City Food – Julia Child Makes Moongphali Cheewra in Vasundhara
The great chef’s life in Delhi.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Meet the Julia Child of Vasundhara, a suburban neighbourhood beyond the borders of east Delhi. As a girl, Ms Child was a javelin throw star in her school. She also excelled in badminton. After marriage, she interested herself in living room card games and soon became a bridge champion in the local society. Growing more beautiful with years, Ms Child is cherished by friends for her cheeriness and penchant for witty repartees. She delights in surprising her two married daughters by making unannounced visits to them on their birthdays. Ms Child lives with her husband who makes tea for her every morning. And yes, Ms Child cooks. Here is the recipe of her ‘moongphali cheewra’:
My elder daughter was a boarding house student at St Mary’s Convent in Nainital. Each year on the last day of her winter vacations when she would be preparing to return to the school, I would make moongphali cheewra for her. I hoped that eating this cheewra mixture made by her mother would help her in overcoming homesickness. Now my daughter has her own daughter.
250gm poha (cheewra or puffed rice)
100gm peeled groundnuts (moongphalis)
Table salt to taste
Rock salt to taste
Red chilli powder to taste
Chaat masala to taste
Amchoor powder to taste
3 spoon vegetable oil
[This recipe will work for four people. It can be stored for months and eaten daily as a teatime snack.]
Take a page off the yesterday’s newspaper and spread it out on the kitchen slab. Pour oil into a karahi (wok) and heat on medium flame. A minute later, add groundnuts. Stir continuously. After two minutes remove the nuts into a bowl and keep it aside. Add poha in three separate portions into the karahi, stirring continuously till the grains start swelling. This must not take more than a minute. Remove the fried poha onto the newspaper sheet, which will soak the extra oil. Transfer the poha into a large bowl. Now empty the groundnuts bowl into it, add in the almonds, raisins, and spices. Mix thoroughly with a ladle. Moongphali cheewra is ready. Serve.
Cheewra, or poha, or puffed rice
Take them out
Frying the poha
Salt to taste
Is it all instinct?