to the pan. Also add in about 3/4 cup water or as needed to adjust the consistency of the Dal Fry.

Top left: Step 9, Top right and below: Step 10, Above bottom right: Step 11, Bottom right: Step 12, Bottom left: Step 13

9. Add salt and red chilli powder to taste, as well as the turmeric powder. Keep the flame at medium. Mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes.

10. Now, add the garam masala to the pan, along with the jaggery powder. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for 3-4 minutes or till the mixture starts thickening. Switch off gas when the mixture is still a bit runny, as it will thicken further with time.

11. Add in the finely chopped coriander at this stage. Rub the kasoori methi roughly between the palms of your hands and add it to the pan too.

12. Add in the lemon juice too. Mix well.

13. Lastly, we will do the tempering for the dal. Heat the ghee in a small tempering pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Now, turn the flame down to medium and add in the cumin seeds, asafoetida, pounded garlic, curry leaves and dry red chillies. Let the ingredients stay in for a few seconds, taking care to ensure that they do not burn. When the garlic browns, switch off gas and add the tempering to the dal in the pan. Immediately cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, to seal the flavours of the tempering into the dal. Your Dal Fry is ready to serve after 15 minutes of keeping it closed. Serve it hot with rotis, parathas, naan or rice.

Is this a vegan and gluten-free recipe?

The above recipe is completely vegetarian, but it is not vegan (plant-based) due to the use of ghee. Using a plant-based oil instead of ghee in the tempering would make it vegan.

This Dal Fry is not gluten-free because of the use of asafoetida. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a greater or lesser extent and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. To make this dish completely gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Also, do ensure that the garam masala you are using is gluten-free too.

Tips & Tricks

1. Make sure the toor dal is completely cooked, soft and mushy before proceeding to make the Dal Fry. There’s no need to soak the toor dal before cooking it, but you may if you want to.

2. I have used home-made garam masala here. You may use a store-bought version instead, too.

3. You may add some coriander powder to the Dal Fry, along with the garam masala. I usually skip this.

4. You may skip adding the jaggery if you don’t prefer it. Personally, I would definitely suggest using it, as it rounds off the other flavours nicely.

5. I have used ghee here in the tempering, which adds a beautiful taste to the Dal Fry. You may use oil instead, if you so prefer. Make sure none of the ingredients burn while doing the tempering.

6. Don’t forget to keep the Dal Fry closed for some time, after the tempering is done. This is very important to infuse the flavours of the tempering beautifully into the Dal Fry.

7. Adjust the amount of salt, red chilli powder, garam masala, green chillies, jaggery and lemon juice as per personal taste preferences.

8. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the Dal Fry you require. The ideal consistency is thick, but not too thick, and definitely not watery.

9. I have used only toor dal to make the Dal Fry. You may mix in some masoor dal and/or moong dal too.

10. Some also add cinnamon and cloves to the tempering, along with the other ingredients mentioned above. I don’t.

11. If you want to keep the Dal Fry really mild or are, maybe, serving it to kids, you could skip the red chilli powder. The green chillies would add a mild heat to the dal in this case.

12. Some use the ‘dhungar‘ method with charcoal to infuse the Dal Fry with a smoky flavour. However, I avoid this.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Cheese Vegetable Grilled Sandwich

Sandwiches are a huge favourite in India, a popular choice for breakfast, a working lunch, a tea-time snack or a light dinner. It is a common street-side food as well. Today, I am going to share with you all the recipe for Cheese Vegetable Grilled Sandwich, one of my most favourites. It is just the perfect weather for the rainy, overcast weather we are having here in Bangalore at the moment.

Cheese Vegetable Grilled Sandwich

Can a Cheese Vegetable Grilled Sandwich be healthy?

I believe sandwiches often wrongly get the rap for being junk food and unhealthy. Well, they can be healthy too, if you use the right sort of ingredients! Use a whole wheat bread (without added sugar if you please), loads of vegetables, non-processed butter and cheese, and a preservative-free (or home-made tomato ketchup), and they become relatively (if not completely) guilt-free.

