Kakrol Bhaja Recipe | Spiny Gourd Fry

5 from 5 votes
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Kakrol Bhaja is a delectable Bengali dish that celebrates the flavors of the East.

In this recipe, I’ll explore how to transform kakrol (spiny gourd) into a crispy, irresistible snack that pairs perfectly with a hot cup of tea.

Kakrol Bhaja is not only a treat for your taste buds but also a wonderful way to savor the essence of Bengali cuisine.

Kakrol, also known as the spiky gourd or teasel gourd, is a unique vegetable with a slightly bitter and nutty taste.

Kakrol Bhaja

Key Takeaways:

  • Kakrol Bhaja is a crispy Bengali dish celebrating East Indian flavors.
  • Spiny gourd is transformed into an irresistible snack that pairs perfectly with tea.
  • Kakrol Bhaja offers a unique blend of slight bitterness, spiciness, nuttiness, and crispiness.
  • It can be served with various accompaniments like mint chutney or tamarind chutney.
  • If you’re looking for alternatives, try dishes like Aloo Bhaja or Bhindi Pakora for a similar crispy and spiced experience.

The Ingredients

Kakrol bhaja ingredients

  • Kakrol or Spiny Gourd: 250 gm (cut in round slices & cleaned)
  • Red chili powder: ½ tbsp
  • Turmeric powder: ½ tbsp
  • Cornflour: 1½ tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Refined oil: 3 tbsp

How to Make Kakrol Bhaja (Step by Step with Images)?

1. Coat the kakrol or spiny gourd with red chili powder and turmeric powder. Add less than 1 tbsp of salt. Mix everything thoroughly. Let it sit for 15 minutes.

Coating kakrol or spiny gourd with red chili powder, turmeric powde, salt and mixing

2. After 15 minutes, add cornflour to the mixture and coat it evenly.

Add cornflour to the mixture and coating it evenly

3. Now, begin the frying process. Heat oil in a nonstick wok, adding enough for deep frying. Once the oil is hot, carefully add the spiny gourds one at a time. It will be done in a medium heat.

(Expert tip: Gently slide the gourds from one side of the wok. Avoid adding all at once. Allow each piece to fry on one side before flipping.)

Frying spiny gourd

4. After some time, flip them over to ensure even frying. Fry until they turn a reddish color, then remove them from the oil.

Frying until a reddish color

5. Your Kakrol Bhaja or spiny gourd fry is now ready to be served. Place it on a plate. You can check for crispiness with a fork.

(Expert tip: If you’re enjoying it as a snack, sprinkle some rock salt, a pinch of red chili powder, or chat masala over the fry. Serve it hot and savor the flavors.)

Kakrol bhaja is ready

Pro Tips for Making Best Kakrol Bhaja

Here are some pro tips to help you achieve culinary excellence:

Choose Fresh Kakrol: Select young, firm teasel gourds. They are less bitter and have a tender texture, making them ideal for Kakrol Bhaja.

Thin and Even Slices: Slice the Kakrol thinly and uniformly. This ensures even cooking and consistent crispiness.

Pre-Soak in Salt Water: Soak the sliced Kakrol in salted water for about 15-20 minutes. This step helps reduce bitterness and enhances the overall taste.

Proper Drying: After soaking, thoroughly pat dry the Kakrol slices using a kitchen towel or paper towels. Excess moisture can prevent them from becoming crispy.

Spice Mix Perfection (Optional): Create a well-balanced spice mix. Combine rice flour with a touch of besan (chickpea flour) for extra crispiness. Add spices like cumin, coriander, red chili powder, and a pinch of turmeric for flavor depth.

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Perfect Oil Temperature: Heat the cooking oil to the right temperature before frying (around 350°F or 175°C). Use a kitchen thermometer for accuracy.

Don’t Overcrowd the Pan: Fry the Kakrol slices in batches. Overcrowding the pan can lower the oil temperature and result in soggy, greasy Bhaja.

Maintain Oil Consistency: Keep an eye on the oil temperature throughout frying. Adjust the heat to maintain a steady temperature.

Drain Excess Oil: After frying, place the Kakrol Bhaja on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. This step ensures they remain crispy and not oily.

Season While Hot: Season the hot Kakrol Bhaja with a pinch of salt or chaat masala immediately after frying. This allows the spices to stick better to the crispy slices.

Experiment with Flavors: Feel free to experiment with various spice blends or coatings. Some like it extra spicy, while others prefer a milder version with a hint of sweetness from fennel seeds.

