Mirchi Bhaji.. Hot Pepper Fritters

Hello Dearies!!!! What does Rain and cold bring to your mind? Rains in Bombay are always associated with cutting chai, Bhaji and Bhutta and seaside walks, getting soaked in the waves for me. I was in law school when I first experienced the rains on Marine Drive. My classes most times got over by 9AM. After that it was just roaming around the city, south Bombay, Crawford market or watching matinee shows in the cinema halls around that part of the city. My Best friend stayed in South Bombay and was well versed with the small gallis/lanes and shops in that part of Bombay. There were gallis or lanes for specific things, like bangles, knickknacks, spoons, cutlery. YES, I shopped for spoons and cutlery/flatware even then, for my home, my mom's friends passed on their lists and then my train friends were there too, so I was always shopping for people. If you ever stayed in Mumbai, you will know that trains and the friendships one made in those travels last a lifetime. IT automatically becomes a family. They watch for fellow travelers even at time not knowing their names, they are 10am Goregaon local family, or 8am Borivali Fast family. I miss those days when I took casual walks in rains on the Marine Drive, hogged on wada pavs without giving hygiene a thought, shopped for bangles, kadas with 10-15Rs in my pockets. We were rich even with that small amount. We had fun with friends who pooled in all their money and then enjoyed treats together.  I miss these things so much now, that when it rains it kind of leaves a print on my mind that I am not going to go back and do all of that now. I cannot bring the lost friends and lost times in the same fashion now. Change is constant, rest all is fading soon.

Now in US, whenever it rains, I am transported to those walks, those times in my mind and I want to experience all the fun again. Marine Drive and Bombay are so special in the monsoons, that you have to see it to feel it. The times you feel cold when it rains, back to humidity and heat after it stops raining, the wet clothes dry before you even know you were wet, joys of puddles and splashing water on the passerby's, by jumping in those puddles, hot steaming ginger cutting chai and loads and loads of kanda bhajji's wrapped in a day old newspapers, is what lingers on my mind. Oh Boy, what fun it is to be a child again, even if in thoughts!!!

One such day, it rained and rained in NJ. The lighting and thundering was enough to scare the wits out, lights flickered and it just continued to rain. The drive from work to home had me craving for something fried, something spicy and something typical of Mumbai. What else then bhaji? Wada pav was not doable in the short time, so thght of making bhaji with whatever I had.

I opened the fridge to see what all I had on hand to make assorted bhaji's, when these long hot peppers stared at me. Since they stared, they had to go first. I am the boss in my kitchen and no one stares at the boss, Right??

You can stuff these with potato masala, or any stuffing you may fancy, but I kept it simple.

You will need;
2-3 Long hot peppers
1 Cup Besan/split Gram lentil flour
1 tspn Cayenne peppers powder
1 tspn Turmeric
1 tspn Carrom seeds/Ajwain
Salt to taste
Watre to thin the paste
Oil for frying
Chat Masala for sprinkling-Optional

Cut the peppers into one inch pieces, de-seed the peppers to remove the heat, if you like it super hot, keep the seeds in. Then in a bowl, take the besan, add the cayenne powder, turmeric and carrom seeds, add salt to taste and little water to thin it into a paste to coat the peppers. When the oil is hot, Take the peppers, dip in the besan paste and directly fry them in the hot oil. While frying it is a good idea to slide the peppers in from the sides as the oil splutters when you drop the peppers.
 Drain from the oil when fried and sprinkle the chat masala over the bhajiyas. Serve with hot ginger chai.

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