Andhra mirapakaya bajji

Andhra Mirapakaya bajji/mirchi bajji is a famous and popular street food of Andhra. It reminds me of my childhood when I used to visit my grand parents' town (Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh). I used to see small stalls in the town where they used to sell Mirapakaya bajji (Mirchi bajji), but those chillies are small in size (Indian chillies which are used normally for curries) and are medium to very hot. The Mirapakaya bajji/Mirchi bajji, will be served hot, with pappu podi (roasted gram and garlic powder) and chopped onions on the bajjis. Mostly, I have seen women doing it more in villages and small towns for extra earning. In small streets, you can see them sitting outside their house in the veranda selling their hot bajjis. You can find these chilli bajji stalls in each and every corner of streets, but usually only in the evenings after 5pm. Each place has its own Mirchi Bajji recipe - in Chennai and Bangalore, they are slightly different. In Marina beach (Chennai), the Mirapakaya bajji/Mirchi bajji is served with chutney (tomato or chillies). In Bangalore, where I tasted, they served the bajji with coriander chutney, chopped onions and lemon juice on top. I enjoyed all these variations so much that even the thought of them while writing this recipe makes me crave for it.

I was thinking of how well the bajji fits with a hot cup of tea on a rainy day and voila! it started raining when I was cooking the mirchi bajji. The rain doubled the enjoyment of having my mirchi bajji with family along with a cup of tea.

The batter prepared in each home also has its own recipe. The simplest one is just gram flour, soda (sodium bicarbonate), salt and water. It’s your choice to mix chilli powder, asafoetida (hing), turmeric powder, cumin powder and colour. In this recipe, I have used ordinary Indian chillies, which are mostly used by the vendors and at home and is easily available. To keep it simple, buy the chillies that are available near your place, which are mild to medium hot. At homes, often in Andhra they stuff tamarind mixture inside the chillies to reduce the heat of chilli and for the extra taste. This is usually not done by most of the small vendors, especially the women who sell mirchi bajji outside in their veranda. That’s why their mirchi bajji is usually hot! hot!.

Preparation time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 25 mins

Cuisine: Andhra Pradesh

Spiciness: Medium to hot

Serves: 2 to 3

Ingredients

  • Chillies – 8 to 10
  • Batter

  • Gram flour – 1 cup
  • Baking Soda – 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Water – 1/2 cup
  • Salt - as per taste
  • For stuffing

  • Cumin – 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind (double concentrated) – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – as per taste
  • Water – 1 tsp
  • (Putanala pappu podi)/garnishing

  • Roasted gram – 1/3 cup
  • Chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt - as per taste

Method

    Batter

  • In a medium bowl, combine all the batter mixture, gram flour, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), salt and turmeric.
  • Add enough water to make a paste. Add water little at a time to make a thick paste but smooth batter. The batter should neither be very thick nor thin, the consistency should be such that chilli should be coated well.
  • Slit chillies in the middle. Remove some of the seeds if you want to reduce the heat.
  • In this, I have used a few jalapeno peppers as well apart from the ordinary chillies.
  • Stuffing

  • Put the tamarind paste, salt and cumin powder in a bowl, add just a few drops of water and mix well. Take a little paste and apply inside the chilli, keep it aside.
  • At this stage, which is optional, I have fried the chillies on the tava or non-stick pan with little oil for a few mins until golden brown in colour. Do not break its stem. You need it while dipping in the batter and deep frying it.
  • Heat oil in a deep frying pan. To check if the oil is hot enough, put a drop of the batter into the oil. The batter should rise to the top quickly.
  • Dip the chilli bajji in the batter and make sure it’s coated on all sides. Gently drop it into the oil. Keep the flame medium, not high heat.
  • After few minutes, when it is light golden in colour, turn the chilli bajjis. Keep turning occasionally onto other sides, until it is evenly golden colour.
  • Repeat with the remaining chilli bajjis. Place the mirchi bajji on the kitchen tissues to absorb the excess oil.
  • Serve it in a serving plate immediately, with a sprinkle of putanala pappu podi on the chilli bajji, with few chopped onions on it.

Notes

  • The stuffing in this chilli is optional, as it is done to reduce the heat of the chilli. Sometimes I just dip the plain chilli - as per my taste - medium or hot.
  • After mixing the batter with soda, keep it aside for 10 to 15 mins. The bajji will be fluffy.
  • Refer to my putanala pappu podi recipes and you can use any of them.
  • Refer my other chilli bajji recipes and you can prepare as per your taste.
  • Use long green chilli, which is light in colour or banana chilli or any chilli which has the taste of peppers and not too hot.
  • With the remaining batter, you can also prepare potato or onion bajji .

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