As much as I love Monsoon I hate to admit that am not that fond of fried stuffs that’s generally served during the season. I have always averted these as a weight watcher and now that I have grown double in size I still cant make myself love it. Its never regular on our plate rather we indulge in it very occasionally.
But Monsoon definitely calls for something warm and crisp so when last weekend my
Cusin brother came to visit us with his family I decided to show some deep fried love as snack, which translated into Bengali’s most favourite piyanji or onion fritter. Ask my Dad, who even after his angioplasty loves to bring home a greasy packet full of telebhaja (deep fried fritters) from his way back from office. Its another matter that now a days he gets a good bashing from all of us and most often than not that packet finds it’s place in the bin. But then we have to indulge him with some shallow fried or baked stuff like this.
Though am not very fond of these but this monsoon am going to share some of my favourite deep fries that I like to snack on sometimes. Telebhaja for Bengalis generally refers to any savory item which has been deep fried. It could be batter fried vegetables like beguni (batter fried slices brinjal), kumro fuler bora (pumpkin flower fritter), stuffed fries like samosa or savory cakes like vegetable chop, fish chops and cutlets. Telebhaja plays a very important role in begali cuisine. Not only is a very significant evening snack but it also is served as an accompaniment for dal-chawal (rice and lentil) during a proper meal.
Telebhaja or deep fried savory fritter is the most popular snacking item for Bengalis. The matter that it pairs well with our most favourite snack muri (puffed rice), gives it a huge fan following. Go to any place big or small, posh or poor you will definitely see many telebhaja dokan. They operate from various levels. The street side vendors mostly sell their stuff from a thatched roofed pavement shop or a handheld cart. In posh localities the same fritters are sold on fine china with a hefty proice tag. But at the end of the day its all the same. Personally I belive mineral water in the batter does not give it a better taste ;-)
Today ams haring the easiest of all the telebhaja and the one and only piyanji. This is very popular all over the world. Some call it piyanji, some call it pyaj ke pakode and even some call it pyaj ke kebab, but at the end of the day its onion fritters. The best part of this fritter is if you are not too much worried about the presentation read the look of it you can actually cook it in lesser oil. In that case fry them in a non-stick pan on very low heat. It would be little charred on the outside but will still taste good.
Piyaji/ piyanji/ peyanji
Onion: 1 big or 2 small
Green chillies: 2-3; totally depends on your preference and tolerence of heat.
Nigella seeds: 1/3 tsp
Chick pea flour / besan: 3 tbsp (more or less, adjust the thickness of the batter)
Bi card of soda: 1/8 tsp
Wash, peel and very finely chop the onion in half moon shape. Place these in a big bowl and salt. Mash with your hands so that juices start to come out form the onion. Chop the green chillies very finely and add.
Rub the nigella seeds in your palm and add to the onions. Add all the other ingredients except the oil. Mix well and start adding water 1 tsp at a time. The batter would be thick and should coat the chopped onions well.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan and place a table spoonful of the mixture. Keep the flame to medium.
After a minute or so turn the fritters and press gently with your spatula to flatten them. Fry till crisp on both sides.
Serve out of the pan with ketchup or the way Bengalis love ti with puffed rice and sautéed green chilies.
Enjoy with a hot cup of masala tea while the rain entertains you with her beautiful tap dance.
A homemaker’s note:
Do not make the batter and fry it later. The onions will release lots of water and will make the batter watery. Make it fresh, fry and enjoy.
If kids are involved then give the green chilies a miss.
Definitely goes to Jagruti's JCO, Celebrate-Monsoon of India, hosted this month at A homemaker's Diary.Also to Kid's delight; snacks. Srivallis monthly event this month being hosted at Cook's joy.
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