(Link to Marathi Recipe)
College life reminds me of the great pleasures for Tapari Chai and Kanda Bhaji. Most of the college campuses in those days had similar look and feel to it. Main gate and lots of small shops called Taparis along he college fence. You could smell the deep fried goodies like Kanda bhaji, Batata Vada around 4pm. That was the time when students and professors would go to get the daily dose of afternoon tea. These shops had limited menu. Morning they would serve tea, coffee, pohe, upama, cream roles, Parle G biscuits. Some would make fresh omelets per order. Sabudana khichdi served on some religious fasting days and that's about it! Tea was served through out the day, mostly by adding more tea-sugar-milk-water to the same old concoction! If someone is too keen to get the fresh batch, they had to special order and wait until its made. Stores usually run by the owner and a helper and every patron got they asked for without writing the order and in the most chaotic times! At the time tea was Rs.2 per glass, Pohe-Upama Rs.3 per plate, Kanda bhaji 5 bhajis in a plate for Rs.2, perfect for on-budget students.
I learned this Kanda Bhajji recipe from one of these shop vendors, he was kind enough to share secrets of not using baking soda. Even though I love these so much, I rarely make them. Recently my sister-in-law made it for my father on his birthday and I took chance to take some nice photographs. Her recipe is exactly same as mine.
2 cups Thinly Sliced Red Onion
2-3 tsp Red Chili Powder (or per taste)
2 tsp Salt (or per taste)
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Ajwain (Carrom Seeds/Bishop's Weed)
2-3 cups Chick Pea Flour/Besan (as needed)
1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro
Water (if and only if needed)
Oil for Deep Frying
Layer sliced onion in a plate, sprinkle little bit of salt and let it stand for 15-20 minutes. If the mixture is too juicy, gently drain extra juices. If not, add crushed ajwain, red chili powder and mix well.
Start adding chick pea flour little bit at a time. Add more salt if needed.
Mix the batter well. Consistency of the batter should not be watery but you should be able to make fritters with spoon.
Heat oil in frying pan, drop little bit of batter, it should sizzle and float on top of the oil.
Now add 2-3 tbsp hot oil with the ready batter, mix thoroughly.
Carefully drop 4-5 fritters in hot oil and deep fry until golden brown.
Enjoy while piping hot to warm with hot cup of tea on a rainy afternoon.
- These are also known as Khekda (crab) bhaji because of their shape.
- We also add green chili-garlic-ginger paste instead of red chili powder. It tastes amazing too.
- Add just 2-3 tbsp rice flour, it gives nice crunch to the fritters.