Vegetable bajji, colloquially known as Indian Tempura, are just thin slices of vegetables dipped in a crisp batter and deep-fried to golden brown perfection. These are superbly delicious, easy enough to whip up on a whim and a perfect way to use up leftover pieces of vegetables that are too little to make anything else out of. The batter is a mixture of chickpea flour and rice flour with the optional addition of baking soda, which gives it that amazing crispiness. Traditionally, onion, eggplant, potato, and green bananas are used, but you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.
Vegetable Bajji: Indian Tempura [Vegan, Gluten-Free]
- 4 jalapeños, halved vertically
- 1 Indian eggplant, sliced thinly
- 1 onion, round slices
- 1/2 green banana, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 small potato, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 cup chickpea flour
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Water, to make batter
- Salt, to taste
- Oil, to deep fry
- Heat oil in a shallow pan, enough for deep-frying over medium-high heat.
- Slice the vegetables (potato, eggplant, and green banana) into thin circles. Onions can be sliced to 1/2-inch rounds.
- Jalapeños can be sliced in half, vertically.
- Prepare the batter by mixing together chickpea flour, rice flour, red chili powder, turmeric, salt, and water. Use your fingers (or a whisk) for a medium-thick batter without any lumps.
- Finally, stir in the baking soda. Keep whisking for about a minute to get a light and airy batter.
- Dip the sliced vegetables into the batter, shaking off excess and drop into the hot oil. Once the bottom of golden brown, turn over to cook the other side.
- Drain on paper towels and repeat until all the vegetables are done. Remember to remove and discard any bits of batter in the oil. If left in, they will burn and change the taste of the oil.
- Remember to regulate the heat of the oil to prevent burning. If the vegetables are sliced thinly, they should cook perfectly in medium-hot oil.
You can use whatever vegetable you like, but traditionally, these are the ones used: onion, brinjal (Indian eggplant), potato, green (unripe) banana, and large chilis. Cauliflowers are great too, but you might want to steam them first. But then again, almost any vegetable can be used.