If there are two things that Telugu’s all over the world will swoon over, they are, Mirapakaya/Chilli/Mirchi Bajji and Goli Soda or Lemon Soda. Now that the state has been divided, I need to be careful about the nomenclature, other wise I could just say Andhra, now I will stick with the language, the telugu speaking people.
Every telugu speaking person worth his/her salt will swear by this snack. It is a popular evening snack, tastier when packed from the road side stall. It should be greasy, wrapped in news paper and packing a punch. This bajji specifically is not meant for the star hotels. It should be eaten then and there, piping and spicy hot, ladled from the boiling oil.
Every lane, by lane and corner of any town or village will have this cart. Even with so many places offering the same, every one has one favorite that they swear by. The frequency with which this cart is visited, makes the vendor a family person. Once you start frequenting the place, the guy will remember you and you get extra hot ones, or you get a preference in the queue. Slowly the rapport builds and personal details are shared. It will start innocently with – “Madam/Sir, did not see you the whole of last week. Were you out of town”? You get the drift, slowly family secretes are revealed, in the hope that he reveals the secret of his Bajji.
For some reason the bajji’s do not taste the same at home. Maybe it is many times fried oil, or the specs of dust, or whatever, that enhances the taste. Since it is fried, the chances of any bacteria surviving are minimal. Then there is another variation called “cut mirchi”. It is cut into half, sliced and stuffed with onions and a sprinkling of lemon juice.
The best season to enjoy is right after a summer shower. The weather just cools, it is pleasant. The rains are not so heavy that one cannot step out. It is for this environment that the Mirchi bajji is perfect.
Eat the perfect bajji, then have the goli soda with lemon, or nimmakaya masala soda. It helps to cut the grease, and lift the heaviness from eating the never ending plates of bajji. Couple of decades back, we could get 10 pieces of Bajji and 1 soda all for the pricely sum of 2 rupees. Now the prices are high, the stomachs also cannot stand the onslaught of grease and gas. Even then to satisfy the tongue that still has the memories of the spicy, tangy, hot bajjis and the soda, we sometimes indulge in this tasty treat.
Small town’s in Andhra and Telangana still swear by this combination. In cities, the other fast foods are fast encroaching on this tasty retreat. Though our generation will swear by the oily bajji’s and soda over Fries and coke any day.