Onion pakoras and Adrak Chai – By Ajay wali
Sinful, aren’t they?
Just the thought of these two together can get the mind wandering…
But imagine something more…
Imagine sitting, on a rainy day, in the mountains, beside a deep valley, water trails running past the brown soil edge of the rainwashed roads, in a small tea shop with sunmica slated tiles overhead
Rain pouring outside, mist rising from the fogged out valley deep within a fantastic range of very tall, steep mountains, sheer cliffs, that rise till they pierce the dark rain-laden clouds overhead to meet the sky above.
A small trickle of rainwater seeping through the cracks in the roof, slipping past my shirt collar, onto my uncovered neck, running down, ticklishly, to the small of my back.
Warmth wafting off that mud stove , a kadhai with heated oil bubbling there, he puts in the ingredients, slivers of sliced onion, coated with basen, a tinge of masala, salt, spice, a sliced green chili, the oil fizzing, sizzling as they entered its embrace…
With a deft hand, he uses the sieve-ladle, picking out the contents, oil draining from it, checking it for the golden colour of a job done right, the fragrance filling the small shop then dipping the ladle with the contents back in, and out again, till they are ready, crisp, crunchy, darkish golden, the onion innards curling around with the basen crust wrapped around them, rich, sinful, gold, teasing the smell buds, hunger surging in an irresistible wave….
The freshness of tea, adrak added, rises with the steam emanating from the soot-covered utensil, boiling hot, poured into a small glass cup, holding it within your cupped palm, warming the hands cold from the pouring rain.
A sip, a crunch, a bite, a slurp, the goodness of these savored, the team so perfect, spice, fried, salty, tangy, crunchy, a warm feeling filters through your being…
That’s how one eats them, the crispy onion pakoras and adrak chai..
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