Lanky, unkempt hair and maybe in his early thirties.
He was wearing an uniform belonging to a security guard agency .... must still be on duty. Or just leaving.
He gave me a look that plainly disapproved of my presence. I looked away.
He waited, restlessness speaking out. Shifted from one leg to another, drummed his fingers on the counter top, looked all over the store, looked back outside.
I wondered at his nervousness.
Just then the salesman came up and handed me my paper pouch of medicines and the bill too.
Looking up at the man, he asked "Haan, kya chahiye?"
Counting out the money, I saw from the corner of my eye that he was still fidgeting.
The hesitation in replying struck me.
The salesman nodded his head in askance again. This time the guy said ... "Do na. Wahi."
Oh god! I thought ... waiting for that cringe moment.
And prayed that the salesman at least has the sense to wait for me to leave.
He promptly reaches out and brings down something and plonks it on the counter.
I slammed down the notes and the change and was about to rush out when my eyes caught the small box on the counter top.
It was a Fair and Handsome cream for men!!
Chorchori or the Ranga Alur Pantua.
I had brought along a big bagful of wadis from our trip to Amritsar. Huge in size, spicy, they are a delight to add to any dish .... especially light flavoured ones.
They are so packed with punch ... the flavours of whole dhania, saunf, red chilli,etc. are so evident that the Bengali me often just fries them lightly and enjoys them on the side of some plain rice and dal.
I have made Aloo mungaudi ki sabzi with them. And have also added them crushed and fried to my very favourite Aloo bhate.
But last night, I wanted to make a quick sabzi to go with some light moong ki dal and rotis.
Was thinking in the lines of the Aloo mung wadi ki sabzi when some sweet potatoes or Shakarkand caught my eye.
Fresh, red and of good size ... I had bought them with the hope of roasting them for a snack; which obviously I did not.
Picked up two medium sized ones and knew what I would be making for dinner.
The sweetness of the Shakarkand was the perfect complement to the robust spiciness of the Punjabi wadis.
And thus came out a beautifully, spicy side dish that went great with thick, hot rotis ... a perfect winter dinner.
I added some onions after much deliberation ... and was glad I did.
The wadis are very hard and tend to soak up a lot of water. I wanted my sabzi to be soft and slightly mushy kind.
Hence the onions helped to retain moisture.
You can call this a Aloo Borir tarkari too. :-)
Wadis / Dry Lentil dumplings -
( if you do not have Punjabi vadis, you can use the regular ones, home made or oven made or store bought )
Sweet potatoes / Shakarkand - cut into cubes
Onion - chopped
Jeera / Cumin seeds - ½ tsp
Hing / Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Haldi / Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Red chilli powder - ½ tsp
Amchur powder - 1 tsp
Dhania / Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
Cooking oil - 3 tbsp
How to :
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a kadahi.
Fry the vadis / wadis / boris lightly.
If they are big sized, then crush them a little.
Remove and keep aside.
Add 1 tbsp more oil to the kadahi.
Add the jeera + hing.
Add the onions and fry till translucent.
Now add the cubed sweet potatoes + salt.
Fry well on high heat.
Lower heat, add haldi powder + red chilli powder.
Raise heat and add water to cook the potatoes.
Cover and cook till the potatoes are done.
Remove cover, add the wadis + dhania powder + amchur powder.
Add a little more water.
Cover and cook till the wadis are soft and the whole thing turns dryish.
Goes great with hot rotis or parathas.
It was a dear friend and a wonderful person Aparna who had suggested that I do buy these vadis when in Amritsar. And I am so happy I listened to her. Got three big sized packs of different kinds of vadis, ignoring B's skeptical looks.
Thanks Aparna! I owe you one for this.