|Bajiyos /Djiboutian Fried Vegetables/ Aloo Pakora|
Today let’s visit Djibouti, officially the Republic of Djibouti, it’s a country located in the Horn of Africa bordered by Eritrea in the north, Ethiopia in the west and south, and Somalia in the Southeast. The remainder of the border is formed by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden at the east.
Djibouti is a multi-ethnic nation with a population of over 810,000 inhabitants. The Somali and Afar make up the two largest ethnic groups. Both speak Afro-Asiatic languages, which serve as recognized national languages. Arabic and French constitute the country's two official languages. Islam is a predominant religion in the region.
According to Wikipedia, “Djiboutian cuisine consists of a mixture of Somali, Afar, Ethiopian, Yemeni and French cuisine, with some additional Asian influences. Local dishes are commonly prepared using a lot of Middle Eastern spices, ranging from saffron to cinnamon.
Spicy dishes come in many variations, from the traditional Fah-fah or "Soupe Djiboutienne" (spicy boiled beef) to the yetakelt wet (spicy mixed vegetable stew). Xalwo (halva) is a popular confection eaten during festive occasions, such as Eid celebrations or wedding receptions. After meals, homes are traditionally perfumed using incense (cuunsi) or frankincense (lubaan), which is prepared inside an incense burner referred to as a dabqaad.”What caught my eye here was,
” Sambuusa, the Somali version of the triangular samosa snack, is commonly eaten throughout Djibouti during the afur (iftar). The local variant is spiced with hot green pepper, and the main ingredient is often ground goat meat or fish. Xalwo(pronounced "halwo") or halva is a popular confection served during special occasions, such as Eid celebrations or wedding receptions.
Garoobey is one of the staple dishes of Djibouti. Oats porridge, it is prepared by soaking oats in milk, and is flavoured with cumin or cumin powder. Bajiyos are a regular fixture at the table and in street shops, particularly when it is time to break the fast during Ramadan. They are part of the four essential elements of the Djiboutian afternoon tea. Fruits such as mango, guava (seytuun), banana (moos) are also eaten throughout the day as snacks.”
Sounds familiar does it not?
The variety of ingredients used to make the bajiyos or bhajiyas or pakoras is amazing. I was surprised to hear about making them with cucumber, and butternut squash. That is totally new to me.
I stuck to just potato, I know it’s totally out of character especially with a name like the Mad Scientist but there is limit to my families patience with my experiments!!! I have been feeding them totally international and….
Okay this was deep frying I would rather not do it. I kept postponing it till the last possible moment.
Bajiyos/ Djiboutian Fried Vegetables
Recipe Source: partly from here
- 1 medium size potato
- 1 cup besan /gram flour
- 2 tbsp rice flour
- ½ tsp ajwain/ carom seeds
- ¼ tsp red chilli powder
- A pinch of hing/asafoetida
- ⅔ to ¾ cup water
- A pinch of baking soda (optional)
- Salt as needed
- Slice the potatoes thinly in rounds. Keep them in water till needed.
- Mix well the besan, rice flour, ajwain, red chilli powder, hing and soda with water. Remember to use little water as more can be added if needed. The batter has to be thick.
- Check the seasoning and add more if required.
- Heat oil for frying in a kadhai/wok .
- Now transfer the potato slices, few at a time to a clean kitchen napkin so that the slices are not damp.
- Dip each potato slice in the batter and place it gently in hot oil.
- Add 5-6 potato slices each time.
- Fry till golden and crisp.
- Drain on paper towels.
- Repeat with the rest of the slices.
- Serve with chutney or tomato sauce.
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