The Street Food Project: Poori Bhaji

This is the first entry in the new section that I am starting on my blog called: The Street Food Project (TSFP) {You can find the video archives under “The Street Food Project” tab on the main menu bar, right next to “Recipe Index”}.  In this series I will cover various street foods and document them via videos and some stills. These are going to be time lapse photography videos (a new skill that I am still learning) and I will try to cover as much of the process of  making food as I can. You see, its a bit challenging to shoot videos of something that is made so quickly – on an average the street food vendor takes between 3 to 4 minutes to whip up a food item and with a lot of speed (obviously)….a very short period of time to try to follow his hands constantly and record the whole process. But its a lot of fun trying to document these preparation – it is such an amazing display of various styles of preparing food. 

I won’t cover the recipe for the posts under TSFP because the concept behind it is to document the process of making various street food and bring to you the various food cultures from different parts of the country. But if you are interested in knowing the recipes to these food items, then do let me know – I would be happy to post links from other sources. Lets keep this space interactive, all your feedback and comments are very valuable to me – it helps me improve….so keep  ’em coming!

In this post I have covered one of the most favorite breakfast of India – Poori Bhaji 

Poori is a deep fried flatbread that’s made of wheat flour seasoned with salt and carom seeds.  A typical serving of Poori Bhaji includes 2 to 3 hot pooris with some potato stew or bhaji. The potato stew is fairly simple in preparation in the south of India and has a slightly runny consistency….so that its easy to scoop with a bite of poori. The stew has mild flavors from curry leaves, garlic, mustard seeds and sometimes even fennel seeds. The vendor serves the dish in a banana leaf or a plate lined with a piece of plastic (for easy clean-up). You stand around the vendor and savor your fresh plate of Poori Bhaji while observing him make more pooris in a lightening speed.

This particular vendor also makes idlis (rice pancakes) vada (deep fried, donut shaped fritter like snack) and various chutneys – spicy & mild. Its a small shop with around 4 to 5 people working frantically on different tasks during the breakfast hours. Its my husband’s favorite spot for breakfast. The vendor starts his day around 7 AM and is packed by 8:30 with people surrounding his shop waiting for their order. A lot of people also order his food for take out in large quantities – so one person in the shop is always putting the parcels together. Its quiet entertaining to watch him wrap the pooris in a sheet of newspaper lined with thin plastic (quiet hygienic) and with a lot of speed wrap a thread thinner than a kitchen twine around it a few times. The bhaji is wrapped separately in a small bag, again secured by the multiple loops of the thread. All put together in just a few minutes! So when I go there to eat breakfast sometimes – I don’t talk at all, I just eat in silence watching all this happen around me hypnotized.

So if you are planning on visiting Pondicherry or India in the near future, keep a look out for the Poori Bhaji vendor. In the meantime enjoy the video and get a feel of the street food culture.

Poori 01

Poori 02

Poori Bhaji

Poori 04

Poori Bhaji