The memory of those days is still bright in my mind. Madurai, a beautiful evening with orange sky, birds chirping way back to their nests, chime bells from the temple echoing from a distance, and myself in the city center, shopping with my family - This is a very familiar evening for me while growing up. When I am already tired after some extensive walking on the crowded roads, the sight of these road-side eateries tickle my appetite tempting me to munch something immediately. The aroma of the roasted peanuts, fried milagai bajji (Chilli Pakoras), Masala vada, and the ghee smell emerging from hot halwas... hmm, simply sensational! I'm missing them as I write this. Along with these wonderful flavors, my temptation grows when I hear the sound of mincing the parottas on the cast-iron griddles with steel ladles. They do it with a rhythm that catches anyone's attention:) I enjoy both the music and the spicy non-veg flavor when I pass-by them.
Madurai thrives on street-food, and is famous for kothu parottas. They are served in a push-cart or a mini restaurant on the road-side called "Kai endhi bhavans" - the close translation is "a restaurant where you eat holding the plates in your hand". You can't expect padded-seats with glass tables or air-conditioned room here. You may find a couple of benches with some loud film music playing and the food comes served in a plate with banana-leaf on the top. The waiter mostly dressed up in a lungi will come and serve the hot and spicy tomato chutney, followed by coconut chutney and finally the main course of idlis, vadas or pongal. Those thick coconut chutneys are so delicious and the taste still loiters in my mouth.
My favorite time for a street-food used to be after a late night movie on our way home. I've had many dinners like that starting with Kothu parottas and Chalna, sometimes Mutton Chukka for the side and ending with a warm Masala milk! There's something so special in the taste that I can't seem to duplicate no matter what. I miss those good days, but I do make sure that I enjoy this thoroughly whenever I visit my hometown until now. We all sisters go together with our families and give it a blast everytime amidst lots of teasing, chatting, giggling etc. If I am given a choice of eating a Pizza/burger on a fast-food place hanging around with friends and chit-chatting OR to go to an upscale restaurant to have a few bites of fine cuisine in a dim light and a quiet ambiance, I would prefer the first one! I'm not telling that I hate fine cuisine, I love to try different cuisines and in fact, we've already finished exploring all kinds of cuisine in our neighborhood. But still the relaxed atmosphere, the sense of freedom and ofcourse the authentic home-made taste is the speciality and that's what attracts many people to street food.
I knew I can't stop writing about it :) Anyways.. When I first saw the title MBP:Street Food hosted by Sia, I couldn't control my excitement.. What an exhilarating theme! I knew I was going to participate for sure and decided on the recipe right away.. My favorite Kothu Parottas! You all may have come across this recipe online many times, but because this dish is so near and dear to my heart, I couldn't think of picking anything else.. I have seen many versions of this recipes as well, but the version posted at Kribha's (thanks Kribha!) site sounded very authentic and enticing. My dear sister recently made the same version at her home and sent me this mouth-watering picture... Sis, if you are reading this... thanks again!
- Parathas - 3 (I use the readymade layered parathas, also called kerala parathas)
- Eggs - 3
- Ginger - 1 inch
- Garlic - 2 medium pods
- G.Chillies - 1
- Onions - 1 medium
- Tomatoes - 2 medium
- Any Chicken/mutton masala - 2 tsp (you can substitute with chilli, corriander and cumin powders in equal ratio along with 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder)
- Fennel seeds powder - 1 tsp
- Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
- Chicken stock - 1/2 cup (Optional)
- Warm the parathas in microwave and shred them finely. I usually tear them in big pieces and give it a quick run in my food-processor. Comes out perfectly.
- Grind the ginger, garlic, fennel seeds powder and Black Pepper powder together and set aside.
- Heat oil in a large wide pan and fry the onions, g.chillies.
- When onions are fried, add the ground paste and fry for 2-3 mins in medium heat.
- Once you feel the nice aroma, add chopped tomatoes, Chicken masala powder and fry for a few mins. If you are using chicken stock, now is the time to add it.
- Before the paste becomes completely dry, add the eggs, a little salt and fry the mixture gently.
- When the eggs are half fried, add the shredded parathas, salt and fry until the eggs are cooked fully and the parathas are well mixed in the egg spice.
- Finally add a few corriander leaves and mix well.
Serve hot with Chicken/Mutton Chalna.