Sunday, March 11, 2007
jhaal(hot) muri-the iconic snack food of bengal
just like bhel is to mumbai, so is jhaal muri to kolkata. i cannot imagine returning to mumbai from kolkata without having jhaal muri. it is 'de rigouer' in my office. as a snack in the evening when you need something sharp and spicy and tangy to keep you going for a couple of hours more.
jhaal muri is puffed rice mixed with sliced onions,cucumbers,tomatoes,and boiled potatoes,peanuts,green chillies and shaken up with mustard oil. and topped with sweetened tamarind chutney.(when you heat sand in a pot and then add grains of rice you get puffed rice).you will find muriwallas all over the city dishing out muri to their clients in paper cones. i have been having jhaal muri from childhood in my kolkata days and miss the daily dose in mumbai. bhel is a desirable option no doubt. it is not that i love bhel less but that i love jhaal muri more.
read jhumpa lahiri's first page in "the namesake" and you will get the recipe. "combining rice Krispies and Planters peanuts and chopped red onion in a bowl.add salt,lemon juice,thin slices of green chilli pepper and( wishing there were) mustard oil to pour into the mix". mira nair was amused when while watching the release of "the namesake" and the scene where pregnant, ashima who craves for jhaal muri is preparing it in her boston kitchen she overheard a gujerati senior citizen telling his wife "chevda banaave che".
you may be a mamma's boy but this is one area where you have to admit that the muriwallah beats her hands down.try as she might,mamma just cannot come up to the muriwala's magic. you will be licking your fingers and enjoying the savoury bites till you reach home.