If you're not familiar with the bite-sized Bhaji, it's a well-loved street food in India that's typically spicy. It's similar to a fritter- traditionally served on top of meals as a crunchy addition, but has also become appreciated on its own as a delicious snack enjoyed at Indian festivals, as a starter before meals, and as a comfort food during monsoon season served with a cup of steaming tea and a smile.
This crunchy golden bhaji is a recipe straight out of the pages of my new book Eat Right for Your Shape, based on Ayurvedic principles, and the dish differs from its traditional counterpart with the exclusive use of gluten free ingredients, minus the typical excess of hot spices.
The absence of spicy heat makes it the perfect snack to balance out the Pitta dosha which is commonly fiery and 'hot' in its inherent characteristics of competitiveness, irritability, and the physical symptoms of skin rashes, inflammation and hypertension when in an unbalanced state.
My version will also be seen majoring on the superstar ingredient; broccoli. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, vitamin K and chromium. It's also high in fibre to aid in detoxifying the digestive system. As broccoli contains subtle bitter qualities that mimic the energy of air and ether; the effect on the fiery pitter is one of lightening, refreshment, toxin removal and cleansing.
The combination of the chickpea flour and brown rice flour makes a coating of complete protein; transforming it into a snack that'll fill and satisfy your hunger for longer, as well as stabilising blood glucose levels.
Enjoy these brilliant bhaji's warm as a light meal or snack served with my chia jam and carrot and beetroot raita.
- 300 g (10½ oz/2½ cups) besan (chickpea) flour
- 2 tablespoons brown rice flour
- pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- Himalayan salt, to taste
- 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) filtered water
- extra virgin coconut oil, for shallow-frying
- 120 g (4¼ oz/2 cups) broccoli florets
Chia jam and Carrot and beetroot raita, to serve (recipes below)
- Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium bowl. Gradually add the water, stirring well to avoid lumps.
- The mixture should have a smooth, paste-like consistency.
- Heat some coconut oil (about 4 cm/1½ inches deep) in a medium, heavy-based saucepan over medium–high heat. Once the oil is hot (a small broccoli floret should sizzle and float), working in batches, dip the broccoli florets in the batter to coat well.
- Drop into the pan and cook until crisp on all sides. Lay on paper towel to drain off any excess oil while you cook the next batch.
This natural, sugar-free jam suits all doshas. Fruit jams are delicious, but obtaining the desired consistency and firmness usually requires a large quantity of white sugar. This recipe uses chia seeds to create a perfect consistency, and rice malt syrup to add sweetness to the apple and berries. Delicious on its own, it can be used as a topping for pancakes – or a dollop added to the mixing bowl will sweeten up cakes, and a spoonful added to the pan will highlight curries.
- 1 apple, cored and grated
- 125 g (4½ oz/1 cup) mixed berries
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) filtered water
- 90–120 g (3¼–4¼ oz/¼–1⁄3 cup) rice malt syrup, to taste
- 35 g (1¼ oz/¼ cup) chia seeds
- Combine the apple, berries, water and rice malt syrup in a small, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the consistency is thick.
- Remove from the heat, stir through the chia seeds and transfer to a sterilised jar.
- The jam will keep in the fridge for 5 days.
Carrot and Beetroot Raita
- 520 g (1 lb 2½ oz/2 cups) sheep’s milk yoghurt
- 1 raw beetroot (beet), peeled and grated
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 small capsicum (pepper), finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Himalayan salt, to taste
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl by mixing gently with a spoon.
- The raita will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3–4 days.
Happy Cooking 🙂