As we’re deep into winter now the number of heavy rainy and windy days has increased and nothings more comforting than a cup of chai and hot crispy Fiyazis on days like this.
During my childhood Onion bhajis or Fiyazis as it’s called at my mother’s was eaten very rarely. I’m not too sure why as our relatives or other Bangladeshi families would eat them often or at least there’d be a daily serving of Fiyazis during the holy month of Ramadhan. Maybe my father’s not a fond of them as most of our dinner menus were based on his preference.
So I don’t really have a memory of what I thought of Fiyazis growing up, but I most likely would have disliked them as I was repulsed by most things that were cooked using oil and I wasn’t much fond of onion neither. But you see pregnancy changes a lot about a woman and in my case I’ve had a lot of changes with my three pregnancies.
My love for these deep-fried crispy mouthfuls came to life with my second pregnancy during which most of my cravings were for deep-fried food/shallow-fried food, okay let’s just say fried food in the general and rich, fatty food. Chips, deep-fried chicken, jam doughnuts, midnight beef burgers were on top of the list and I ate them at least a few times a week (I know, not healthy at all). However, I also craved something really spicy and hot. French fries drenched in chilli sauce didn’t suffice anymore and that’s when coincidentally, I came to taste a Fiyazi after a very long time and I didn’t like it! It was limp and slightly runny inside which I presume was the preference of the cook as they were happily eating them one after another. But to me it just didn’t represent the image I had of Fiyazis. I envisioned something crisp with a little crunch, not greasy or and definitely not runny. Hence, I started to search the Web and I came across a whole load of recipes, some with egg and some without, some with rice flour and gram flour, some opted for plain flour instead of gram flour, some added moisture, others prohibited it and all of this just confused me. So much so that I decided to turn the mother of all confusing knowledge of and turn to my simple and definitely less confusing mother Gram flour for the coating alongside Rice flour for the crispness, a few spices and herb to flavour and that’s it. No additional egg/water for binding. The juices in the onion alone should play that role. After one whole year of trial and error, some rock hard batches binned and some delicious but soft like fritters I finally worked out a harmonise ratio of ingredients. Now I can make and eat crispy Fiyazis to my heart’s content.
- 250g Brown Onion, sliced finely
- 4g Green Chillies, chopped finely
- 10g Fresh Coriander, chopped finely
- 15g Garlic, finely grated
- 15g Ghee
- 60g Gram Flour
- 60g Rice Flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Chilli Powder
- 1/4 tsp Ajwain/Lovage seeds
- Vegetable Oil, for deep-frying
- First, combine both of the Flours, Salt, Chilli powder and Black pepper together. (I then sieved it through just so my conscience can rest that it's completely combined but this is obviously optional)
- In another bowl, take the fresh ingredients as well as the Ajwain seeds, Ghee and toss together.
- Then add the flour mixture to the onion mixture and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and leave to rest for twenty minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat enough oil for deep-frying in a wide and deep pot over low-medium heat. A wok or karahi would be great.
- Once, twenty minutes is up give the mixture a light knead to bring it together. By this point the mixture should be sticky as the onions would have let out their juices.
- To test the oil, place a piece of bread in the oil if it rises to the top within a few seconds then it's ready. Use your hand to place small bite size pieces into the oil and fry for 3-5 minutes or until golden-brown. Turn the Fiyazis over once half-way through the cooking time. Don't over crowd the pan as they won't fry nicely, so cook in batches if needed. You could place the fried Fiyazis in the oven on the lowest heat setting to keep warm while you finish frying the rest.
- Once cooked, drain on a paper towel for 30 seconds or so and serve immediately.