Aur bol.

Aaj ke recipe ke saath I am going to share a soppy love story. A love story that will (arguably) warm your heart and (definitely) tickle your belly. It’s about the day I decided to spice my dull life up with – what else, Chaat Masala. Or Panipuri Masala, if you prefer. Or even Jaljeera powder. Personally, I am partial to the last one.

Jaljeera/Chaat Masala does to a veggie what streaks of hair colour do to person – adds immediate zing. Add it to almost any dry north Indian sabji/veggie – and be ready for the blast of tanginess in the sabji you make. Since I discovered it, I have using it copiously in almost all of my cooking – be it sabji, daal, non-veg, or stuffed parathas. Jaljeera powder/ Chaat masala/ Panipuri masala is ubiquitous in my kitchen.

And you seemed to have developed a taste for it early on in life too. One incident I remember distinctly is when as a 2-year old, you were pestering me while I was cooking. I got annoyed and put a pinch of jaljeera powder in your mouth to try and keep you away from the kitchen. For the next 15 minutes, there were high pitched wails of “Mirchie! Mirchiiiiie!!!”, alternating with equally high pitched wails of “Aur de do! Aur de doooo!!!!!!”

All this build up was to stress the importance of this spice in this dish, it is the star of this dish, really.

Arbian Nights

(Chatpata Arbi)

(Serves 4)

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  • 1/2 kg arbi
    (The net informs me it’s called ‘colocasia roots’ in English, but I have my doubts about the English nomenclature of this veggie)
  • 3 tsp jaljeera pdr/chaat masala
  • 1 tbsp dhaniya/coriander pdr
  • 1/2 tsp red chili pdr
  • 1/2 tsp roasted jeer pdr
    (It’s ok if you don’t have this)
  • 1 tsp amchur/mango pdr
    (If you don’t have this, you can add a little more chaat masala, and squeeze a bit of lemon at the end after removing from fire)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying 9about 2 tbsp)
  • Optional – a bit of kala namak

Wash the arbi well (it has truckloads of yucky mucky stuff on it) and boil it inside a pan in the pressure cooker. It should be cooked to a point it is very slightly gooey, but not overly gooey. If it is cooked but too taut, the masala will not merge with the gooey parts of the veggie well and the end result will be unsatisfactory.

Cool the boiled arbi and then peel them. (You can apply a bit of oil on your fingers while peeling if you don’t like the gooeyness.) Chop the arbis into 1/2 inch sized discs. Discard any bits that look brown/discoloured. Now coat the arbi with the dry masala and salt and keep aside for 30 min.

Heat the oil in a non stick pan/wok and toss in the coated arbis. Fry till the dry masala and the gooey bits merge and form a nice crunchy crust coating the arbis. Check when partially done to see if the masalas are enough, add more of the magic spice if not spicy enough.

Tastes superb with roti or parathas.

As always, garnish with loads of dhaniya leaves…