Bheja Fry - Goat Brain Fritters

bheja fry goat brain pakora indian recipe

Shairez has been teaching me a lot about Indian food lately, and one of the dishes he talks about is bheja fry, a popular dish in Mumbai using goats brain. I'm always interested in trying new things, so we got some goat brains from IQBAL Halal Foods, a huge South Asian supermarket in Thorncliffe Park, and tried making bheja fry.

Raw Goat Brains
Preparing brains is much like preparing sweetbreads , which I've served many times in the French restaurants I've worked in. You rinse the brains in cold water for about an hour to eliminate excess blood, then poach in a court bouillon with a few tablespoons of vinegar for about 30 minutes. For bheja fry I used ginger garlic cumin and turmeric in the court bouillon as well as the standard onion, celery, and carrot. Once the brains are poached, let them cool, and pick the excess fatty membranes from around the edges. The brains are now ready to be used for bheja fry or any other brain dish you would like to try.

Although most bheja fry recipes have you stirfry the brains in a masala, and mash them into a scrambled egg-like dish, Shairez likes to dip the brains in a pakora batter and deepfry them into crispy fritters. He says this is an authentic way of eating them on the street in Mumbai, and since I haven't been there (yet), I'm not going to argue.
Pakora Batter Recipe

1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp baking power
1 tbsp melted butter
some chopped cilantro
Mix all the dry ingredients and add enough water to create a crepe batter consistency, then mix in the melted butter and cilantro.

If you don't have the ingredients on hand most South Asian stores sell good ready mixes like the Laziza brand.
Coat the brains in the pakora batter and deep fry at 350° until golden brown. We served the bheja fry with pickled red onions and a tomato/chili masala on the side.
Biting into the fritters reveals a very creamy texture and a mild liver like flavour which may be an acquired taste for some. The vinegared onions and chili were a perfect counterpart, but next time I would cut the brains into pieces instead of frying the whole brain, especially if I was serving bheja fry to guests who were not used to the texture of offal.

Bheja fry is also the name of a Bollywood movie from 2007 and takes it's name from the play on words of bheja fry meaning "driving me crazy" or "frying my brain" apparently its quite funny, unlike the sequel Bheja fry2 which coincidentally opened in Toronto this week and has received poor reviews.

Trailer for Bheja Fry 2

bheja fry goat brain pakoras

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