I remember going to River Road with my grandmother especially for a plate of Maru’s (the owner’s name) Bhajia, they would be served freshly fried, with two chutneys, one quite hot (in chillies) the other sour. Unless you poured lashings of both over the bhajias to soak, you just didn’t enjoy the experience. Having trained the local Kenyans to run the original shop, the family moved to the UK, where they still run a shop by the name of Maru’s Bhajia House, on Ealing Road, Wembley, London.
Maru's Bhajia (of Nairobi fame!)Print Recipe
- 2 medium sized fresh tomatoes
- 8 small fresh green chillies (reduce to 4 for milder)
- 1 cupful fresh green coriander
- 1 tbs fresh or bottled lime/lemon juice
- 4 tbs thick Tamarind sauce
- 500g (1lb) Potatoes (if in the UK try and use Maris Piper)
- 1 cup gram flour
- half cup plain flour (or 2 tbs rice flour)
- 1 tsp salt
- half tsp turmeric (optional)
- half tsp red chillie powder>
- 4 cups oil (Sunflower preferred and Olive oil not recommended)
Chutney - Crush tomatoes with the 4 green chillies, half the coriander and lemon juice in a mini chopper, add salt to taste. Remove into a bowl and keep refrigerated. (if you do not have a mini chopper, grate the tomatoes and finely chop the green chillies).
To make fritters:
Peel potatoes and slice into thin rounds, keep slices immersed in water in a bowl.
Take the remaining coriander and green chillies and grind in the mini chopper, remove into a small bowl. (or finely slice the coriander and green chillies).
Sieve flours into a bowl, add the salt, turmeric and chillie powder, and mix in.
Heat the oil to ‘hot’ in a karahi or wok. (for bhajias to be crisp, fry in hot oil and not medium hot oil).
Remove half of the potato slices from the water and put in a bowl, add 1 tbs of the chillie and coriander paste, apply to the slices, sprinkle with 4 tbs of the mixed flours, add 1 TABLESPOON OF COLD WATER, using your hands roughly coat potato slices with flavoured flour mixture.
Gently drop coated potato slices one or two at a time into the heated oil, let fry for 2 mins, then turn over and fry for a further 2 mins, remove onto a kitchen towel using a slotted spoon.
To serve, place bhajias onto individual serving plates, sprinkle generously with both chutneys, soak for a couple of minutes and then enjoy!