That is exactly what I have done here, except for the cheese. I have used slices of DLecta’s Melto cheese here, which are processed, but super melt-y. Can you see it oozing out of the sandwich in the picture above? They are specially designed for easy melting, which makes them perfect for use in things like burgers and sandwiches. #NotSponsored

There are a few bakeries making preservative-free, whole wheat bread in Bangalore, and I used the one from Lluvia Bakery. I have used salted butter from Akshayakalpa and preservative-free tomato ketchup from Heinz. #NotSponsored

How to make Cheese Vegetable Grilled Sandwich

Here is how I make the sandwich. It’s so easy to put together!

Ingredients (makes 4 sandwiches):

1. 8 slices of bread

2. Salted butter, as needed

3. Green chutney, as needed

4. 1 small onion

5. 1 small tomato

6. 1 small capsicum

7. 1 small seedless cucumber

8. 4 cheese slices

9. Tomato ketchup, as needed

10. Chaat masala, as needed, for garnishing

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom left and right: Steps 3 and 4

1. Peel the onion and chop into thin slices. Chop the tomato and cucumber into thin slices too. Remove stem, seeds and core from the capsicum and chop into thin slices too. Keep ready.

2. Spread butter on one slice of bread and green chutney on another.

3. Place a few slices of capsicum on top of the bread slice with chutney on it, keeping the chutney side up. Place a slice of onion on it, and a couple of slices of tomato on top of this. Arrange a few cucumber slices evenly on top of the other veggies.

Top left and right: Steps 4 and 5, Bottom right and left: Steps 6 and 7

4. Place a cheese slice on top of the veggies.

5. Drizzle some tomato ketchup on top of the cheese slice, and some chaat masala on top of this.

6. Now, cover the sandwich using the slice of bread that is buttered, butter side down.

7. Grill the sandwich on a pan, till the tops turn brown and crisp. Take care to ensure that the sandwich does not burn. You could also use a sandwich maker to do so. Your Cheese Vegetable Grilled Sandwich is ready – serve it hot.

8. Use all the bread slices to prepare sandwiches in the same manner.

Other sandwich recipes I’m fond of

We are a sandwich-loving family, and I make many different types at home. There is a plethora of sandwich recipes on my blog, too. Take for example this Bombay Sandwich, this Cheese And Curried Babycorn Sandwich, this Subway-Style Veggie Delight Sandwich, these Bun Sandwiches made in 4 different ways, and this Hot & Sweet Sandwich.

While we are on the subject of sandwiches, I so want to try out this Chocolate Sandwich With Peanut Butter from Sasmita’s blog, First Timer Cook. I’m a huge fan of the chocolate sandwiches we get at Hari Super Sandwich in Bangalore, and this sounds quite similar!

Tips & Tricks

1. I have used whole wheat bread here. You can use any type of bread you prefer.

2. I have used slices of DLecta’s Melto cheese, but you may use any other variety instead too. You can use grated cheese instead of the slices I have used here, too.

3. Cucumber, onion, tomato and capsicum are the only vegetables I use in this sandwich. You may use boiled beetroot and/or potato, steamed sweet corn and olives too.

4. I have used home-made green chutney here. Head to this post for the recipe.

5. For sandwiches, I prefer using English/European cucumber – what is locally called ‘seedless cucumber’. This variety has very few or no seeds, is crisp and tasty and suits perfectly in a sandwich.

6. This recipe is completely vegetarian, but not vegan (plant-based). It is not gluten-free either.

7. I don’t cut off the edges of the bread slices, while making sandwiches. You may do so if you prefer.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry| Brinjal Stir-Fry With Freshly Ground Spices

Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry, a heritage dish from Tamilnadu, is what we are going to talk about in today’s post.

What is Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry?

It refers to an eggplant stir-fry made using a freshly ground spice mix. The eggplants aka brinjals (‘kathrikkai in Tamil) are first sauteed in sesame oil, after which a few spices are roasted, ground (the ‘podi’) and added in – this takes the fragrance and flavour of the curry to new heights! I am not a huge fan of eggplant in curries, but this one is one of my eternal favourites! ❤️

Just how pretty do these long purple eggplants look?!

