The first time I tasted these bhajias I was nine years old. One of my cousin's (Bharat bhai) had just taken me to see Superman 3 at the cinema for the third time in a week (each of my male cousin's (Raju, Shailesh and Bharat) wanted to see it and took me along with them - I didn't mind I just loved spending time with them.).
After the film Bharat bhai took me to Maru's Bhajia House in Wembley. I remember being astounded, the queues were out of the door just for a takeaway! A few month's later I was back in Wembley with my parents and insisted that they try them. We drove around for ages trying to find the restaurant and then queued for even longer to get a taste of these bhajia. Considering the trauma involved my parents were slightly underwhelmed and considering how simple the recipe is I am now also astounded about the craze surrounding Maru's bhajia in those days.
Still, the bhajia are good in small quantities and make the perfect hot and crunchy snack food when you are settling down to an evening chatting with friends.
Serves 2 as a snack
- light tasting vegetable oil
- 1 medium sized floury potato
- 75 grams chickpea (gram) flour
- 5 grams corn flour
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 small green chilli - finely chopped
- 5 grams root ginger - peeled and grated
- 3 cloves garlic - crushed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1 small handful of coriander - finely chopped
- 25 millilitres water
- Peel the potato and slice it very thinly - the thinner the better (aim for 1 millimetre slices). The aim is to cook the potatoes without burning the batter.
- Pour enough oil into a small frying pan to enable you to shallow fry the bhajia. Caution: Hot oil is dangerous and must not be left unattended.
- Mix all of the batter ingredients in a small mixing bowl to create a thick batter. It should be so thick that it doesn't drop off a spoon unaided.
- Check the heat of the oil by placing a drop of batter into the pan. The batter should sizzle and rise to the surface. If the oil spits violently then turn the heat down. It is important to regulate the heat of the oil for the duration of the cooking time.
- Once the oil is hot enough, dip a few slices (no more than 5 at a time) of potato in the batter and fry until crispy and golden brown. This will take in the region of 3 - 4 minutes.
- Place the bhajias on a dish covered with a piece of kitchen roll and let the oil drain.
- Serve immediately with tomato sauce or tamarind chutney.