Chilli Bhajia

Rate this recipe

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

The Settler's Cookbook

By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Published 2009

  • About


  • 6 long, large green chillies or long peppers (must have thick skins)


  • ½ lb flat gathias (cooked Gujarati snacks made of gram flour). These are soft, unlike the noodle-shaped, crispier gathias described earlier. Both can be found in vegetarian snack houses or Indian grocery stores.
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp chilli powder
  • ¾ tsp sugar or a little jaggery
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • A little salt, not too much as the gathias are salted already
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice


  • ¾ cup gram flour
  • A pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • Sunflower oil to deep-fry bhajias
  • Salt, chilli and a little lemon juice
  • 4–5 tbsp cold water


  • Half slit open the chillies with the top still holding on firmly.
  • Gently scrape out the seeds, as many as you can.
  • Pound together or process the stuffing ingredients until they bind and feel like soft marzipan.
  • Stuff the mixture into the open chillies and press them back together.
  • In a small bowl, mix the gram flour with the seasonings and bicarbonate of soda, then slowly add in water until you have a batter thick enough to completely coat the chillies. The texture should be like heavy wall paint.
  • Heat the oil until a small bit of bread dropped in rises fast to the top.
  • Dip and coat the chillies and carefully place them in the oil. I tend to do this with a tablespoon, but my mum used her hand. The oil may spit. Step back and let it; it will soon settle. Don’t panic. Small oil burns are badges of honour.
  • Wait a couple of minutes and turn the chillies over. Keep frying and turning until the bhajias look firm and slightly brown.
  • Check one to see the batter is cooked through completely.