By following these pro tips, you’ll master the art of making the best Kakrol Bhaja, impressing your taste buds and those lucky enough to enjoy this delightful Bengali snack with you.

What to Serve with Kakrol Bhaja?

Kakrol Bhaja, the crispy spiky gourd snack from Bengal, pairs wonderfully with a variety of accompaniments. Here are some delicious options to serve alongside Kakrol Bhaja:

Mint Chutney: A cooling and tangy mint chutney made with fresh mint leaves, cilantro, yogurt, and a touch of lemon juice. Its refreshing flavor complements the crispy Kakrol Bhaja.

Tamarind Chutney: The sweet and tangy notes of tamarind chutney provide a delightful contrast to the crunchy spiky gourd slices.

Green Chutney: A spicy green chutney made from cilantro, mint, green chilies, and yogurt or coconut milk. It adds a kick of heat and freshness to balance the dish.

Tomato Ketchup: A classic condiment loved by many, ketchup’s mild sweetness and tanginess go well with the crispiness of Kakrol Bhaja.

Steamed Rice: For a heartier meal, enjoy Kakrol Bhaja with steamed white rice. The crunchy texture of the Bhaja complements the softness of the rice.

Masoor Dal: A simple yet flavorful red lentil soup, masoor dal, can be a perfect accompaniment to balance the flavors and textures of your meal.

Ultimately, the choice of accompaniments depends on your personal preferences and the occasion.

Whether you prefer a light snack or a more substantial meal, Kakrol Bhaja can be a versatile and enjoyable part of your Bengali culinary experience.

How Does Kakrol Bhaja Taste?

Kakrol Bhaja, the crispy spiky gourd snack from Bengal, offers a unique and delightful taste that’s a blend of various flavors and textures. Here’s how Kakrol Bhaja typically tastes:

Crispy and Crunchy: The star of Kakrol Bhaja is its crispy texture. The thinly sliced spiky gourd is coated with a spiced batter and deep-fried to perfection. When you bite into it, you’ll experience a satisfying crunch.

Mild Bitterness: Kakrol, or teasel gourd, has a slight bitterness that adds complexity to the dish. However, when prepared well, this bitterness is balanced and not overpowering.

Nutty Notes: If besan (chickpea flour) is used in the batter, it can contribute nutty undertones to the dish, enhancing its overall flavor.

Aromatic: When freshly fried, Kakrol Bhaja emits a wonderful aroma of spices and the earthy fragrance of deep-frying, making it all the more enticing.

The overall taste of Kakrol Bhaja can vary slightly depending on the specific spices and seasonings used in the recipe and personal preferences.

It’s a classic Bengali snack that embodies the essence of Bengali cuisine, showcasing a harmonious blend of textures and flavors that make it a favorite among those who appreciate the rich culinary traditions of Bengal.

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Kakrol Bhaja Alternatives

If you’re looking for alternatives to Kakrol Bhaja or simply want to explore similar dishes with different ingredients, here are some options that offer a similar crispy and spiced experience:

Potato Bhaja (Aloo Bhaja): Thinly sliced potatoes are coated with a spiced batter and deep-fried to create crispy, flavorful potato fritters. They are a popular snack and side dish in many Indian cuisines.

Eggplant Fritters (Baingan Bhaja): Slices of eggplant are dipped in a seasoned gram flour batter and fried until golden brown. Baingan Bhaja is a common Bengali dish known for its crispy texture and earthy flavors.

Okra Fritters (Bhindi Pakora): Okra (bhindi) is coated in a chickpea flour batter with spices and deep-fried until crunchy. These pakoras are a popular snack in Indian cuisine.

Spinach Fritters (Palak Pakora): Fresh spinach leaves are coated in a spiced gram flour batter and fried until crispy. They are often served as a snack or appetizer.

Cauliflower Fritters (Gobi Pakora): Cauliflower florets are dipped in a flavorful chickpea flour batter and deep-fried until they become golden and crunchy. Gobi Pakora is a popular North Indian snack.

Onion Bhaji: Thinly sliced onions are mixed with a gram flour batter and spices, then fried until crispy. Onion bhajis are a popular street food and snack in Indian cuisine.

Zucchini Fritters: Zucchini slices can be coated in a similar spiced batter and fried until they are crispy and flavorful. They make a delicious alternative to Kakrol Bhaja.

These alternatives offer a variety of flavors and textures while maintaining the crispy and spiced characteristics found in Kakrol Bhaja.

You can explore these dishes to enjoy different tastes and ingredients in your culinary journey.

