‘If it’s fried, it must be good’; this is more or less the motto we have grown up with. We are always up for all things greasy and good, and if you are craving something fried and decadent right now, you must look-out for some Bengali bhajas. ‘Bhaja’ refers to anything that is deep-fried. The range of bhajas you will find in a typical sit-down Bengali lunch or dinner is sure to take you by surprise. Typically made with seasonal veggies or fish, these fritters play their own sweet role in sprucing up the meal. Bhaja may or may not be coated in besan or posto (poppy seed) batter. There are multiple courses in a typical Bengali meal; bhajas are usually served right after dal or before it. In fact, a portion of rice, dal and bhaja spells comfort for millions of Bengalis out there. Here are some of our favourite bhajas you must try at least once.
Let’s admit it, potatoes can impress in any avatar. The Bengali-obsession with potatoes is fairly old; we have it in our curries, we even like a big piece of it in our biryani. One may call aloo bhaja a desi and greasy cousin of French fries. You can simply cut them in slices, toss them in a mix of red chilli powder, salt and fry them, or you can also coat them in besan before frying.
You must have spotted this snack in Durga Pooja pandals. But apart from Durga Puja bhogs, this eggplant-based snack is a staple across Bengali households. A crunchy flour exterior and a soft eggplant mix underneath, tearing into this fried fritter and pairing it with rice, dal and jhol is always a treat.
Pumpkin may have a mixed fan-base generally, but mention pumpkin fritters and you are bound to find many curious and enthusiastic takers. Pumpkin bits with a sprinkling of red chilli powder, turmeric, cumin, coriander powder and salt fried until golden brown. Serve these piping hot.
The delish spicy side dish potol bhaja is made with pointed gourd. Also known as parwal in Hindi, potol is a popular vegetable in Bengal. It is used to make curries too; potoler dolma is a rich stew-based gravy that is often paired with rice.
(Also Read: How To Make Stuffed Parwal)
Apart from veggies, different kinds of fish are also used as bhajas. Do try them at home and let us know how you liked them in the comments section below.