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Bhajia verses viazi karai

 Bhajia verses viazi karai (Photo: iStock)

Each community has a language they relate to.

For example, in Nairobi, bhajias are pre-boiled potatoes which are coated with batter and then deep fried until golden brown, while in Coast that is what they refer to as viazi karai.

According to those from the coastal region, bhajias are prepared differently and are made from gram flour that is transformed into batter mixed with vegetables and then deep fried.

The two have been an issue of discussion and the communities in question get confused when referring to these snacks.

“What Nairobians buy as street snacks along with ‘chipo mwitu’ are known as viazi karai and not bhajias as most people call them. Bhajias are cooked differently from viazi karai and their general look is dissimilar,” said a Swahili chef Mariam Abdelnasser.

She also added that bhajias can also be made from potatoes which are starchy vegetables.

Potatoes have a lot of nutritional benefits as they contain antioxidants which neutralise harmful molecules known as free radicals.

We are going to learn how to make bhajias at home since they are not so many of them in the streets.


1 cup of butterfly bhajia flour

½ cup plain flour

3 small potatoes chopped into cubes

½ onion, finely chopped

2 green chillies, chopped

Chopped coriander




Wash, peel and chop all the vegetables then leave them to dry on a tea towel for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the two flours and add a pinch of salt.

Add in all the vegetables.

Continuously, add small amounts of water to the mixture as you stir until it is thick.

Be careful not to add too much water as the mixture will lose its viscosity.

In a cooking pan, heat one cup of cooking oil as you let the mixture settle.

Scoop some of the mixture using a spoon and deep it in the heated oil. Do that several times in order to cook as many bhajias as your pan can hold at once.

Serve with chutney or tamarind sauce


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