Sunday, June 17, 2007

Kanda Bhaji/Khekda Bhaji

Now now.. non veggies.. I am sorry to disappoint you.. this is not a dish with crabs.. don’t expect that from a vegetarian cook :) These are bhajis made from onions, Kanda bhaji, for RCI Maharashtrian cuisine.

Kanda bhaji needs no occasion.. lunch, midday snacks, dinner, weddings, or rainy days.. You just cant forget this :) These are cruchy dumplings prepared using besan and onion. More about the name.. There’s a historic fort in Pune, Maharashtra called Sinhagad fort.. It is a major tourist attraction and is famous mostly for the Khekda bhaji, Pithla Bhakri and Taak served there. Once I got a chance to ask this lady why its called so… She explained me that when they make these bhajis the onions take whatever shape they want which mostly resemble like a khekda (crab) as the thin onion slices come out from sides seem to be the crab’s foot and claws. The other reason that she told me was that these are as cruchy as fried crabs :D But this did not stop me from eating Khekda bhaji.. Something like “Listen to everything, but ignore the unwanted information”:D Sorry seafood lovers.. but I really cant stand these creatures.. and secondly I feel why be so selfish and kill these poor creatures.. just my views.. no offense meant!

Kanda bhaji is mostly enjoyed on a rainy day at a roadside thela with a cutting chai and some friends to chat with. In Pune, there was one such thela on JM road, opposite to the Z-bridge, which used to be a favorite joint on a rainy day.. Hot bhajis just made the day so refreshing and enjoyable.. Yesterday it was raining heavily here and so we had to stay home full day.. Its usually very depressing to stay home on a weekend and just stare at the rain[u guessed it right.. no one allows me to go out and get wet in the rains!] But a plate of hot kanda bhaji with a cup of tea just got the mood back to normal... Before I bug u more wit my love for it, here’s a plate of Kanda bhaji for you guys.. enjoy! :)
Kanda Bhaji

What you need:

1 cup Besan
2 small Onions, thinly sliced
2-3 tsp Red Chilli Powder
½ tsp Turmeric
2 tsp Ova (Ajwain seeds)
¼ tsp Baking Soda
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

How to proceed:

1) Mix all the ingredients except oil and sliced Onions
2) Add enough water to make consistency of idli batter
3) Heat oil in a kadhai/pan
4) Add sliced onion to this batter in batches (don’t add all at once else onions will leave some water and the batter will become free flowing!)
5) Make bhajis such that onion slices are coated with the batter and there seem equal amount of batter and onion
6) Deep fry in oil and drain excess oil using paper tissues
7) Serve hot with tomato sauce or with a hot cuppa on a rainy day!! :)

Other than the usual spices- red chilli powder and turmeric, the uncommon spice used is Ajwain seeds. More than in cooking, I know Ajwain seeds for its medicinal values-as a home remedy for stomach ache, indigestion and throat problems. Well all goody goody about this spice just bcoz this recipe also goes for WBB#12 Spice it up! Btw, just add more red chilli powder to really “Spice it up!” ;)


Nupur said...

Hey, khekda bhaji is such an adorable name for these! They do look like that :)
And yes, ajwain (owa) really takes these to the next level!

Asha said...

They look like Crabs too!;D
Don't worry ,I don't eat Crabs either but love Kanda bhaji.Looks great Aarti:))

Anonymous said...

Love this sort of food...great snack for sure....we often make it...its quick and easy...thanks for sharing

Arts said...

Hey Nupur,
DOnt miss these if u evr get a chance to go to Pune!

Thanks Asha,
Dont refer to the crabs.. else i wud stop eating these [:D] ;)

Thanks Dilip!

Richa said...

ekdum khekhdey disat ahet, ewww ;) never knew @ that name! rain or shine, love the kanda bhaji, ya wknd la me batata wada kela hota :)

Roopa said...

khanda bhaji looks delicious. great snack....

Anonymous said...

add few drops of oil in batter.. more crispy bhaji..

Unknown said...

pour some hot oil on sliced onion and besan before adding water to it,bhajiye wld be more crispy without addind baking soda.

I learnt this from one of my Marathi friend during my tenure in Pune.

Anonymous said...

I like VANGA bhaji better

Ketan Savale said...

Thank a lot ! ..worked !!