As far as I am aware this dish was invented by my mother. It is the vegetarian equivalent of scotch eggs and whilst I love scotch eggs (especially the original ones by Fortnum and Mason) these are far superior. The slightly crisp batter, soft mashed potato and citrus flavours create a wonderful comfort food that everyone loves - even those (heretics?) that claim not to enjoy Indian food.
The egg bhajia are deceptively filling. If you are vegan or just want to create a lighter snack, then omit the eggs and just create potato bhajia.
Serves 4 as a main course (if made as egg bhajia) or up to six as a snack (if made as potato bhajia)
- 850 grams waxy red potatoes - peeled and cut into large wedges
- 4 eggs
- 2 cloves garlic - crushed
- 3 small green chillis - finely chopped
- 10 grams root ginger - peeled and grated
- 4 teaspoons coriander-cumin powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch of turmeric
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 15 grams coriander - chopped
- 2 tablespoons sultanas (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
- Light tasting vegetable oil for frying
For the batter
- 100 grams gram flour
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper - finely ground
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- pinch of turmeric
- 100 millilitres water
- Boil the potatoes for twenty minutes or until cooked.
- Meanwhile hard boil the eggs. When they are done immediately run cold water over them as this makes them easier to peel and prevents a black ring forming around the yolk.
- Once the eggs are cool enough to handle, peel and leave to one side.
- Mash the potatoes in a large bowl. I find the best results are obtained using a potato ricer or vegetable mill but use whatever method you prefer.
- Add the garlic, chopped green chillies, ginger, coriander-cumin powder, garam masala, salt, turmeric, lemon juice, sugar, coriander, sultanas and sesame seeds to the mashed potato. Mix well. I always taste the potato at this stage ostensibly to check the seasoning but in reality because I love the flavours.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan. Caution: Hot oil is dangerous, do not leave unattended.
- Meanwhile, mix together all of the batter ingredients in a bowl to create a smooth batter. It should flow freely off the spoon but be thicker than water.
- Take one of the eggs and cover it with the potato mixture. The potato should be evenly distributed around the egg with a depth of approximately one centimetre.
- Test the heat of the oil by placing a drop of batter into the pan. The batter should sizzle and float to the surface immediately.
- If the oil is hot enough, add a teaspoon of the hot oil to the batter. Stir well.
- Dip the potato-covered egg in the batter.
- Place the battered, potato-covered egg in the pan and fry until golden brown.
- Place the egg bhajia on a piece of kitchen roll to drain.
- Repeat steps 8, 11, 12 and 13 with the remaining eggs.
- If you have any potato mixture left, roll it into small balls the size of a golf ball, dip them in the batter and fry as above to create potato bhajia.
- Serve hot with tomato sauce or garlic chutney.