Deep Fried Eggplant/Brinjal Fritters (Gulla Phodi/Bajo)

Deep Fried Eggplant/Brinjal Fritters (Gulla Phodi/Bajo)

Udupi matti gullas are a special variety of brinjal with centuries-old legacy. They are believed to be one of the tastiest variety of brinjal. And gulla phodi has a huge fan fare in Udupi, Mangalore & it's surrounding regions. Gulla phodi are fritters that are usually prepared using matti gulla (which are seasonal) or the hybrid matti gullas (the ones that are available all around the year these days). You CAN make these fritters/phodis using any type of brinjal/aubergine/egg plant. But you might complain the authentic taste of gulla is missing if you've had matti gulla phodi before. :-)

Brinjal fritters are delicious and soft. Brinjals are deep fried with a spicy rice batter to make yummy fritters. These are called gulla phodi in Konkani and are a favourite among Konkanis. They are prepared as a starter/side dish for lunch, dinner and are also served as a tea time snack.

There's also another easy, quick way to prepare gulla phodi, by using a gram flour batter. And they turn out like these:

Fritters made using a ground rice batter are a yummier version of eggplant fritters. They take a little more time than the gram flour battered ones, but it's worth the time and effort. They taste a lot better than the gram flour battered ones. I bet you'll agree with me once you give it a try.

So, here you go. Recipe to make yummy gulla phodi! 


1-2 eggplant/brinjal/aubergine depending on their size
3/4 cup dosa rice
4-5 dried red chillies
1 lemon sized tamarind
1 tablespoon of gram flour (optional)
A pinch of crystal asafoetida/asafoetida powder 
Salt to taste
Oil for deep  frying

Serves: 2-3

Preparation Time:  45 minutes

Preparation Method:

1. Make medium thick slices of brinjal on washing and cleaning it. 

2. Thickness of a slice is a personal choice.

If the slices are thick, they take time to cook and should be fried with care or else you end up with raw brinjal in the middle. 

If the slices are thin, you'll have to fry them with care as well, so as to keep them soft and not make them crispy on the outside.

So, making medium thick slices is a safe bet! That way you get a mouthful of brinjal with every bite.

Thick slices can be too bland due to their thickness and thin slices will not give you a mouthful of brinjal with every bite. You'll end up craving for more brinjal. :-) So, medium thick slices are the best for yummy phodis.

3. Brinjal slices get oxidised as soon as they're cut & start to brown when exposed to air. Hence, put these slices into a bowl of water immediately on slicing them. 

4. Leave the slices in water for 10-15 minutes so that it gives away all it's bitterness (chogru in Konkani).

5. Just before you deep fry them, remove them out of the water, add salt, toss them well and keep them aside for 5-10 minutes so that they take in salt.

Preparing the masala/batter:

6. Soak rice for a minimum of half an hour.

7. After soaking, give the rice grains a nice wash, strain out all the water completely. Grind soaked rice with dried red chillies, tamarind and salt into a smooth paste using as little water as possible. DO NOT add more water. We want a thick batter so be careful while using water during grinding.

8. Trasfer ground batter into a bowl. Add crystal asafoetida melted in water or asafoetida powder to the batter and mix well. 

9. Add gram flour to the batter and mix well. If the batter feels too thick, add in little water and mix well. Batter has to be in between thick and dripping thin. A layer of batter should coat the brinjal slices well. If the batter's too watery it'll drip off from the brinjal slices and won't stick to it.

If the ground batter gets watery, add in little more gram flour and mix well, to get the required consistency. You can also add in a tablespoon of rice flour to get the required thickness. Rice flour makes the phodis/fritters a little crisp. 

Check and adjust salt.

10. Meanwhile heat up oil in a wok for deep frying. 

11. Once the oil is rolling hot, add in brinjal slices dipped in batter into the oil one by one. Make sure the brinjal slices are uniformly coated with batter on all sides. Add in about 5-6 slices or as many as your oil can hold. Don't over crowd the oil. 

12. Fry them on a medium flame until they change colour and are cooked through.

It is important you deep fry them on medium flame to ensures uniform cooking throughout. If the flame's high then you get fritters that are extra crispy on the outside and raw on the inside. If the flame's low they tend to absorb in oil.

13. Transfer deep fried fritters onto a blotting paper to drain excess oil.

14. Serve these fritters/phodis hot. They lose their crispiness as they cool down and tend to get soggy.

Other Udupi matti gulla recipes: 

Stuffed Brinjal/Eggplant Konkani Style (Gulla Sagle)

Eggplant/Brinjal Bhajji (Gulla Bajji/gojju)

Brinjal In Tangy Sauce (Gulla Bol Huli)

Find more fritter (bajo, phodi) recipes here.

Tags: Brinjal, aubergine, eggplant, matti gulla, fritters, deep fried, side dish, snacks, phodi, bajo, Konkani food, Mangalore food, Udupi cuisine, Konkani cuisine, Konkani recipes, Udupi Mangalore street food, Ganesh chaturthi, chauthi