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Kenyan style Maru Bhajia

Kenyan style Maru Bhajia

Finally sharing the ever so famous Kenyan style Maru bhajia prepared in a sattvic manner. Maru bhajia is a popular Kenyan snack, made with potatoes coated in a chickpea batter and fried. Similar but slightly differently to potato bhajia which are dunked in a runny batter and fried. The batter for Maru bhajia is mixed with herbs and spices, it is kind of pasty and made with minimal  to no water at all.  If you are Kenyan or have ever visited Nairobi,  I am sure you have spent many lunches at Slush, Bhajia hut or Quality cafe in Diamond Plaza devouring these delicious deep fried bhajias. I can remember many such occasions. I personally tend to go to Quality cafe and Slush as they tend to cater for the garlic free version of Maru bhajias plus I love the runny amli chutney ( khatta is what they call it) with the bhajias at Slush.  Mine never turns out like that and hence I only make the red tomato chutney at home. 

We had Western Australia day yesterday. The weather was pretty gloomy and Maru bhajia with chutney was all I was wishing for.  I cannot wait to share this recipe with you but before I get in to it I must tell  you this, I have tasted many different home made versions from different people and these are some of the things I do NOT recommend doing:

  • Do not get tempted to add lots of water.
  • Do not add any garam masala or any other random masalas, they kill the flavour.
  • Do not slice the potatoes as thin as crisps.
  • If you are in Australia, I suggest using Royal Blue potatoes. Unless of course you have a better alternative that turns out crispy when fried.
  • Lastly don't be stingy on the ginger and coriander :)

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sized royal blue potatoes ( 450g)
  • 5 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 4 tbsps rice flour
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ajwain/carom seeds
  • 4-5 hot green chillies, crushed
  • 2 tbsps grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt ( adjust to taste)
  • Oil to deep fry

Method

  1. Cut the potatoes into thin slices ( between 2-3 mm)
  2. Add all the ingredients ( except the 2 flours) to the potatoes and let it sit for a few minutes, this will help the potatoes release some water.
  3. Add in the flours and mix the potatoes until evenly coated. ( you will be tempted to add some water at this stage, try not to). Instead, let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes and then mix again. By this times, there will be enough water released from the potatoes that will help to form a thick pasty batter.
  4. Heat oil in a pan to deep fry.
  5. Use your fingers to smear some batter on to each slice and carefully add to the hot oil.
  6. Fry until the bhajias are crispy and golden brown in colour.
  7. Serve hot with tomato chutney.
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