Cut the vegetables into small pieces. Generally raw banana, potato, brinjal, onion and other similar vegetables are made into thin slices. Cauliflower and broccoli are cut into bite sized florets. Bread is cut diagonally to form a triangle and appalam is kept whole or halved.
Mix all the dry ingredients (besan, corn flour, red chili powder, baking soda, cumin powder, turmeric powder and salt) in a bowl.
Add water little by little while mixing it constantly to make a smooth batter.
In the mean time heat oil for deep frying. Add a tbsp of hot oil to the batter and mix. This step also yields crispy bajjis.
Dip the vegetable slices ( or bread or shrimp or chicken pieces) one at a time in the batter so that it is completely coated with the batter.
Drop it carefully in the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the oil. There should be enough space for the bhajis to float in the oil without getting stuck to each other.
Deep fry till it becomes golden brown.
Drain excess oil in paper towels and serve hot with some chutney, hot sauce or ketchup.
Add 2 tbsp of rice flour/corn flour to the bhaji batter and make bajjis / pakoras. This way the bhajis / pakoras will stay crispier for a longer time. This will be very useful when making for guests or for parties.
The temperature of the oil should be medium hot. If the temperature is too hot, the outside will get browned too fast without the vegetable getting cooked. If the temperature is too low, the bhaji will become very oily.
The consistency of the batter is very important for crispy bajji. It should neither be too thick nor too watery. If the batter is thick the bajji will not get cooked from inside. If too watery it will not coat the vegetable rightly and will be soggy. Special attention need to be paid to make the batter of the right consistency.
The baking soda should be added just before frying for the crispier texture else it will make the bajji soggy.
As I said before, bajji can be made with different vegetables. There are a couple of variations of making bajji with stuffing.
Stuffed Chili Bajji – This is my mom’s specialty. Here the chilies are slit, deseeded and stuffed with a filling. The filling is made by grinding 2 spoons of dry coconut, chutney gram and half spoon of jeera with tamarind and salt. It is ground to a fine powder and is filled inside the chilies and then the bajjis are made. A popular variation of this made in Rajasthan is the Mirchi Bada, which I have already shared.
Stuffed Potato Bajji – Here the potatoes are boiled and peeled. A slit is made from top to 3/4 th of its length and is filled with a stuffing of powder made from garlic, red chili powder and cumin seeds. Then the potatoes are dipped in the batter and deep fried in oil.