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Saturday, November 5, 2016

A Simple South Indian Festival Thaali ~ Potato Bajji

I am wrapping up my thaali series this week with a festive one. This kind of thaali is a commonly prepared one on a festival day in majority of the homes across southern parts of India. I specifically chose dishes that are generic to the region than the ones which are specific to a particular state. The dishes chosen on a festival day would be vegetarian and do not even include onion and garlic. The usual fare of rice served along with a pickle, vegetable based side dishes, lentil based side dishes and yogurt with papad / lentil wafers on the side can be seen. And besides those, a traditional rice dish (like tamarind rice or raw mango rice), savories like bajji or vadas and sweet dishes would mandatorily appear as special festive treats.

My festival thaali of the day contains the following dishes.
Mango pickle 
Potato fry
Carrot curry 
Beans & Carrot Sambhar
Lemon Rice
Potato bajji
Poli / Holige
Semiya Payasam / Vermicelli Kheer 
Vadas based on black gram or split roasted chickpeas or bajjis are the commonly prepared savories during festivals in south India. While vadas need soaking and grinding the beans, the bajjis provide a quick alternative. Bajjis are fritters where thinly sliced vegetables coated with a spicy chickpea flour batter are deep fried. I chose potato bajjis for today's post and the recipe is below.

2 to 3 cups oil to deep fry (I used canola oil.) 
2 potatoes
1 cup chickpea flour / besan
2 tbsp. rice flour
1 tsp. cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
2 pinches of asafoetida powder (optional)
1/8 tsp. baking soda
About 3/4 cup water

* Heat the oil in a deep frying pan on medium heat. Don't bring it to the point of smoking.
* Peel the potatoes and slice thinly using a mandoline. Immerse the potato slices in a bowl of water to prevent them from turning brown.
* Sieve garbanzo flour into a mixing bowl. Add rice flour, cumin seeds, salt, chili powder, turmeric and asafoetida to the bowl and mix to combine. Next add water and make a batter of semi-thick consistency. It should be neither thick nor watery but should be able to coat when the potato slices are dipped in it. (I added about 3/4 cup water and the quantity can be increased if the batter is too thick to coat the potatoes.) Add the baking soda at the end and mix well.
* Drop a pinch of batter into the oil to test whether the oil is ready for frying. If the batter sizzles and immediately comes to the surface, it's ready to fry. If the batter sinks and doesn't rise, the oil needs some more heating. 
* Dip the potato slices in the batter so that it is coated well on both sides and drop it into the oil carefully. Drop as many coated potato slices as the pan can fit, without crowding.
* Fry on medium flame until they turn golden brown on both sides. Remove them with a slotted spoon draining as much oil as possible  and leave them on absorbent towels. 
* Repeat the steps with the remaining potato slices and the batter.

This goes to Blogging marathon #70, under the theme 'Thaali Recipes'. Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking as part of the BM.



rajani said...

The only change that I can think of is cabbage instead of carrots, but otherwise you have nailed the thali. Be it birthdays or any festival, this is what is made!

Suma Gandlur said...

Yes, Rajani. I would say a cabbage or beans curry too but I personally love carrot curry. And besides, the day I made that thaali, I wasn't thinking in terms of a festive one as all the dishes were not made on the same day. :))

Gayathri Kumar said...

Love it to the core Suma. I need to plan my thalis now.

Pavani N said...

Love love love this simple and inviting south Indian thali.

Ritu Tangri said...

You call it simple Suma, with so many tasty dishes in it...For us North Indians, Its a speciality :)

Sapana Behl said...

This South Indian thali looks divine. How I wish I could get a CHANCE to taste it.

vaishali sabnani said...

This is a thali that needs to be bookmarked..I must make this soon. Will wait for your recipes and the bhajjis..they are killing. you have fried them beautifully..not a drop of oil is to be seen. Fantastic!
Suma the thali series by you has been a feast to the eyes:))keep it up.

Priya Suresh said...

Omg, you simply rock with your thali series especially this South Indian festival thali, those potato bajjis makes me hungry, been a while i had theme, now you are tempting me.

Amara Annapaneni said...

Suma...Wow!! Amazing... such a nice spread of dishes. Love your Thali. Making me hungry..

Harini-Jaya R said...

You nailed the festive thali, Suma. It realistically depicts the thali which we make at home as well.

Srivalli said...

This thali is surely a super fit for any festival/special occasion at home..I too make most of these dishes and everything makes it so filling right!