Friday, January 20, 2012

Kelyachi Bhaji/ Ripe Banana Fritters

Many months ago, when I was shopping at my favourite wet market in Singapore, I ran into one of my parents' long lost family friend. And so, in the middle of the market ensued a one-sided conversation that went more or less on the following lines - oh you've grown up so much, never thought I would meet you in Singapore, how are mama and papa, oh I can't believe that you now have a daughter of your own.......if you've ever met someone who hasn't seen you in like 20 years (which was the case with this aunty - my parents and she had lost touch with each other after she moved cities), you would have a fair bit of idea about how the conversation was going!

Aunty, obviously, had not had enough of catching up and invited me home. I had a very faint recollection of her being a fabulous cook and so, was in fact secretly glad that she had invited me over.

It was a lovely evening - there is something very entertaining in listening to the older generation reminisce about the days gone by, especially when such conversations are accompanied by delicious food and a steaming hot cup of tea. That evening, in addition to batata vada and khandvi, Aunty had made some delicious ripe banana pakoras. The taste was very familiar;  my mom used to make something similar.

"These are delicious," I told her. "Mama used to make something similar."

"Not similar....your mom used to prepare exactly the same bhajis. In fact, I learnt it from her. I knew you liked these. Actually you know, when you were a child......" and she went on to recount some embarrassing account from my childhood as I continued to nibble, red-faced, on the delicious banana bhajis.

In my pursuit of making newer things like banana bread, I had forgotten about these bhajis. But I remember my mom making these whenever if ever we had over-ripe bananas lying around at home. These bhajis are the easiest and quickest way of using them ripe bananas.

Kelyachi bhaji/ Ripe Banana Fritters


Mashed over-ripe bananas: 1/3 cup
Whole wheat flour (atta)*: 2 tbsps - 3 tbsps
Jaggery: 2 tsps, grated
Cinnamon powder: 1/2 tsp OR cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: a pinch
Oil for deep frying

* if you are using whole wheat pastry flour, grind it in your spice grinder to get a finer texture.


Add the jaggery, cinnamon powder and salt to the mashed bananas and mix well. Then add the flour, one tbsp at a time till your get a batter of dropping consistency.

Heat oil in a deep wok. When the oil is sufficiently hot, drop the heat to medium. Add a teaspoonful of batter and fry till the bhajis are evenly brown.

If you, like me, are averse to deep frying, you could also make these in a paniyaram pan.

Make the batter as above. Add a few drops of oil in each hole of the pan. When hot, fill with the batter.

Drizzle a few drops of oil around the sides, cover and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Using a chopstick, flip the bhajis and cook for another 3 minutes or until evenly brown.

Serve hot with a cup of steaming hot tea. Enjoy!

It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!

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