This is one nostalgic and very special write up for me as it’s about street food of Kolkata and is quintessentially Bengali. My love for the city I was born in has increased over the past decade considerably enough as I stay away and miss all the vibe, festivities, warmth, adda, Book Fair and of course the food that the city is about. My vehement desire for the incredible ‘biryani’, ‘champ’, chinese, ‘fuchka’, ‘jhalmuri’, rolls, ‘chop’(croquettes), cutlet, ‘kochuri’, ‘fulkopir singara’(cauliflower samosa), ‘sandesh’, ‘roshogolla’, and so much more…(the list is endless), finds an escape through my writing. That’s all I have, I pen down my love for the city whenever I get time and recreate the Kolkata delicacies in my kitchen which gives some solace whatsoever now and then.
The days of 80s when the mall-culture didn't reign over the kids unlike today, I fondly recall when every Saturday or Sunday I along with baba and maa used to go to the Maidan (ground), Victoria Memorial or Outram Ghat, to have an evening stroll or morning walk, sat on the grass or on the cement-benches, gazed mesmerized at the black fairy on the dome of the Victoria Memorial or at the mammoth Tata Centre or at the sunset on the Hooghly river, had ‘fuchka’, ‘jhalmuri’, ‘chotpoti’, ‘chhola pesha’, ‘alukabli’ etc etc and got overwhelmed by the terrific buzz all around. The call of the hawkers, honking of cars, the tinkling bells of the rickshawpullars, the loud laughters of children playing around, the rhythmic sound of the horse-hoof from the horse carriages with some fancy passengers and several other things injected so much life to the places that was difficult to find anywhere else. Those who were born and brought up in Kolkata during that time can connect with my writing and would understand what I’m talking about. Don’t know whether the city has changed over the years but that’s how I remember Kolkata, vivacious, warm, beautiful, simple and also so exciting.
|Jhaalmuri Of Kolkata|
Jhalmuri is one of my most favorite snack even today, I make it frequently in the evening with tea specially on those gloomy, rainy days when it is absolutely necessary to intoxicate the taste buds with a spicy but light treat. So simple, easy-on-your-stomach, low calorie food it is yet so delicious. No cooking is required, just mix all the ingredients well.
Here’s a look into my Jhalmuri recipe….
- Muri/murmura or puffed rice (take a big bowl full)
- 1 cucumber finely chopped
- 2 small onions finely chopped
- 3-4 green chillies finely chopped
- 1/3rd cup chopped coconut
- ½ a cup of fresh green peas
- ½ a cup of peanuts
- Some chopped fresh coriander leaves
- Ground masala of toasted cumin seeds and coriander seeds
- ½ tsp red chilli powder
- Chanachur/spicy namkeen or daalmoot
- Jhuribhaja or bhujia
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Bitnoon or kaali namak/black salt to taste
- 1-2 tsp raw mustard oil
In a tawa or skillet toast 2 tsp jeera/cumin seeds and 2 tsp dhania/coriander seeds. Turn off the flame when they start changing colour. Now grind them together into a fine powder. This is the muri masala. Add it while mixing the puffed rice with all other ingredients.
Mix all of the above ingredients together and serve with ‘kadak chai’ or strong
tea. Accompany it with any pakoras/fritters of your
choice. Consume immediately. Life can’t be better than this….