Bhajias are a popular East African snack cherished by many cultures and cuisines. In their most basic form, they are crispy fried spiced potato bites.
Kenyan bhajias specifically stand out for the way they are prepared and obviously, their unique flavor profile. The result is a delightful medley of flavors and textures, with a crispy outer layer and a soft, flavorful interior.
What ingredients are used to make Bhajias?
- Potatoes: Cut into equal sizes for even cooking.
- Batter Ingredients: Gram Flour (Besan) and Water. Gram Flour is used for coating the potatoes and making the batter. Adjust the water to achieve a pancake mix consistency.
- Flavor Enhancers: Garlic Paste and Minced Ginger. Garlic paste adds delicious flavor and aroma, and minced ginger enhances the dish’s taste. You can use fresh or ground ginger.
- Seasoning and Spices: Use Salt, Paprika, Green Chili Pepper, Cumin Powder, and Garam Masala.
- Oil: Used for frying the potatoes to achieve crispiness.
- Coriander: Adds a fresh flavor and aroma to the dish.
How to make the perfect Kenyan Bhajias?
First, wash and peel the potatoes. Cut them into thin slices, and then set them aside.
In a bowl, mix together the gram flour, water, garlic paste, ginger paste, salt, paprika, green chili pepper, and cumin powder. Mix everything together.
Coat each slice of potato in the batter, and then set them aside.
Bring the oil to medium heat. Add the coated potatoes to the hot oil, and fry until they are golden brown.
Use a skimmer to remove them from the oil and place them in a paper-lined bowl to drain off any extra oil.
Serve and enjoy!
There are several possible variations you can use for the Bhajias recipe.
- Chili and Garlic Bhajias: These have a spicy flavor thanks to the chili pepper and garlic paste.
- Masala Bhajias: Add some extra masala spice mix to the batter for a more flavorful dish.
- Paneer Bhajias: Replace the potatoes with paneer cheese for a more decadent, more filling snack.
- Onion Bhajias: Fry some chopped onions and potatoes for an extra flavorful dish.
- Tomato Bhajias: Add some chopped tomatoes to the batter for a colorful and tangy snack.
How to store Bhajias
If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
When ready to eat them, simply microwave them for a few minutes until they are nice and warm.
Side Dishes for Bhajias
Bhajias go very well with some kachumbari or chutney.
- Kachumbari: This is a simple salad of chopped tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. It’s the perfect light side dish for Bhajias.
- Chutney: There are many different types of chutney, but all of them are made of chopped or ground vegetables mixed with spices. They add a delicious flavor and crunch to the Bhajias.
- Zanzibar Mix, Urojo: This is a spicy East African condiment made of chopped tomatoes, onions, and chili peppers. It’s the perfect accompaniment to Bhajias for those who like their food extra spicy!
- Dipping Sauce: If you want something more luxurious to go with your Bhajias, try making a dipping sauce made of cream, yogurt, or melted butter. Another delicious option is a tomato-based sauce with herbs and spices.
How thick should the Potato Slices be?
Ideally, the potato slices should be about ¼ inch thick. This will ensure that they are crispy and golden brown when fried.
If they are too thin, they may not cook through properly, and if they are too thick, they will not be as crispy. Experiment until you find the thickness that you like best.
Tips And Tricks When Making The Best Kenyan Bhajias
- When you fry your thinly sliced seasoned potatoes, work in small batches to prevent overloading the fryer. This will help the batter and potato cook evenly.
- DO NOT forget to drain your bhajias on a paper towel. This removes the excess vegetable oil and will help keep the snack crispy for longer.
OTHER AFRICAN SNACKS THAT YOU’LL LOVE
- Banana Puff Puff (Beignets)
- Oven-Baked Chin Chin Recipe
- Poulet Yassa Skewers
- Air Fryer Piri Piri Chicken Drumsticks
- 10 Potatoes medium, peeled and sliced into thin coin shapes
- 1 cup Flour
- 1 cup Gram flour
- ¼ teaspoon Garam masala
- 1 pinch Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Ginger minced
- ¼ teaspoon Green chili pepper chopped
- 1 teaspoon Garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- Freshly chopped coriander leaves
- 1 cup Water
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- Cut the potatoes into slices. Make sure not to make them too thick. So they don't burn from the outside.
- Combine the flour, gram flour, masala spice, cumin, ginger, green chili pepper, garlic paste, paprika, salt, and coriander in a large bowl, and mix everything well.
- Add the water slowly to see when the batter is too liquid or needs more water. It should be like a pancakes batter.
- Dip the sliced potatoes in the batter, one at a time. Make sure they are completely immersed, and the coat is evenly distributed.
- Heat your vegetable oil in a deep frying pan.
- Drain your potato slices off extra batter, and then carefully dip them into the hot oil.
- Fry the bhajias until there are golden brown. For a few minutes.
- Use your skimmer to remove them from the oil and place them in a paper-lined bowl to drain off extra oil.
- Serve them with kachumbari.