Vatidar Bhajia/Dal Bhajia

June 17, 2012mayurisjikoni
Blog post

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.

updated 1/10/2015
 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.

Blog post

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

  1. Soak both the lentils separately in warm water for 6 to 8 hours.
  2. Drain it into a colander or sieve and wash under tap water.
  3. 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.
  4. Mix both the ground lentils. 
  5. To the batter add the rest of the ingredients for the bhajia. Mix the batter very well.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Fry till they are crispy and golden brown. Remove and put on a kitchen towel or colander to drain out the excess oil.
  9. Before frying the next batch, make sure the oil is hot.
  10. Serve hot with the chutney.
  11. 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.

Pin for Later:

vatidar bhajia

A little request:

If you do try this recipe then please either

  • add a comment below,
  • send a picture to my email
  •  tag me as #mayuri_jikoni on Instagram
  • or tag me on Twitter as #Mayuri1962
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  • Sapna

    June 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    If not mistaken the place was called Blue room

  • Mayuri's jikoni

    June 19, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    before Blue Room there use to be Cosy Room where dad use to go and if lucky we got to go with him. I still remember red plastic chairs and white saucers.

  • Laxmi Farsan

    January 18, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Brilliant post!.i love it reading of this excellent post.This is one of my favorite snacks, yours has turned out perfectly ! Looks yum ! Really, i like the fact that you made it so easy for people like me to read. Thanks for a wonderful share.Click here for more information :- Farsan Snacks

  • Mayuri's jikoni

    June 17, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Thanks Laxmi farsan. Its encouraging comments like your that makes blogging the recipes all the more rewarding. I do try and keep the method as simple as possible. Once again thanks for the lovely comment.

  • Anonymous

    September 14, 2013 at 5:53 am

    Hi Mayuri! Your site is my saviour …my husband grew up in mombasa, so i am always looking for recipes like this! Thanks.

  • Shobha

    October 1, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Yummy and tangy snack.. looks so good. Any kind of bhajias are always welcome !

  • Linsy Patel

    October 3, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    bhajia looks super yummy for my rainy days here.

  • FoodTrails

    June 16, 2019 at 5:00 am

    I liked the use of raw mangoes in these bhajias, it must have added a sweet tangy taste.. also the dip sounds so delcious.. perfect combo of a rainy day with garam chai!!

  • Mina Joshi (@GiveMeSomeSpice)

    June 17, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    The vatidar bhajias look perfect. My cousins in Mombasa always spoke about them and asked us to create this recipe in Nairobi. I think adding fenugreek to the lentils gives them the unique taste.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 24, 2019 at 5:39 am

      Mina adding fenugreek or even what we call terere or tandario bhaji.

  • Renu Agrawal Dongre

    June 17, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Wow this is a unique recipe. A bhajiya with cowpeas and green grams. This are perfect in this rainy weather here. My dad is also a big fan of bhajiyas and can have it as is for his meal.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 24, 2019 at 5:38 am

      Thanks Renu, it seems both our dads have similar tastes.

  • chefmireille

    June 18, 2019 at 12:40 am

    When I make it to Mombasa will definitely have to try out these bhajia. In the meantime your pics are tempting me so much 🙂

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 24, 2019 at 5:37 am

      Thanks Mireille, and yes no one leaves Mombasa without sampling the street food. Let me know whenever you make it to Mombasa, I’ll gladly take you around.

  • Batter Up With Sujata

    June 18, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    First to say loved your write up Mayuri. Enjoyed reading. Bhajia looks crispy crunchy and delicious. Perfect snack for evening tea.

    1. mayurisjikoni

      June 24, 2019 at 5:36 am

      Thank you so much Sujata.

  • Maheboob Ladha

    March 29, 2020 at 3:38 pm

    Aah these turned out really good. In Kaberamaido Uganda we had these during “recess” time with mango chutney. Mama HAYATO made them, the flatter version mashed up in wooden kino miti. Amazing texture as even the chutney was a little grainy. My Bhabhi in Toronto makes them really good. Grinds lentils in a HAND meat mincer, twice!
    Thank you

    1. mayurisjikoni

      April 3, 2020 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you so much Maheboob Ladha for liking my recipe. As for memories, I think we all have some memories or the other about enjoying these famous bhajias. Hats off to your bhabhi for trying to get the authentic texture by using the hand meat mincer instead of a food processor.

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