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State specific cuisine is a unique feature of India. It is quite common to find that the food item undergoes a few regional transitions and becomes a new item with modified tastes as it moves into another state. One such item is 'bonda'. Down South - Tamilnadu, Andhra and Karnataka - bonda is made with typical South Indian tempering using mustard, black gram dal, chana dal and curry leaves. As it travels to Maharashtra bonda gets transformed into 'vada'. Vada is seasoned with garlic and chillies and does away with the other seasonings. Bondas are available through out India on way side stalls as they sell like hot cakes, especially during rainy days. I prefer making mine at home.

Today's 'bonda' is a specialty from Tamil Nadu. I have never heard it mentioned without its twin, hence today I am bringing you the twin delights 'bonda and bajji':). I must caution you that these fritters are tasty and will tantalize you into having 'one too many', but it is best enjoyed in small numbers with a hot cuppa!

It is a difficult to cook snacks like these with exact measurements as there are many factors that decide the amount of water added, such as the quality of flour used. I have tried to stick to specific weights to make it easier for a novice cook to get the right consistency. Please add water in small portions rather than 'all at once' as the batter tends to absorb more oil if watery.


Recipe: Urulai Bonda (Deep fried potato balls Stuffed in Chickpea flour)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 5-7 persons
Shelf Life: Strictly to be served from pan to plate
Recipe Level: Beginner/Easy
Spice Level: Can be adjusted according to taste
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

Ingredients:
For the batter:
1 cup - besan / chickpea flour
1 tbsp. - rice flour or cornflour
Salt to taste
1tsp. - Hot oil
1/4 tsp. - red chilli powder
1/8 tsp. - turmeric powder

For Tempering:
0.5 teaspoon sesame oil (Any mild oil)
1/4 teaspoon rai / Mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon Urad Dal / black gram dal
1/4 teaspoon Channa Dal / Bengal gram
1 sprig curry leaf
2 Green Chillies, chopped fine
1/2" ginger, chopped fine
a pinch of asafoetida (hing)

For the Filling:
5 medium sized boiled, peeled potatoes
1/8tsp. pinch of turmeric powder
Chilli powder to taste
Juice from half a lime
Salt to taste

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Procedure:
  1. Combine the ingredients for the batter together with a whisk till smooth with about 1/2 cup of water. The consistency should be thicker than 'crepe' batter but thinner than 'pancake' batter. Add salt to taste and set aside.
  2. Peel and mash the potatoes coarsely keeping a few chunks. Add the rest of the ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Next heat a wok. Add oil as required to temper, from the second set of ingredients for tempering. Start with the mustard seeds, when they pop add the other ingredients in order given. Saute till the dals change colour. Then add the slit chillies, curry leaves.
  4. Pour the tempering into the filling that was prepared at step 2. Squeeze half the lime without pits. Mix with a spoon to blend the juice and tempering uniformly.
  5. Make inch sized balls out of the filling. You should be able to form 18-20 such balls.
  6. Heat oil for deep frying to moderate heat. To test whether it is ready for frying slip a few drops of the batter. If it sizzles and comes up immediately the oil is ready.
  7. Now dip one potato ball into the batter. Coat it all over with the batter, remove and slide into hot oil. Stir to fry on all sides and remove when evenly done. (Dark yellow to light brown in colour).
  8. You can fry three or four at a time. Frying takes about 2 minutes per batch. If the oil becomes too hot, turn it low.
  9. Serve hot with mint or coconut chutney.



Recipe: Potato fritters or Urulai Bajji
Prep Time:10
Serves:1 or 2 persons
Shelf Life: Strictly to be served from pan to plate
Recipe Level: Beginner/Easy
Spice Level: Can be adjusted according to taste
Recipe/Post by: Sunshinemom

Ingredients:
For the batter:
Same as above.
Potato - 1 medium sized potatoes sliced into thin ovals.


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Procedure:
  1. Combine the ingredients for the batter together with a whisk till smooth with about 1/2 cup of water. The consistency should be thicker than a 'crepe' batter but thinner than a 'pancake' batter. Add salt to taste and set aside.
  2. Dip the slices one by one into the batter and fry as before. You will be able to fry several at a time. Take care to toss soon as it tends to brown fast.
  3. Serve hot with chutney, garlic powder or sauce.


Special Notes/Tips:
  • If the batters turns lumpy just give it a turn in the mixer before going ahead. A lumpy batter can be a pain!
  • You may substitute potatoes with sliced onions (ringlets), raw bananas, chow chow, bread , cheese or paneer.


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7 comments

  1. Nags // 8 September 2009 at 13:17  

    those nice hands, again :)

  2. Hari Chandana // 8 September 2009 at 14:49  

    Bajji looks very tempting.. Yummyy Clicks.. perfect for this season.. :)

  3. Pavithra Kodical // 8 September 2009 at 20:03  

    I am drooling here, Yup one is not sufficient.Perfect click :)

  4. Jayashree // 9 September 2009 at 10:25  

    The outer layer of the bajji looks so thin and crisp.

  5. Pavani // 10 September 2009 at 00:48  

    I'm very partial to Alu bonda and bajji. Your pics are tooooooo tempting. May be I'll make some this weekend.

  6. Suma Gandlur // 11 September 2009 at 00:47  

    Mouth watering.

  7. Sudeshna // 11 September 2009 at 19:39  

    I just love everything about potatoes. The alu bhajjis look so tempting :).
    We are organizing an for this festive season, an eBook will be published along with the round-up, please to visit the following link to know more
    http://bengalicuisine.net/2009/09/08/durga-puja-food-festival/