Whether you call them bhajjias, the western Indian term, or pakoras, more common in the north, Indian fritters tend to be bits of vegetable dunked in a simple chickpea-flour batter and fried. The idea is to cook the vegetable in the time it takes to get the coating as crisp as possible, which depends on correctly gauging the thickness of the pieces of vegetable to be fried. Bhajjias are one of Bombay’s favorite snack foods, at home or on the streets.
The recipe works perfectly well with ordinary water but is even better if you use soda water instead of tap water. Nalini Swali of Bombay gave me this surprising tip, specifying a brand of local soda water that has finer, denser bubbles than others. Make sure that what you’re planning to fry is very dry before you dip it into the batter; this is especially important for leafy vegetables.
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