My grandma’s place will be surrounded by Drumstick and Neem trees. Each neighboring house will have at least 3-4 trees in their backyard. I grew up literally surrounded by them and the drumstick leaves makes a presence daily in the menu in one form or the other. Of all the recipes I looked forward to gorging on the bondas that she makes with the drumstick leaves. The aroma will be so good that it will make you feel faint with hunger. Pity I do no get fresh drumstick leaves quite often now-a-days. I used Arai keerai but if you can get hold of Murungai keerai try this recipe with that and you will not be disappointed.
Keerai / Spinach – 1 bunch
Chick pea flour / kadalai maavu – 1 cup (heaped)
Corn flour – 1/2 cup
Onion – 1/2 cup
Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
Green chilies – 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds / Sombu – 1 tsp
Cooking Soda – 1 pinch (optional)
Chaat masala powder – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt – to taste
Oil – to deep fry
Pick, clean, wash the greens / keerai well. Chop them finely. The onions and green chilies have to be finely chopped as well. Grate the ginger.
In a big bowl place the chopped greens, onions, green chilies, grated ginger. Sprinkle the chick pea flour and corn flour, cooking soda, if using and salt on top. Mix well with your hands. The flours would absorb the moisture if any and the mixture would look dry and crumbly.
Scoop a handful of water and sprinkle on top and mix well with your hands. The mixture would come together like a dough. Make small balls and arrange on a plate.
Heat oil in a big kadai / wok. When sufficiently hot drop the balls one after the other from the sides of the kadai into the hot oil. Cook over medium flame till the sizzling sound of the oil stops and the balls get cooked to golden brown. Drain on an absorbent paper.
Sprinkle chaat masala powder over the bondas and shake well to get coated. Serve hot with coconut chutney.
I used Arai keerai / Amaranth leaves to make this bonda. Siru keerai will also suit well.
While picking the greens make sure you use only the leaf and discard the stems.
You can also add finely chopped garlic pods along with ginger.
Sprinkling chaat masala in the end is optional. Skip it if you do not like it but tastes good on hot bondas.