Milagai bajji / Chilli bajji / Mirchi bajji
Milagai bajji / chilli bajji is a traditional south Indian tea time snack, which is thoroughly enjoyed in the evenings. You can easily find stalls selling them in Chennai Marina beach, small tea shops in Chennai or in busy marketplaces. The milagai bajjis can be easily prepared at home.
The bajji vendors in Marina beach will be shouting bajji maa bajji (fried fritters Madam) and also says the names of bajjis - raw banana, chilli, onion, cauliflower and potato. We know a vendor who makes very tasty and crispy bajjis and serves with a spicy chutney in paper plates and we make it a point to always find that stall and have their bajjis. We just sit in the sand and enjoy the crispy bajji. My favourites are milagai bajji (chilli fritter) and vazhakkai bajji (raw banana fritter).
I have used thick light green chillies, which is not hot like other chillies, but a bit mild for me. They can be easily found in the markets. You can also use any long chillies that are not very hot. It is known as bajji milagai or banana peppers. I sit in my garden and relish this in the evening with a cup of tea. It is more enjoyable if it is raining. I have added rice flour and biryani colour (orange or sunset colour) in my batter, for the extra crispness and colour, similar to what we get in Marina beach bajji stalls.
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Cuisine: Tamil Nadu
- Chillies – 4 to 5
- Gram flour (besan) – 1/2 cup
- Rice flour – 4 tbsp
- Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
- Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
- Hing (asafoetida) – a pinch
- Salt - as per taste
- Baking Soda – a pinch or 1/8 tsp
- Food Colour (optional) – a big pinch
- Hot Oil (optional) – 1 tbsp
- Water – 1/2 cup or 125 ml
- In a wide bowl add gram flour, rice flour, chilli powder, cumin powder, hing, salt, food colour and soda. Mix well.
- Add enough water to make a paste. Add water, little at a time to make a thick but smooth batter.
- Add hot oil and mix well. The batter should neither be very thick nor thin. The consistency should be like dosa batter and should result in the chillies getting well coated. Mix well and keep it ready.
- Cut the chillies in half length-wise. Remove some of the seeds if you want to reduce the heat a bit.
- 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. Keep the flame to medium.
- Dip the chillies in the batter making sure it is coated on all sides. Gently drop them into the oil.
- While frying, try to put some oil continuously with your frying ladle or big spoon on the top of bajji as well, so that it can fluff with frying.
- As soon as it is light golden colour, turn the bajji and cook for a few minutes.
- Keep turning the fritters occasionally until it is evenly golden in colour and the oil bubbles start reducing.
- Serve the chilli bajjis hot, with onion and tomato chutney.
Preparing the batter
Making the bajjis
- The batter should neither be very thick nor thin. The consistency should be such that the chillies get coated well.
- Ordinary chillies can also be used.
- Vegetables can also be used to make bajjis using the same batter.
- Onion, potato or chilli bajji can also be made using the same batter.
- Oil can be added to the batter to avoid the bajjis from absorbing more oil while frying.
- I made onion and potato bajjis with the same batter.