I have long been craving for the stuffed chilly bhajjis that I used to eat in Chennai,India at one particular location and my mouth still waters thinking about them. I loved them as a child and enjoyed eating them. I don’t find them now when I go to India. The small tea shop by the Cinema theatre where a lady vendor used to sell them is no more, though the theatre is still there. Everything has changed. But the taste is still alive and it evokes fond memories of the past of how we (me with my family) walked home after watching the movie enjoying these hot fuming mouthwatering bhajjis. I still remember how her small tea stall was always crowded and how we watched her fry a bazillion of them in a huge wok as we waited impatiently for our turn to buy them These bhajjis were stuffed with a delicious spicy filling and back then I used to wonder what it could be. I tried to recreate it and kept trying different combinations and finally after many trials i managed to come very close to the taste. This was the best I could do.
Here’s the recipe:
1. Dry roast the cumin seeds. Grind them in a mortar and pestle and keep aside.
2. Take a sauce pan, add a tsp of ghee (clarified butter) and on medium heat roast the 2tbsof besan flour (chick pea flour). When it starts leaving an aroma it means it is well roasted and the raw smell is gone. Remove from the pan into a bowl and keep aside.
3. Peel, boil and grate the potato when it is cool.
4. Now add to the grated potato the roasted besan flour, MTR chutney powder, roasted ground cumin and the other spice powders. Mix well. Add salt and pomegranate molasses. The filling is ready now.
5. Take a green chilly slit it open vertically, remove the seeds and stuff it with the filling. Then take some more filling and wrap it around the stuffed chilly. Compress it inside your fist and make it smooth. Set aside.
6. Repeat the same process with the rest of the chillies and set aside.
7. Make a thick batter with the 1/2 cup besan (chick pea flour), 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp chilly powder and1/4 tsp baking soda with a little water.
8. Dip the wrapped stuffed bhajjis in the batter and swirl them around so that they gather more batter and then slowly slide them in the hot oil on medium heat. Keep splashing the hot oil over them carefully and turn them over from time to time in order to fry them evenly. Remove them when they are crisp and golden.
9. Drain them on paper towels and serve them hot with mint or tamarind chutney. Enjoy!