This curry is a big favourite at my place, with rice and sambar or rasam. My mom is an expert at making Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry and, today, I am sharing her way of making this dish. Trust me, this is a real beauty – you must try it out.

#SideKaKamaal at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this week is #SideKaKamaal, wherein the group members are showcasing different types of side dishes for rotis and/or rice.

Priya Vijaykrishnan of Sweet Spicy Tasty suggested the theme for this week. Her blog is a treasure house of heritage recipes from Tamilnadu, kid-friendly foods, and various dishes from international cuisines. I’m loving the look of the Chou Chou Kadalai Paruppu Kootu she has presented for the theme, a traditional Tamilnadu-style curry made using chayote and lentils. On my list of things to try out!

 

Here is how we make it. It is a simple recipe, prepared on the lines of the Vazhakkai Podi Potta Curry that I had shared some time ago.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

1. 8-9 long eggplants
2. 1 teaspoon + 2 tablespoons oil
3. 3/4 tablespoon coriander seeds
4. 3-4 dry red chillies
5. 3/4 tablespoon urad dal
6. 1-1/2 tablespoons chana dal
7.A small piece of tamarind
8.1 teaspoon mustard seeds
9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
10. 1 sprig of fresh curry leaves
11. Salt to taste
12. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top left: Step 3, Bottom left and right: Steps 4 and 5

1. Remove the tops from the brinjals. Chop them into small pieces.

2. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for 15-20 minutes.

3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the coriander seeds, dry red chillies, urad dal and chana dal. Roast on medium flame till the ingredients turn fragrant and the dal starts changing colour. This should take about 2 minutes. Take care to ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Transfer to a plate and allow the roasted ingredients to cool down fully.


4. When the soaked tamarind has softened, extract a thick paste from it.

5. Once the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, grind them together to a fine powder in a small mixer jar. Do not add any water.

Top left and right: Steps 6 and 7, Centre left and right: Steps 8 and 9, Bottom left and right: Steps 10 and 11

6. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the same pan we used earlier. Add in the mustard, and allow to sputter. Now, add in the curry leaves and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

7. Add the chopped brinjal to the pan.  Now, add salt and turmeric powder. Mix well. Turn the flame down to medium.

8. Cook covered on medium flame for 4-5 minutes, or till the brinjal is completely cooked. Uncover in between to stir, and sprinkle very little water if required.

9. When the brinjal is cooked through, add the tamarind paste. Keep the flame medium. Mix well.

10. Now, add the spice powder we ground earlier, stirring constantly so that all of the brinjal is evenly coated with the powder.

11. Cook uncovered on medium flame for 3-4 more minutes, stirring intermittently. Your Kathrikkai Podi Potta Curry is ready – serve warm or at room temperature with rice and sambar or rasam.

Is this recipe vegan and gluten-free?

The above recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. However, it is not gluten-free because of the use of asafoetida (as most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour, to a greater or lesser extent). If you want to make this curry gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use good, fresh and firm brinjals without any holes in them.

2. Adjust the number of dry red chillies you use depending upon how spicy you want the curry to be. Here, I have used a mix of the very spicy Salem Gundu dry red chillies and the not-so-hot Bydagi dry red chillies.

3. Sesame oil works best in this curry. However, in case you don’t have it, you may use coconut oil or any other oil of your preference.

4. Make sure the lentils and dry red chillies are well-roasted and have completely cooled down before grinding them. Ensure that the ingredients do not burn while roasting.

5. Make sure the brinjals are well cooked before adding in the freshly ground powder.

6. The tamarind is added to balance the slight bitterness that brinjals sometimes possess. Make sure the tamarind extract is thick and not watery.

7. I have used long, purple eggplants here. However, you may use any other variety you prefer.

8. Make sure all the pieces of eggplant are evenly coated with the spice powder.

9. You can grind the spice powder as fine or coarse as you prefer. We keep it mostly fine, with just a little bit of coarseness.

