In keeping with the monsoon and food theme, we can’t seem to keep our mind off the bhajjis these days. Random street corners have magical bhajjiwallas standing with their massive kadhais full of sizzling oil, frying batter coated vegetables of all hues and piling them up by the side. Mixed with the air pollution and vehicle emissions, the bhajjis own brand of tempting smells will catch you unawares and pull you in. Should you resist, you will be dreaming of them for days afterwards, their smell lingering in the air. And should you go looking for the man again in that particular spot, he would have mysteriously disappeared to the enchanted land of the bhajiwallas from whence the portals open to this world only for a short while on cool rainy evenings.
LL: The thing is that no matter how much you may try to replicate the same stuff at home, it just does not taste or smell the same.
PS: In fact you may use a better quality of ingredients but that little bit of enchantment will be missing.
LL: I love the potato bondas with their gingery, green chilly taste. But they are all wonderful, the big light green chillies, the masala vadaas and the baby udin vadaas.
PS: The only advantage of making them at home is that you can dip more exotic things in the besan batter, like mushrooms. But it is only a matter of time and the roadside guys will catch on to that and the babycorn as well.
LL: My mum makes one with cheese and little bits of chilly in curd mixed batter which is made of refined flour and not besan. It’s amazing.
PS: My favourite is the simple tomato pakora or the onion rings.
LL: In the food street at VV Puram, the cart guys fry the whole capsicum, cut it into half and stuff it with an onion, green chilly and coriander mix and sprinkle it with chilly powder and tamarind chutney. No one ever looks miserable around a bhajji stall.
PS: It’s probably the ultimate mood lifter. Very difficult to be depressed while stuffing yourself with bhajjis at a street stall which you have reached by jostling through the crowds, waited for your turn while elbowing others trying to jump to the front and then you set fire to your tongue.
LL: This conversation has made me feel hungry now. But it’s not evening and it isn’t raining right now so we are not likely find the bhajji man.
PS: For now, we can go and have aloo tikkis in Gangotree’s as a substitute.