Recipe Card:

Kakrol Bhaja Featured Image

Kakrol Bhaja (Spiny Gourd Fry)

By Mita Mondal
Kakrol Bhaja is a Bengali culinary dish that consists of thinly sliced kakrol, also known as spiny gourd or teasel gourd, which is coated in a spiced batter and deep-fried until it becomes crispy and golden brown.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 141 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 250 grams Spiny Gourd  (cut in round slices & cleaned)
  • ½ tbsp Red chili powder
  • ½ tbsp Turmeric powder
  • tbsp Corn flour
  • 3 tbsp Refined oil
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Begin by coating the Kakrol slices with ½ tablespoon of red chili powder, ½ tablespoon of turmeric powder, and a pinch of salt (use less than 1 tablespoon). Ensure all slices are evenly coated. Let them sit for 15 minutes to absorb the flavors.
  • After 15 minutes, add 1½ tablespoons of cornflour to the marinated Kakrol slices. Ensure an even coating, which will contribute to the crispiness of the dish.
  • Prepare for frying by heating oil in a nonstick wok, using enough oil for deep frying. Maintain medium heat to achieve the perfect crispiness.
    Expert tip: Carefully slide the Kakrol slices into the wok one at a time, avoiding overcrowding. Allow each piece to fry on one side before flipping.
  • Fry the slices until they turn a delightful reddish color, ensuring even cooking. This should take some time, so be patient.
  • Once the slices are crispy and golden, remove them from the oil and place them on a plate. You can check for crispiness by poking them with a fork.
    Expert tip: If enjoying as a snack, elevate the flavor by sprinkling some rock salt, a pinch of red chili powder, or chat masala over the Bhaja. Serve it piping hot and relish the delightful flavors.

Video

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Notes

Choosing Kakrol (Spiny Gourd): Opt for young, firm spiny gourds. They are less bitter and have a tender texture, making them ideal for Kakrol Bhaja.
Uniform Slicing: Slice the Kakrol into thin and uniform rounds. This ensures even cooking and consistent crispiness.
Pre-Soaking (Optional): Soak the sliced Kakrol in salted water for about 15-20 minutes. This step helps reduce bitterness and enhances the overall taste. Rinse and pat them dry before coating with spices.
Spice Mix Balance (Optional): Create a well-balanced spice mix. You can use a blend of spices like red chili powder, turmeric powder, cumin, coriander, and a pinch of garam masala for depth of flavor.
Cornflour Coating: The addition of cornflour helps achieve a crispy texture. Ensure the Kakrol slices are evenly coated with cornflour for consistent crunchiness.
Oil Temperature: Heat the cooking oil to the right temperature (around 350°F or 175°C) before frying. Using a kitchen thermometer is recommended for accuracy.
Frying in Batches: Avoid overcrowding the wok while frying. Fry the Kakrol slices in batches to maintain the oil temperature and ensure even cooking.
Draining Excess Oil: After frying, place the Kakrol Bhaja on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. This step ensures they remain crispy and not overly greasy.
Seasoning While Hot: Season the hot Kakrol Bhaja with a pinch of salt, chat masala, or your favorite seasoning immediately after frying. This allows the spices to adhere better to the crispy slices.
Serving Suggestions: Kakrol Bhaja is versatile and can be served as a snack, side dish, or appetizer. Pair it with mint chutney, tamarind chutney, or other condiments for enhanced flavor.
Experiment with Flavors: Don't hesitate to experiment with different spice blends or coatings to suit your taste preferences. Some enjoy it with a bit of extra heat, while others prefer a milder version with a touch of sweetness.
Enjoy Fresh: Kakrol Bhaja is at its best when served hot and fresh. The crispiness and flavors are most pronounced right after frying.

Nutrition Info (Estimation Only)

Nutrition Facts
Kakrol Bhaja (Spiny Gourd Fry)
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
141
Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
11
g
17
%
Saturated Fat
 
1
g
6
%
Trans Fat
 
0.04
g
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
3
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
7
g
Sodium
 
889
mg
39
%
Potassium
 
49
mg
1
%
Carbohydrates
 
8
g
3
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
 
0.1
g
0
%
Protein
 
2
g
4
%
Vitamin A
 
297
IU
6
%
Vitamin C
 
0.2
mg
0
%
Calcium
 
30
mg
3
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Conclusion

Kakrol Bhaja or spiny gourd fry is an outstanding and easy-to-make snack.

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The cornflour and spices make the spiny gourd fry crispy and delicious at the same time.

It serves as a great side dish when paired with steamed rice and lentil soup.

In fact, it can be enjoyed as a delightful and healthy snack with a twist of rock salt and chaat masala.

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