10. For best results, make sure you use a heavy-bottomed pan to make this curry.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Basil Cream Sauce Pasta| Pasta In Basil Cream Sauce

Pasta In Basil Cream Sauce is a delectable way to enjoy pasta, the beloved of many. It makes for a great change from the usual pasta cooked in white sauce or red sauce. It is creamy and decadent, a real treat to the senses with the fragrance of fresh basil. Today, I am going to share with you all the recipe for Pasta In Basil Cream Sauce, the way I make it.

Pasta In Basil Cream Sauce or Basil Cream Sauce Pasta

A closer look at Pasta In Basil Cream Sauce

As the name suggests, Pasta In Basil Cream Sauce or Basil Cream Sauce Pasta refers to pasta cooked in a creamy basil sauce. However, there is no actual cream used in my version. I have used very little cheese here, too.

I start by making a regular white sauce (with whole wheat flour and milk), to which I add my home-made Peanut Basil Pesto. This combination gives the pasta a creamy, rich finish, without actually having to use any fresh cream. There are a few other ingredients I add in, too, to suit my family’s tastebuds.

Like I was saying earlier, this is one delicious pasta dish, a delight to indulge in. It’s a family favourite! I wouldn’t say this is the healthiest thing ever, but I would still consider this a relatively healthy dish because I make all the components at home. I can control the quality and quantity of every single thing that goes into it.

#PastaPlease theme at Foodie Monday Blog Hop

I am sharing this recipe in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. It was my turn to suggest the theme this week, and I chose #PastaPlease. Group members will be showcasing recipes for different types of pasta, as part of the theme.

I already have a few pasta recipes on my blog, like this Two-Sauce Pasta made using home-made Basil And Pumpkin Seed Pesto, this beautiful Pasta Arrabiatta, Spaghetti Aglio Olio, Beetroot Pasta Salad and Indian-Style Pasta Stir-Fry. For this week’s theme, I decided to share this Basil Cream Sauce Pasta, which I make frequently but have never had a chance to write about on the blog.

How to make Basil Cream Sauce Pasta

Here is how I make it.

Ingredients (serves 3):

1. 2 cups pasta

2. Salt to taste

3. 1 teaspoon + 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

4. 5-6 cloves of garlic

5. 2 tablespoons wheat flour

6. 2 cups of milk

7. 2 tablespoons basil pesto + some more, as needed for garnishing

8. 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup

9. 1 tablespoon red chilli sauce

10. Freshly cracked black pepper, as needed (optional)

11. Dried Italian herbs, as needed for garnishing

Method:

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Bottom right and left: Step 3
  1. Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the package. I took 5 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pan, placed it on high flame, and allowed it to come to a boil. Then I added in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of olive oil, along with the 2 cups of pasta. After this, I reduced the flame to medium and let the pasta cook for 5-6 minutes or till it reached the al dente stage – cooked through but not overly mushy, with some crunch still left in it.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, peel the garlic cloves and chop them finely. Keep ready.
  3. When the pasta is cooked al dente, drain out the water using a colander. You may reserve the pasta cooking water for later use. Run cold water over the cooked pasta immediately, to stop it from cooking further. Let it rest undisturbed for a while and allow all the water to drain out of it.
Top left: Step 4, Top right and below top right: Step 5, Bottom right and left: Steps 6 and 7

4. Now, we will start preparing the Basil Cream Sauce Pasta. For this, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a dry, clean pan. Drop in the chopped garlic. Saute for a few seconds till the garlic turns aromatic.

5. At this stage, turn the flame down to medium and add in the wheat flour. Saute on medium flame for a couple of minutes or till the wheat flour turns fragrant and attains the consistency of wet sand. Take care to ensure that the flour does not burn.

6. Now, add the milk to the pan, little by little, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Keep the flame still at medium. Mix well. Cook for about 2 minutes or till the milk starts thickening.

