Homemade Potato Bhajia.

Potato Bhajia are a favorite snack in Kenya. Thinly sliced potatoes dipped in a spicy gram flour batter then deep fried till a bit crispy and golden ; Total potato perfection!

If you’ve lived in Nairobi, visiting the food court at Diamond Plaza is a must to sample the world famous “Maru Bhajia” from the stall by the same name. That is the only place whose bhajia I have faith in.

I am sure many of us who love their bhajias have tried to replicate it at home but can never quite get the exact taste. 😂

Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try though right?

Let us get started.

Our ingredients are:-

  • 1 kg white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced.
  • Oil to deep fry them in.
  • 1/4 tsp ground tumeric.
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder.
  • 1 tsp paprika.
  • Juice of 1 lemon.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • 1/2 cup of besan (chickpea aka gram or garam flour).
  • 1 heaped tablespoon rice flour
  • 1 bunch of finely chopped coriander.
  • A pinch of fenugreek leaves – optional.
  • small pinch of baking soda.

Method.

Peel, clean and slice your potatoes into thin rounds.

Soak them in salty waters for 15 minutes then drain.

In a a large bowl, add the potato slices, all the ground spices and herbs except the baking soda.

Add the flours and mix well.

Let the mixture stand for about 15 minutes, please do not add any water.

The potatoes will release their own water and the slices will get enough batter all round.

Heat your oil.

Add the baking soda just before frying. I got this tip from Fauzia’s Kitchen Fun blog.

Deep fry the potato slices on medium heat until cooked through, and turn golden.

To avoid them clumping together, add the slices to the oil individually.

Once ready, drain on kitchen towel to remove extra grease then serve with ketchup, chutney or chilli sauce.

They are a great snack to make as well as a fun weekend dinner with some roasted chicken or grilled meat and salads on the side.

They are crispy but fluffy inside, well cooked, well seasoned, delicious and you cannot get enough of them!

How do you like your potato bhajia?

Green Banana Cutlets.

Green bananas aka “matoke” as they are known here are available in Kampala in plenty. While many here prefer them steamed and mashed, there are many other meals one can make with them. You can make them into a porridge, like we did here. Bake them, deep fry them, make a yummy breakfast dish or even stew them.

This time round I steamed them whole, let them cool a bit, then peeled and mashed them into cigar like rolls. Next, I pan fried them in butter and a pinch of mixed herbs to get a delicious taste that one cannot believe is green bananas.

Let us get started. You will need:-

  • A small bunch of green bananas, about 9 pieces if small, or 5 large.
  • 1 tsp freshly ground mixed spice blend -I used one that had ground sea salt, pepper, sesame seeds, fennel, cloves, coriander, star anise, onion and ginger.
  • 1/2 cup of cornflour. This makes them crunchy on the outside but soft and fluffy inside.
  • 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric.
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil.
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs.
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter.

Method.

Wash the bananas and boil them whole for about 20 minutes, till soft. They will blacken a bit.

Drain and cool them. Peel and mash them together with the spices, cornflour and oil, then shape them into little cigar like rolls.

Heat your pan and add the butter, I like adding a bit of oil too so the butter doesn’t brown too fast.

Add the rolls in batches and pan fry till they are a golden brown colour on medium heat.

They smell and taste amazing. You can have them as a snack or with greens on the side, whatever tickles your fancy.

We had ours with sautéed greens and bacon. I will post the recipe for it soon too.

Colourful, delicious, filling and easy to make. Definitely worth a try.

Keep it here for this and more simple family friendly recipes using what is on hand, as well as titbits about our experiences as a family here in Kampala.

I would also like to thank you all for stopping by, sharing and subscribing to this blog, as well as those who take the time to try out my recipes and give me feedback. I really appreciate it. It means a lot to me.

Love and Light.

Wanjoro.

Tasty Tamarind Pork and Eggplant Fry.

This is simple pork recipe that uses up easily available vegetables, and some tangy tamarind sauce ending up in a finger licking, tasty and colourful meal.

You will need:-

  • About 1 kg pork stew cut into chunks.
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds.
  • 2 sliced onions.
  • 1 tsp each minced ginger and minced garlic.
  • One bay leaf.
  • Mixed bell peppers.
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut in thick slices.
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste.
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 tsp mixed spices blend.
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil.
  • I small bunch of coriander, chopped.
I like salting the eggplant after slicing, as it reduces the bitterness. Just brush off the salt or rinse off then pat dry with a paper towel, before adding back to the pan.

First off, rub the meat with the mixed spice blend then brown it, set aside.

Next pan fry the eggplant and set aside too.

This is the mixed spice blend I used in this instance. I like it as it is blends in well with many dishes, both meat or vegetable, sweet or savoury.

To the same pan, you had browned the meat, mustard seeds, followed by the onion and bay leaf, and cook till onion its soft.

Add your minced ginger and garlic and mix well, before adding the tomato paste.

Add the Tamarind paste next.

Followed by the fried eggplant. You can also used roasted eggplant too.

Next goes in the pork. Mix well and let cook till pork is ready.

Last addition will be the assorted bell peppers, let them cook a while and switch off heat. Remember to add coriander for garnish.

Serve hot.

Look at how beautiful that plate is!
You can have it with some baked plantain, I mean, plantain goes well with almost everything.
And you can complete the meal with a crunch fresh salad on the side. This lettuce, tomato and onion one did just fine.

The pork is tender, flavourful and smells amazing. This is one meal that is sure to please your family.

This is definitely worth a try don’t you think?

Stewed Beef with tamarind and apricot.

This is a thick and rich beef stew that’s sure to be a crowd pleaser when one is entertaining.

It goes well with many dishes and the leftovers can be great for a sandwich.

The addition of the dried fruits adds a bit of sweetness that blends in well with the other spices used.

You will need:-

1. Stewing Beef 1 kg, cut in medium chunks.

2. One large onion, chopped. One bay leaf.

3. Ginger garlic paste, 1 tbsp

4. Mixed spice blend, 1 tbsp. Divide in half.

5. Honey, a tbsp.

6. Apricots dried 1 cup chopped

7. Tomatoes 3, blended

8. Tamarind paste 1 tbsp

12. Bell pepper, chopped

13. Hot water / stock 2 cups

Method.

Rub beef with some oil and half the mixed spice blend. Rub all over well.

Heat pan and add oil.

Sear beef set aside.

Add oil if needed. Then bay leaf, onions and cook till soft. Add garlic ginger.

Next ground spices mixed well.

These are spices I used to make a spices blend for this dish, as well as a pinch of ground cinnamon.

Add tomatoes and tamarind and bell peppers.

I used some tomato paste too.

Let them cook down well. Return the beef.

I used raisins and apricots; you can chop the apricots too if you wish.

Cook low and slow for an hour then add the dried fruit mix. And some honey.

Add more water if needed.

Cook for another 30 or so minutes, on low, until meat is tender and sauce thick.

The meat is really tender at this point with a lovely aroma.

Check seasoning and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot over rice and salad on the side.

It makes an excellent main when entertaining or as a family meal. We had ours with some rice, potatoes and salad.
This is my go to beef dish when serving many people. It goes well with other dishes.