Monday, October 8, 2007

Ragda Pattice


For students in Pune, especially those that have passed their SSC, the ones that are in the final year of their degree courses and everyone in between, hanging around spending entire evenings doing nothing is a big part of life. My immediate circle of 40 odd vagabonds such as myself had chosen a particular corner of town when we were 16 where we would waste a major part of the next 12 years of our lives. It was a small “paanwala”. For those unfamiliar with the concept of a paanwala, it is a shack, which sells beetle leaves and loose cigarettes. , a staple for said age group. Our Paan Tapri stood proudly next to a run down hotel, Village Corner. Village Corner had changed hands faster than coalition governments in Delhi till it finally shut down one day. The little cigarette shop however stands proudly to this day as the hotel that would’ve given it business stands in a state of utter disrepair. We would park our respective two wheelers next to the Paan shop and blowing hot air that amounted to very little, leering at young women making them extremely uncomfortable — every evening without fail. Down the road from us where Lakaki Road met Ganeshkhind Road, there was a Pani Puri cart. Complete with a kerosene lantern, wheels sunk six inches into the ground and an unsupervised, bottomless baby just hanging out in the mud for good measure. For some reason this dude had really, really good Ragda Pattice. Warm yellow ragdas that had been dehydrated from sitting on the tava for hours, slightly off colour yoghurt and unsolicited advice from the vendor. Somehow, it all came together quite well. I have been to the best hotels and chaat houses in and around Pune city, but for some reason, the chaat never tastes as good as it does on the street. Is it the flies, the questionable water supply or the chipped plates that at one point used to be white? As long as you don’t think too much about it and train yourself to have a cast iron stomach, you’ll enjoy the best chat you’ll ever eat… on the streets. All for next to nothing.

Ingredients

For Ragdas:
2 boiled potatoes
¼ tsp Salt

For Chana
1 cup Chana soaked overnight
1 Onion chopped fine
1 Tomato finely chopped
½ tsp Chili Powder
½ tsp Turmeric powder
½ tsp Cumin powder
½ tsp Coriander Seed powder
¼ cup chopped Coriander
½ cup Oil
½ tsp salt.

For Tamarind Date chutney
¼ cup Tamarind paste
¼ cup Date paste
1 tsp Jaggery or Sugar
Pinch of Salt

For topping
1 Tomato chopped
1 Onion finely chopped
½ cup Coriander finely chopped
1 cup whipped Yoghurt
1 cup Sev

Method

Ragdas:
Mash the potatoes and mix the salt.
Pat into small patties and bake on an oiled skillet till both sides are brown.

Chana
Heat oil and add onion till edges are slightly brown.
Add tomatoes and mash till it becomes a homogenous sauce.
Add chili, tumeric, cumin and coriander and allow to cook.
Add Chana and salt.
Add a cup of water and cook till water is reduced completely leaving a thick sauce.

Tamarind Date Chutney:
In a small pot heat 1/4 cup water
Add tamarind paste, date paste and jaggery
Let it cook for five minutes. And then allow to cool.

Place 4 patties in a plate
Top each patty with a spoonful of chana
Add small amounts of chopped onion and tomato on top
Drizzle tamarind date chutney and then yoghurt over it
Sprinkle with sev and garnish with coriander