7. Add in salt to taste.

Top left and right, Centre left: Step 8, Centre right: Step 9, Bottom left and right: Step 10 and 11

8. Add in the freshly cracked black pepper, followed by the basil pesto, tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt, the pesto and spiciness. Constantly stirring, cook on medium flame for a minute or so until the mixture thickens up well – your basil cream sauce is ready.

9. Add in the pasta at this stage. Mix gently but well, coating the pasta evenly with the pesto cream sauce. Let everything cook together on medium flame for a minute more, then switch off the gas.

10. Gently mix in the dried Italian herbs. Your Basil Cream Sauce Pasta is ready.

11. Transfer the pasta into serving bowls. Serve immediately, topped with some more of the basil pesto.

Tips & Tricks

  1. I have used shell-shaped pasta from Bambino here, which is made using durum wheat. You can use any type of pasta that you prefer.
  2. You may use refined flour (maida) instead of the wheat flour I have used here.
  3. I have used Heinz tomato ketchup and Ching’s red chilli sauce here. You may use any other brands of sauces that you prefer, instead.
  4. If you feel the spiciness from the red chilli sauce is enough, you may skip using the black pepper. I did use some black pepper, though. If you are using black pepper, I would highly recommend using it freshly cracked rather than a pre-packaged powdered version.
  5. I have used home-made basil pesto here. However, you may use a store-bought version to save some time. Also, you can use any other variety of pesto instead.
  6. I have used boiled and cooled full-fat milk from Nandini here, to make the pasta sauce. I have not tried making this with vegan milk, so I’m not sure how that works. The pesto I have used here is not vegan either.
  7. Adjust the quantities of pesto, black pepper, tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce as per personal taste preferences.
  8. Be careful while adding salt to the pasta sauce. Remember that the pasta has already been cooked with some salt. There is also some amount of salt in the pesto, as well as in the tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce.
  9. Do remember to cook the pasta al dente i.e. till it is cooked through but not mushy, still with a bit of a crunch to it. Remember that it will cook further in the sauce.
  10. This Basil Cream Sauce Pasta is best served immediately after making it. If you need to wait for some time before serving it, there are chances that the pasta might get very thick. In that case, heat it up with a splash of milk to make it runny again.
  11. You may use some fresh cream to make the pasta more flavourful and creamy. However, I have not used any here.
  12. Olive oil works best in the making of pesto and pasta. I have used extra virgin olive oil from Borges in both the pasta and the pesto.
  13. I like the light tang that the tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce add to the pasta. If you feel these ingredients have no place in a pasta dish, please do feel free to leave them out.
  14. Add the salt, tomato ketchup and red chilli sauce to the pan only after the milk has thickened up a bit. This will help keep the milk from splitting.
  15. You may add some grated cheese to the pasta too, if you prefer. I haven’t, because the pesto already contains some amount of cheese.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

Capsicum Bajji, Karnataka Style

Capsicum Bajji is a popular monsoon snack in many places across India. In fact, bajjis and monsoons are almost synonymous in the country – it just has to begin to rain, and out come the pans of hot oil in various homes. Chopping vegetables into large chunks, coating them in a chickpea flour batter, the sizzle as these flour-coated veggies land in the hot oil, frying them till crisp and beautiful – these are the sounds of monsoon in most Indian homes.

Capsicum Bajji, Karnataka Style

The mild heat of a bell pepper (‘capsicum’ in Indian parlance) makes it a perfect candidate for making bajjis or fritters. In Karnataka, capsicums are dunked whole into batter and deep-fried, then cut open and served topped with a crunchy onion-carrot salad that’s generously doused with lemon juice. Biting into a piece of the fritter, steam rising out of it, and the sharp contrast of the cool lemon-y salad – that’s a blissful experience that one must definitely have. Considering it is raining in Bangalore at the moment and the weather is simply gorgeous, I had to go ahead and make some Karnataka-style Capsicum Bajji (sliced instead of whole, though) over the weekend. Here’s presenting the recipe to you all.

