Bhajias are a fantastic snack and are loved the world over. They are extremely popular in Kenya (and East Africa in general) such that any restaurant worth its salt just has to have them on their menu. They also constitute a very popular street food in Kenya. Bhajias are excellent appetizers and finger foods or even as a main dish. Bhajias can be made out of any vegetable including onions, spinach, califlower, etc, but the most popular type in Kenya is the potato bhajia.
I love bhajias so much that I decided a long time ago to learn how to make homemade bhajias for myself in order to stop relying on the takeouts that were eating into my hard earned cash! My bhajias are made up of thinly sliced potatoes that are coated in spicy gram flour batter. Crispy on the outside and yet soft and fluffy on the inside.
In Kenya bhajias are normally served plain as they are, with chutney or ukwaju (tamarind chutney). Fingerlicking stuff! Some of the other popular street foods in Kenya include kenyan masala chips / fries and kebabs.
Tips to successful bhajia recipe or homemade bhajias:
- Slice the potatoes thinly to ensure that they cook through.
- Your batter should not be too thin or too thick, it should just be thick enough to ensure that it coats the potato slices without sliding off.
- Your oil for deep frying should not be too hot or too cold. The oil should be heated on moderate heat so that the batter coating the potatoes can have enough time to crisp up without burning while the potatoes get sufficient time to cook completely.
- Season your batter well because unseasoned potatoes are not the best food.
- 3 large potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups (200g) gram flour
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- Handful of dhania (coriander) leaves
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 green chilies
- 1″ ginger root
- Enough water to make a pancake like batter consistency
- Enough oil for deep frying
- Slice the potatoes into thin slices using either a knife or a mandolin.
- Crush the ginger, garlic and green chilies into a paste and add to the gram flour along with the rest of the ingredients apart from the oil for deep frying. Mix everything together to ensure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed in the flour.
- Add water in small amounts while continuously stirring until all the gram flour is well incorporated. Once the batter is at a consistency of your liking stop adding any water.
- Heat oil on medium heat until it comes to temperature.
- Take the potato slices and dip them into the batter one by one making sure they are well coated before adding them to the hot oil.
- Cook the bhajias for 1.5 minutes on each side or until the gram flour batter is golden brown and crispy on all sides.
- Serve immediately while still hot and enjoy.