Thursday, December 30, 2010

street food

In an earlier post I had dismissed all dehraduni street food as leaving a lot to be desired.  Because here one does not get what people south of the Vindhyas call 'chaat'. The light-as-air pani puri and the jewel-bright bhelpuri are reduced to sad shades of their real selves when they come here. Things like the wonderfully bilingual SPDP (sev dahi potato puri) and the dabeli are conspicous by their absence. But I was being a pompous ass with my Pune hangup.
You do get tasty, tangy, more-ish street foods in Dehradun. They just tend to be of the stick-to-the-ribs branch of the Chaat family. Street corners are packed in winter with sellers of ground nuts. In the evenings, the heap of roasted groundnuts is topped with a little pot filled with burning coal, the glowing embers serving to warm the groundnuts and the seller while enticing the customer. There's also aloo tikki, this being something I have very rarely. The oil has been re-used umpteen times which is a deterrent. And secondly, the fluorescent nature of the chutneys displayed in the stalls makes me ask for one 'plain' sans everything, which is missing the point of a tikki. So, no.

But then there are the roots. Kachalu (a giant colocasia tuber, or arbi on steroids) and sweet potatoes which have been either boiled or roasted, then chopped up and tossed with seasoning.
That's what the nice Chachaji is making for me in the photo and very tasty it was too..tangy, spicy, sweet-all that chaat is required to be. The 20 Rs. pricetag has frugal me thinking 'I can buy a  kilo of sweet potatoes with that cash!' but you know what? I doubt I'll be able to get that very same taste, and the pleasure of receiving a leaf-full of mouthwatering goodness is well worth the 20. Can you take mum there? why not? I do tend to steer clear of the chaat street near the clock tower- the proximity to an open drain rattles me and will rattle your mum too; a nice clean tree-shaded chowk will be just fine

1 comment:

ana @ i made it so said...

this photo captures my attention. food culture around the world is so interesting...what is eaten, how it's made, how it fits into the daily routine. now, i hope you'll excuse me...i have to google every third word you've written here because i'm not familiar with much of it at all! ;)