#BellPepperCreations At The Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is brought to you in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of food bloggers who share recipes based on a certain theme, every Monday. The theme this week is #BellPepperCreations, wherein all of us are showcasing different lip-smacking dishes made using capsicum. I chose to share the recipe for Capsicum Bajji, Karnataka Style, as it was perfectly in sync with the rainy, overcast weather we are experiencing in Bangalore now.

Preethi of Preethi’s Cuisine is hosting the blog hop this week. I love the unique touches she comes up with in most of her recipes – you have to check them out! Preethi has prepared a (unique, as usual) Bell Pepper Peas Fried Rice for the theme, and it’s giving me major cravings!

How to make Capsicum Bajji| Capsicum Bajji Recipe, Karnataka Style

Here’s how to make them.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

For the bajjis:

1. 2 large capsicum

2. 1 cup gram flour (besan)

3. 2 tablespoons rice flour

4. Salt to taste

5. 1 teaspoon red chilli powder

6. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

7. Oil, as needed for deep-frying

For the salad:

1. 1 medium-sized onion

2. 1 medium-sized carrot

3. 3/4 teaspoon chaat masala or to taste

4. Salt as needed

5. A dash of red chilli powder

6. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste

7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

1. Wash the capsicum and pat dry using a cotton cloth. Then, cut them open and remove the stem, seeds and core.

2. Chop the capsicum into large pieces. Keep aside.

3. Next, we will prepare the batter for the Capsicum Bajji. Take the gram flour in a large mixing bowl. Add in the rice flour, salt to taste, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Adding water little by little, mix everything well to make a batter that is neither too thick nor too watery. I needed about 1-1/4 cups of water. Keep aside.

4. Next, take the oil for deep-frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place on high flame and allow the oil to get nice and hot.

Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Centre left and right: Step 3, Bottom left: The batter consistency, neither too watery nor too thick, Bottom right: Step 4

5. While the oil is heating up, prepare the salad for the bajjis. Peel the carrot and grate it, medium-thick, into a large mixing bowl. Chop the onion finely and add it in too. Add in chaat masala, salt (if using), red chilli powder and finely chopped coriander. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Mix well. The salad is ready – keep it aside.

6. When the oil is hot, turn the flame down to medium. Dip a few pieces of capsicum in the batter we prepared earlier and coat them in it evenly. Drop the batter-coated capsicum pieces into the hot oil. Deep fry evenly, then transfer them to a plate using a slotted spoon.

7. Serve the prepared Capsicum Bajji hot. To serve, place them on a serving plate, and place some of the prepared salad over them.

8. Deep-fry all the bajjis, top them with the salad, and serve hot in a similar manner.

Top left and right, Centre left: Step 5, Centre right, Bottom left and right: Step 6

Tips & Tricks

1. Use fresh capsicum for best results.

2. I have used green capsicum here. You may use capsicum in other colours too.

3. Make sure the batter is neither too thick nor too watery, for best results.

4. I have removed the seeds from the capsicum, because I did not want the bajjis to be too spicy. However, if you want spicy bajjis, you may leave the seeds in.

5. Use a heavy-bottomed pan for frying the Kodamilagai Bajji. Fry a few of the fritters at a time, making sure you do not overcrowd the pan.

6. Make sure you fry the fritters on medium flame, so that they cook evenly.

7. The Capsicum Bajji salad traditionally does not include chaat masala, but I use it because I love the flavour it imparts. Be careful while adding salt to the salad, because the chaat masala already contains salt – you may even skip the salt if you so prefer.

8. If the capsicums are spicy, you may skip using red chilli powder in the salad too.

9. Be generous with the lemon juice in the salad. Slightly sour salad goes beautifully with the heat of the Capsicum Bajji.

10. Here, I have chopped the capsicum into large pieces. I prefer chopping them because of the possibility that they might be spoilt inside or have worms – it’s always safer to check, right? You may even coat entire capsicums in the batter and deep-fry them, if you so prefer. If you choose to slice the capsicum, you may keep the pieces as big as you prefer.

11. This is a completely vegetarian and vegan recipe, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is completely gluten-free too.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!