A taste of Rajasthani flavour

By TheHindu on 07 Mar 2017 | read

The trademark Rajasthani touch in the delectable array of snacks has become the hot favourite of the local crowd

From the taste of the land of arid landscapes to the land of idlis and dosas - Harilal Dangi and his group of helpers have assimilated the flavours of each region to bring out a mouth-watering array of fast food dishes within his small enterprise. With a perfect location overlooking the sea, the makeshift chaat stall of Harilal has become the favourite hangout place for visitors to the beach. From special pav-bhaji to a variety of delicious snacks, his Kailash pav-bhaji centre on the beach road, that is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., offers a unique and delicious experience that lingers on for quite sometime.Leaving behind his land and a host of relatives in Rajasthan, Harilal has made Vizag his home for the past 13 years. He was only 15 years old when he moved to Akola in Maharashtra to eke out a living. In the beginning he did not know a bit about making chaat and snacks. "I gradually learnt many traditional Maharashtrian dishes and snacks from my owner in Akola and tried to bring variations in the tastes of familiar snacks like pav-bhaji after I started my own stall," he says. Vizag needs no excuse to venture into new tastes. People here are willing to discover new cuisines and even allow it to grow on them. Probably, the smart Harilal sensed this and moved down to the city to set up his own small enterprise. Ask him about the migrant population, and he says that the Rajasthani population in the city is perhaps much larger than his estimate, going by the spread of the city.Harilal and his group receive orders for marriage parties, mostly from the Rajasthani group in the city and prepare delicacies in their traditional style. The land of sands and deserts has plenty to offer from Jodhpuri gatta, dhal bati, choorma and ker saangri to mirchi ke tapore (diced chillies in gravy) and pav bhaji with a taste of the traditional Rajasthani spices. The flavour that is sure to linger on for a while is that of the famous dhal bati. This is a delicacy where tiny balls made of wheat flour are stuffed with cooked vegetables and then baked. You have to break the balls into half, pour the moong dhal over them and bite into the crisp batis. The chaats leave you longing for more, particularly the delicious papdi chaat with mild Rajasthani masala and lots of thick curd, just right to beat the summer heat.So how was it for Harilal at the beginning in an alien culture and an alien language? "Language used to be a problem initially," he recalls. Many times, he would have to struggle to understand what his customers want, sometimes even goofed up by making the wrong orders! "I have picked up a smattering of the language. The people here are friendly and understanding. Though I was a North Indian, I didn't find it difficult to finally settle down here in the city," he adds. He has won many a heart with his friendly nature and his trademark Rajasthani touch in the delectable array of snacks. With his wife, Parvathy, and a group of five helpers from his village in Rajasthan, the centre is a favourite joint of not only North Indians and but many local families too. NIVEDITA GANGULY