The spice route

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You know I loathe sweets, which is why I’m not into cupcakes and macaroons and everything that basically tastes sugar. I mean, I eat them all, but I prefer a bite-sized portion only. Spicy food pleases my soul. I eat the pickle in my plate, as if it’s a vegetable. I can barely shove a bland curry in my throat; spice plays a big role in my world.

So two years back, when I travelled to Nathdwara, I also went to Udaipur. And on the way, I planned to stop at a temple called Eklingji. So as soon as the driver parked his car and we started walking towards the temple, my eyes began to see all the food sellers on the one side of the road. Usually, I can’t really have any given highway food available on the road. But, you see, I had done my homework. I had asked a neighbour aunt of mine, who suggested me to have Mirchi Vada sold near the Eklingji temple. Hence, I followed her advice.

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Once I and my husband were done visiting the temple, we returned to the one spot that looked appealing to me. There was a lady, who was busy preparing the batter and without us saying anything, she started preparing two cups of masala tea for us. The Mirchi Vada made by this plump lady was something I didn’t taste before. She served the piping hot vadas with tea, which is an idle combination! The vadas were soft, crumbly and tangy, and I kept eating it. I might look thin, but I can take spicy food as long as I like. As usual, my husband ate a few bits and parted ways with me, because, I need to have the entire spicy platter myself! Here’s the recipe the humble lady shared with me.

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Mirchi Vada

Ingredients:

  1. 8 bhawnagari green chillies or any of those fat green chillies that aren’t hot in taste
  2.  2-3 potatoes
  3. 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  4. 1 cup gram flour
  5. 2 teaspoon mango powder  
  6. 1 teaspoon asafoetida
  7. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. chopped coriander leaves
  9. 1/2 teaspoon red chilly powder
  10. 1 finely chopped green chilly
  11. 2 pinch baking soda or meetha soda
  12. juice of a lemon
  13. salt to taste
  14. oil for frying

Method:

  1. Boil the potatoes and mash them properly.
  2. In a pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil.
  3. Add asafoetida, mustard seeds and turmeric powder.
  4. After a few seconds, add the mashed potatoes to it. Add salt and let it cook for sometime. Once you switch the flame, add the mango powder and mix it well. And garnish it with chopped coriander leaves. To make your mixture stand out, you must add lots of mango powder or even juice of a lemon and a good amount of turmeric powder to give it a good, yellow colour and a tangy flavour.
  5. Cut the green chillies from the middle and cautiously remove the seeds.
  6. Fill the cooled down potato mixture in each chilly.
  7. In a kadhai, heat 2 cups of oil, for deep-frying.
  8. Let the oil get heated up on slow flame. Meanwhile, in a bowl, add the gram flour, salt, red chilly powder, salt, meetha soda and chopped green chilly. Make sure it’s a thick batter. You aren’t making chillas but vadas. That’s the key here. So, start by putting 1/2 cup water and mix it until you clear off all the lumps.
  9. Once the batter has achieved thick consistency, add the filled green chilly in it; one by one. Fry them on medium flame, till they become crisp and golden in colour.
  10. Ditch the sauce and green chutney. Rather, eat your crunchy-from-outside and soft-from-inside vadas with hot masala tea.

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