Bokful Bhaja is a popular Bengali vegetable fritters dish where bok phool or heron flower (so called as it’s white in colour and hangs like a heron from the tree) is dipped in a gram flour batter and deep-fried to a crispy brown.
Bokful (scientific name: Sesbania grandiflora or Agati grandiflora) is also known as agati, vegetable hummingbird or hummingbird tree. The small, fast-growing tropical medicinal tree bears white or red flowers according to its species. Agati is a good source of folate and Vitamin C.
In India, the edible flowers of S. grandiflora are called gaach-munga in Hindi, agase in Kannada, akatti in Malayalam, Hadga Flower in Marathi, agasti in Sanskrit, akatthi in Tamil and avisi in Telugu.
According to mythology, Agasti flowers, which blossom in Autumn, are named after the Vedic sage, Agastya. The blossoms are extremely delicate and you need to handle them with care!
Agati flowers are used to treat night blindness, headache, constipation, cough, fever and catarrh.
Bokful Bhaja Bengali Recipe:
Bokful Bhaja is a traditional Bengali recipe – ‘bok’ means heron, which is white in colour and ‘ful’ means flower. The batter fried Agathi flower fritters are absolutely amazing and a defnite hit with everyone in the family. The crisp and delicious Agasti Flower Bhajis are perfect to snack on in chilly weather or have these crunchy blossom fritters as a side with dal rice.
How to make Bengali bokful bhaja:
To make Bokful Bhaja, gently remove the filament from each flower and immerse the flowers in saline water for about 10 minutes to get rid of any insects. Drain the water and keep the heron flowers aside.
In a bowl combine, gram flour, cornflour, rice flour, poppy seeds, cooking soda, turmeric, asafoetida, chilli powder and salt.
Add water little by little and make a thick smooth batter.
Heat oil in a kadai over medium heat. Dip the agasti blossoms in the gram flour batter.
Gently drop the batter coated blossom fritters into the hot oil.
Deep fry the Bok phool until both sides turn a light golden colour.
Remove the fried Bok phool with a slotted spoon and place them on tissue paper to absorb the extra oil.
Serve crunchy Bokful Bhaja with rice and dal.
Agasti Flower Bhaji Recipe details below:
- Bokful/Agati Flowers - 8
- Besan/Gram Flour – 4 tbsp
- Cornflour – 1 tbsp
- Rice flour – 2 tbsp
- Poppy seeds – 1 tsp
- Turmeric – 1/8 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Asafoetida – 1/8 tsp
- Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
- Baking soda – 1/8 tsp
- Oil for deep frying
Wash the bokful and remove the stamen and calyx from inside each one of them to reduce bitterness. Keep them immersed in salt water for 10 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
Take besan, rice flour, cornflour, baking soda, poppy seeds, salt, turmeric, chilli powder and asafoetida in a mixing bowl. Add a little water at a time and make a smooth and slightly thick batter.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat
Dip the bokful in the prepared batter, coat well and deep fry to a golden brown.
Remove the fried bok flowers with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent paper.
Serve hot and crispy Bokful Bhaja with Khichdi.