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Hot Off the Streets?

I'd torn this recipe from a magazine many years ago. The author claimed that "pyaali" made a perfect pair for the brun bread. She also said that this is the quintessential Bombay street food. Which is where I hit a snag. In the last many years in the city, I've never heard of pyaali - as a street food or otherwise. But as I read on, I became intrigued with this curry of dried white peas and the rainbow of accompainments it comes with. For this is how my torn magazine fragment describes the dish. You fill your bowl with the curry, then top with your pick from an assortment of toppings.


To make the curry, soak 1/2 cup dried white peas (called matar or vatana in Mumbai) overnight. Boil with 1/2 tsp each of salt and turmeric powder in plenty of water until soft. Around 10 minutes in the pressure cooker did it for me. Also boil two small potatoes and chop them in small pieces. Add one of the chopped potatoes to the peas and boil until they are blended with the peas and slightly mushy.

The Toppings:

1. Spiced Potatoes : Chop 3 cloves of garlic finely. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and saute garlic until it starts to brown. Add a tsp of chilli flakes, a hearty pinch of salt and the second chopped potato. Add some water and let cook until the gravy coats the potatoes.

2. A handful of tamarind soaked in water, then sieved to extract the juice.

3. Kokam pieces (5-6) soaked in water and ground to a thick paste

4. Coriander and mint leaves, chopped finely

5. A tsp each of coriander and cumin seeds, dry roasted and coarsely ground

6. Finely chopped onion

A fabulous blend of flavors, and made for a very filling dinner last night. I didn't even get around to eating any bread, this was so delicious by itself.

Comments

Ranjani said…
Sounds great! And I am all about a carb less dinner:)
Unknown said…
oohh wow looks very intresting and delicious yum
Bharti said…
That looks tangy, yummy and very chatpata!
Chutneytales said…
Haven't heard of pyaali..All the toppings are interesting :)
CurryLeaf said…
Very new recipe.Never ever heard of this.But I think the use of peas and potatoes makes it similar to ragda patties? I am not sure.But what ever it is hot in a bowl topped with all the topping you mentioned will surely make a filling dinner
Srivalli said…
well that sounds a perfect one to be on diet..:)))
Unknown said…
I need to buy some vatane just to make this! It looks so delicious.
I thought I knew of the streetfood in Bombay, but looks like I'm wrong!
The spiced potatoes looks like a something they serve here, for breakfast with pav, for breakfast in the smaller restaurants.
Well, I'll be in Bombay next month, so I'll check Pyaali out (if I can find it).
notyet100 said…
this sure looks hot,..lucky u,..
workhard said…
And that looks easy to make too..

Poetry
Summer Queen said…
I was so happy to find this recipe for pyaali. My cousins grew up relishing this street food in Bombay, but I never got to taste it. The reason you don't hear of it now I think is because it was the rage in 1940-late 1960's. My mother ate it when she worked for the British Air Force in Bombay, and my cousins ate it up until the early 1960's. I think then Pao Bhajee took over.
Summer Queen said…
Pyaali was a super popular street food in Bombay from around 1940 (when my mom ate it from Hanif in Byculla) to about the early 1960's. I think then Pao Bhajee became the new fave.
I am so happy to find this recipe as I never got to eat it but keep hearing rave reviews from family and friends who grew up in good old Bombay. Nothing beats Bombay's pao roti and brun bread.
Summer Queen said…
Pyaali was a super popular street food in Bombay from around 1940 (when my mom ate it from Hanif in Byculla) to about the early 1960's. I think then Pao Bhajee became the new fave.
I am so happy to find this recipe as I never got to eat it but keep hearing rave reviews from family and friends who grew up in good old Bombay. Nothing beats Bombay's pao roti and brun bread.
Anonymous said…
I used to eat this when I went to school at st. Mary''s at Mazagaon, can you still get this anywhere in Bombay ?
Anonymous said…
yup, I ate it at Byculla, opposite my school St Agnes. It was available as street food at least till 1983. We used to have pyaali and hot potatoes and wash down the spice with an ice cold Falsa. Thanks for bringing back old memories
Anonymous said…
yup, I ate it at Byculla, opposite my school St Agnes. It was available as street food at least till 1983. We used to have pyaali and hot potatoes and wash down the spice with an ice cold Falsa. Thanks for bringing back old memories
Anonymous said…
I have eaten it as late as in 1998 opp the Jama Masjid on Mohammad Ali Road. The one's outside St Agnes and St Mary's were good but not as nice and fresh on Mohammad Ali Road. You could try a couple of places from my good old days [1970's and 1980's]... which may now be five star priced. Near Kemp and Co, at Nagpada; Outside Jama Masjid on Mohammad Ali Road or Outside Bandra Station near the Mosque.

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