Vatidar Bhajia/Dal Bhajia
Through this post I’d like to wish all the dad’s out there a very Happy Father’s Day. It is true that Father’s Day gets overshadowed by Mother’s Day. However, dads too play an important and vital role in our upbringing. For me my dad has and is always there for me. His advise, his organizational skills, his reasoning ability, his strong family bonding ability and just his love and how his eyes lit up every time I call makes me feel so safe and comfortable.
My dad loves any indian farsan or snack, be it samosas, kachoris, bateta vada, arvi pan bhajia etc. In that respect, I am like him as I love these fresh snacks anytime to chevdo, gathia etc. His all time favourite is vatidar bhajia. A visit to Mombasa is not complete if you have not had the famous vatidar bhajia. Made from split cowpeas and split green grams or split chickpea lentils, every coffee shop, fast food restaurant will serve these famous bhajias. In the evenings, women sit at corners or near their home preparing these hot snacks for hungry passersby. During our visit to Mombasa, a visit to the Cosy Tearoom was a must for my dad to have a cup of tea and vatidar bhajias. I remember they use to serve them in these white saucers with the coconut chutney. My dad can make a meal out of these bhajias. Vatidar bhajia and he wouldn’t need anything else.
If you are ever in Mombasa, you must try vatidar bhajias. They are available in many restaurants and as street food everywhere in Mombasa. Its still a favourite snack for most Mombasians. Served with fresh coconut and raw mango chutney they go well with coffee, tea or even a soft drink.
VATIDAR BHAJIA/DAL BHAJIA
Makes about 26 to 28 depending on the size
1 cup chora dal (split cowpea lentils)
½ cup moong dal with skin (split green grams) or chana dal (split chickpea)
1 cup chopped fresh fenugreek (methi) or amaranth leaves (terere bhaji)
½ cup grated raw mango
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp green chilli paste or 2 chillis finely chopped
½ cup finely chopped onion
Chutney or dip:
½ cup grated raw mango
2 cups grated fresh coconut
2 to 3 green chillis
½” inch ginger piece
½ tsp salt
½ tsp roasted cumin seeds
1 to 1¼ cups water (Use the coconut water. Measure and top up the rest with plain water)
oil for deep frying
- Soak both the lentils separately in warm water for 6 to 8 hours.
- Drain it into a colander or sieve and wash under tap water.
- Grind both the lentils separately in a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, use a liquidizer but add minimum amount of water to liquidize it.
- Mix both the ground lentils.
- To the batter add the rest of the ingredients for the bhajia. Mix the batter very well.
- Heat oil in a wok or karai over medium heat. Drop a small piece of batter in the oil. If it comes up immediately, the oil is ready.
- Take a tablespoon of batter and using your fingers pat it into a round flattish shape. Drop into the hot oil. Repeat till you have about 6 to 8 bhajias in the oil. Lower the heat and start turning the bhajias, starting with the one you dropped in first.
- Fry till they are crispy and golden brown. Remove and put on a kitchen towel or colander to drain out the excess oil.
- Before frying the next batch, make sure the oil is hot.
- Serve hot with the chutney.
- To prepare the chutney, put all the ingredients into a liquidizer. Liquidize till the mango becomes like a paste.
- Can freeze the mixture till you need it again.
- Use these bhajias for falafel.
- Whip the batter for 5 minutes before you make the bhajias.
- If you are using moong dal, don’t throw away the skin. Just grind the lentils with the skin.
- The batter keeps well for 2 to 3 days in the fridge.
- Adjust the amount of chillis according to your taste.
- Use your thumb to gently push the shaped batter into the oil.
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