Bhaji is an Indian dish popularly known as ‘pakora’. It is also known as ‘bhajia’ in typical Indian language. Bhaji recipes are quite popular in Indian cuisine as a version of vegetable fritters well-admired in international cuisines. There is also a dish made of stir-fried vegetables and spices known as ‘bhaaji’. This dish is eaten with Indian bread called ‘pav’ and in combination it is referred as ‘pav bhaaji’.
The crispiness of bhajiya is the main feature of this dish and people of all ethnicities in India make this dish with little variations. Bhaji recipes are quite common as Indian street food and a comfort food for people on the go.
Not even in India, bhaji is commonly served in UK as well due to the huge Indian community existing in the country. Onion bhaji, spinach bhajia and potato bhajia are the popular recipes prepared in Indian as well as international cuisine.
History and Origin of Bhajis
Bhaji or bhajiya is typically prepared in South Indian as well as North Indian meals. In Hyderabad this dish is famous as ‘pakodi’. Pav bahji is a very popular dish originated from the Gujarati cuisine. Even many other stir-fried vegetable dishes are also called ‘bhaji’ such as sai bhaji, cauliflower and doodhi bhaji. All these recipes are popular in different parts of India.
Ingredients Prescribed by Bhaji Recipes
The most common ingredient used in making bhaji is onion. Onion can either be used in chopped form or in sliced form. Chopped potato, green chilies, coriander leaves and dry spices are the other ingredients that can be combined with onion to make this dish. The most vital component is gram flour that is used as a binder for all these ingredients. In few recipes wheat flour is also incorporated.
Among the dry spices, red chili powder, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and salt are commonly used. Groundnut refined oil, sunflower oil or mustard oil are typically used for frying bhaji. It is said that mustard oil totally enhances the taste of dish.
As far as stir-fried vegetable is concerned, various vegetables such as mashed potato, peas, carrot and cauliflower are included. Large quantity of tomatoes is inculcated to complement the dish. Dry spices along with lots of butter are added to enhance the flavor. Other recipes are prepared with chopped green vegetables.
Methods of Preparation of Bhajis
The bhaji (vegetable fritters) are prepared with deep-frying method. All the ingredients are mixed in a gram flour batter and small portions of batter are deep-fried in ‘kadhai’ (a utensil typically used for frying purpose).
Stir-frying is the method used to prepare various other recipes. Vegetables are stir-fried in butter or oil and cooked on low heat to make a semi-dry dish. Water is added to the vegetables in order to give a thick coating.
Serving and Eating of Bhajis
Deep-fried bhaji or bhajiya is served as a snack in Indian cuisine. The popular accompaniments of this snack are the green chutney, tomato chutney, mango chutney or any kind of pickle. Mango chutney and bhajiya is the best combination.
Stir-fried vegetable dish is served with Indian bread that can be either ‘pav’ (somewhat like burger) or parantha (Indian pan fried bread).
Health Facts Related to Bhaji Recipes
Bhaji contains various kind of vegetables that are full of nutrients but the deep-frying method is not really good for health, hence this dish should be consumed in moderation. Stir-fried dish is usually considered healthy if prepared in refined oil instead of butter.