"It is that nostalgic foods that brings back our childlike spirit" says me :)
Omavalli / karpooravalli / cuban oregano / mother of herbs
bajji - fritters
Though we used to grow this omavalli plant in our house (while growing up), I had never tasted this bajji (we eat it raw), till I saw a platter of this in a TV serial long back.
Unlike anywhere else, house plants are almost free in India :). After that , around 2005 I got one of this omavalli in our garden, as my husband is very much fond of smelling this leaf. Also he likes the way this grows enormously and he particularly wished me to grow this plant along with my favorites. I searched everywhere and spotted one in my neighborhood. Then while I went for a walk I asked my neighbor if she can give me a tiny piece of this. She gladly gave me a big branch and that one grew in our house to a large bush. We munch on this leaf in the mornings. Then on a rainy and cold evening (that nice weather is not common in Chennai and we Chennaites celebrate the cold weather with spicy foods and tea), I prepared this for us and we loved it very much along with tea. Omavalli remains in Chennai and I never thought if I could see one again in USA.
After many years, I saw this in a nearby Asian grocery stores, and bought it for $ 2 in a small pack. Then it grew this big (see photo) inside our house. Then only I learned that omavalli is not only native to India, it is a favorite herb in South America too. It is a hardy and outdoor plant too (haven't tried outdoors yet).
I love my plants very much and consider them as my kids, as I think that they give me a very good company. Growing them in cold regions needs some luck, so I keep them precious. I rarely pick leaves out of them and one fine day just like that on a cold evening I made this bajji along with tea and we liked it very much :) .
Here is a platter of omavalli bajji and should I say it tastes amazing ? :)
|May 2014 Omavalli plant from Asian stores.|
|Omavalli plant in indoors.|
Ingredients :Omavalli leaf - 10
Besan flour (kadalai mavu) - 1/2 cup
dosa batter (or) rice flour) - 2 tbsp
salt - to taste
red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
hing (asafoetida)- 1/8 tsp
baking soda - 1/2 tsp
oil - to deep fry (200 ml)
Method:Pick some fresh omavalli leaf (using a sharp scissor). Rinse and wipe to dry.
In a mixing bowl , add all the ingredients except oil and leaf . Mix well to a thick batter using little water. The batter should be like thick idly batter ,otherwise the bajjis will absorb more oil.
Heat oil in a wok. Heat well, reduce flame to medium.
Dip the leaves in the batter and put it on the hot oil. Do not clutter. Flip and fry both sides. Drain oil and take out.
Omavalli bajji is ready!
Serving suggestions:Serve hot as snack along with hot coffee or tea during rainy / winter season.
Tomato ketchup is my choice of side dish for all bajji.
Tastes good without any dipping too.