Muhogo Na Bhajia/ Cassava Fritters
What is Muhogo Na Bhajia/ Cassava Fritters?
Muhogo Na Bhajia/ Cassava Fritters is a fried snack made from boiled cassava, grated cassava and soaked tapioca pearls. Usually prepared on Ekadashi Fasting days, it is gluten free and vegan. Enjoy these bhajias or fritters as tea time snack, as an appetizer or as a part of a main meal.
Muhogo 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. One is bhajia, several are bhajias. Make them with flours, vegetables, meat, fish and different grains. Best enjoyed when hot, any type of bhajia is a very popular snack.
A bit more about Muhogo
Muhogo grows in abundance in Kenya and is a staple in the local diet. Known also as tapioca, yucca, manioc, it is a root. This tuber is actually from South America. It was brought to Africa during the 16th Century and became a part of the staple diet. Being a rich source of carbohydrates, it keeps one full for a long period of time.
How Is Muhogo/ Cassava Used in Kenya:
- Its usually added to a stew called irio.
- Fried Muhogo enjoyed with a drizzle of lemon juice and a sprinkle of red chili powder.
- You will not miss Garlic Chili Muhogo on any Indian Restaurant in the UK, a dish made popular by the Asian immigrants from East Africa.
- My kaki (aunt) prepares Muhogo Chaat in a jiffy to fill hungry tummies.
- Check out how make an authentic Muhogo Wa Nazi, a popular Swahili Dish. Kenyan Indians prefer to make it a bit spicier.
- A trip to the popular Lighthouse in Mombasa is incomplete without enjoying fried or roasted muhogo or cassava. And you have to enjoy the freshly fried muhogo crisps (chips) served with salt, lemon and red chili powder.
When can Muhogo 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. Muhogo 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. These Bhajias don’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.
Muhogo Bhajia/ Cassava Fritters:
These can be prepared two ways:
- Use boiled and mashed potatoes. Add grated raw cassava, soaked tapioca pearls and spices.
- Make using boiled and mashed cassava. To this add the grated cassava, soaked sabudana, spices and other ingredients.
I usually deep fry the bhajia but you can easily make them in an air fryer or in a paniyaram pan. (aebleskiver pan). This way, you’re using less oil.
Consuming raw cassava can be toxic for the body. Always cook it properly. I have added raw grated cassava to the bhajia mix. Therefore it is paramount that you fry the bhajias or fritters properly over medium flame and not high.
Ingredients Required For Muhogo Bhajia/ Cassava Fritters:
- Peeled, Boiled and Mashed Cassava – can replace it with boiled and mashed potato.
- Raw Cassava – must grate it finely.
- Tapioca Pearls – Sabudana, soak them in water for at least 2-4 hours. Drain and pat dry them with a kitchen towel.
- Roasted Peanuts – crushed into a coarse powder or chopped
- Fresh Ginger – grated or minced
- Green Chillis – fresh, chopped or paste
- Red Chilli Powder – according to your taste.
- Salt– use sendha namak, rock salt
- Sugar – optional
- Lemon Juice
- Fresh Coriander – Cilantro -chopped finely
- Cumin Seeds– jeera. Lightly roasted in a pan.
- Gluten Free Flour – for binding. Can use tapioca flour, amaranth flour, arrowroot flour or water chestnut flour.
- Oil – for deep frying. For Ekadashi do not use corn oil. Instead, use sunflower oil or peanut oil. If you want, can add about 1-2 tbsp of oil to the bhajia/ fritter mixture before deep frying them. I usually add if I’m using only cassava. For the potato version I don’t add any.
- Green Chutney – for serving the bhajia with. For Ekadashi, make sure the chutney is garlic and onion free or doesn’t contain roasted legumes.
- Its gluten free
- Ideal snack for vegans too
- As it has no onion or garlic is it an ideal satvik snack
MUHOGO NA BHAJIA/ CASSAVA BHAJIA
- 2 cups cassava approx. 250g,finely grated
- 2 cups mashed cassava or potato approx 250g
- ½ cup sabudana tapioca pearls
- ¼ cup fresh coriander chopped
- ½ cup peanut powder coarse
- 2 tbsp amaranth flour
- 1 tsp salt sendha namak
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cumin seeds roasted
- 1 tsp green chilli paste or 2-3 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 drain out.
- Pat dry the sabudana with a kitchen towel.
- Peel and grate cassava to get 2 cups.
- Peel, boil and mash cassava. Or potato, depending on what you are using.
- Add grated raw cassava, peanut powder, sabudana, spices, salt, sugar, gluten free flour, lemon juice,oil and coriander.
- Mix well and form into small flattish balls about the size of a walnut. I generally take a tablespoonful of the mixture.
- If the mixture is sticky, use oil to grease your hands.
- You should get about 28-30 pieces.
- Put the shaped mixture 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 or a yogurt 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.
- Raw Cassava is toxic for the body so make sure you fry the bhajia or fritters over medium to low heat.
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