Potato, onion and Alexanders bhajia
Sandip Bhogal owns The Pink Tiffin in Bungay, selling and delivering a limited number of homemade aromatic and delicious curries to the surrounding area on Friday and Saturday nights.
With Diwali taking place on 4 November this year, Sandip shares a family recipe that we can all make and enjoy, using locally foraged ingredients.
Wash, cube, and dry the potatoes.
Grind the chillies, ginger and garlic into a paste.
Sieve the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the ginger, garlic, green chillies, coriander, salt and garam masala.
Add the tomatoes or yoghurt, and then the potatoes and chopped Alexanders/spinach.
If needed, add up to half a glass of water to form a batter, and mix the ingredients with your hands to ensure that the potatoes and Alexanders are coated in the batter.
Form the bhajia mixture into small balls around half the size of a golf ball.
Add a teaspoon of the mix to the hot oil and if it rises straight away, the oil is at the right temperature to start frying.
Put in around 10 at a time until golden and crispy.
Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper, and then enjoy while still hot and crisp, with my Tomato, carrot and mint chutney
As the festival of light, at Diwali oil is in abundance. It's traditional to burn an oil lamp, as well as to make fried food.
My family always makes bhajia, to which we add spinach. When I moved to Suffolk, I was stunned when I found that Alexanders, a common weed that seems to grow in almost every hedgerow in East Anglia, is not only edible, but extremely tasty and a great substitute for spinach. Apparently, it was first planted as a crop by the Romans and these days, no-one seems to pick it. Since first substituting it for spinach in bhajia, now I always try and find some to add when I'm making these scrumptious snacks.
If you make these bhajia, my tip is to eat them straight away – although still delicious, they're never quite as good if they're left to cool and reheated.