Mhogo Na Bhajia (Cassava Fritters)
What is Mhogo Na Bhajia?
Mogo or as correctly known as Mhogo is the Kiswahili word for Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca. Bhajia is a popular snack from the Indian Sub Continent. Also known as bhajji, bhaji, bhajiya is a spicy fried fritter usually enjoyed as a snack on its own with chutney or served as a part of a main meal. Bhajia is one and the plural is bhajias, can be made from flours, vegetables, meat, fish and different grains. A spicy batter is made, a bit of it scooped up with fingers or a spoon and dropped into hot oil for frying. Best enjoyed when hot, any type of bhajia is a very popular snack.
A bit more about Mhogo (Cassava)
Mhogo grows in abundance in Kenya and is a staple in the local diet. Its usually added to a stew called irio. Around the coastal area, mhogo is cooked with coconut milk. I guess the first immigrants from the Indian Sub Continent that settled in East Africa, soon learnt how to use locally available vegetables and fruits in their daily cooking, mhogo being one of them. Cassava in coconut milk became a bit more spicier, Fried Mhogo enjoyed with a drizzle of lemon juice and a sprinkle of red chili powder. You will not miss Garlic Chili Mogo on any Indian Restaurant in the UK, a dish made popular by the Asian immigrants from East Africa. My kaki (aunt) prepares Mogo Chaat in a jiffy to fill hungry tummies. Check out how make an authentic Mhogo Wa Nazi, a popular Swahili Dish.A trip to the popular Lighthouse in Mombasa is incomplete without enjoying fried or roasted mhogo or cassava. And you have to enjoy the freshly fried mhogo crisps (chips) served with salt, lemon and red chili powder.
When can Mhogo na bhajia be served?
My mum would make Mhogo Na Bhajia during the Ekadashi Fasting. According to the Hindu Calendar, Ekadashi fasting comes twice a month. Ekadashi takes place on the eleventh day of the bright half called Shukla Paksha and the second one on the eleventh day of the dark half called Nad or Krishna Paksha. Mhogo bhajia can be served during Ekadashi as its a tuber Which is allowed during fasting if one is not able to fast without any food.Mhogo na Bhajia doesn’t necessarily have to be prepared only during Ekadashi. I make it as a hot snack often for the family or even as a starter dish when I have guests over.
- Its gluten free
- Ideal snack for vegans too
- As it has no onion or garlic is it an ideal satvik snack
MHOGO BHAJIA (CASSAVA BHAJIA)
Makes about 18 to 20
2 cups grated cassava
1½ cups mashed potato
2 tbsps sabudana (sagu, tapioca pearls)
½ cup chopped fresh coriander
1 tsp salt (sendha namak)
1- 2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp green chilli paste or 1- 2 finely chopped
1 tsp ginger paste
½ tsp red chilli powder
oil for frying
- Soak sabudana in some water for an hour. Drain it into a sieve. Let all the water come out.
- Peel and grate cassava to get 2 cups.
- Add sabudana and all the other ingredients to the grated cassava.
- Mix well and form into small flattish balls about the size of a small lemon.
- If the mixture is sticky, use oil to grease your hands.
- You should get about 18 to 20 pieces.
- Put the shaped balls on a greased tray.
- Heat oil for deep frying over medium heat.
- Drop a small piece of the mixture into the hot oil. If it comes up after a few seconds, then the oil is ready.
- Put about 6 to 8 pattis and fry over medium to low heat till they are golden brown.
- Serve hot bhajias with coriander chutney.
- Keep the bhajia mixture ready ahead. Shape the bhajias and keep in the fridge or outside if it is cold, till required.
- Serve these bhajias hot as cold ones do not taste that good.
- Serve with a chutney of your choice.
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