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Savoury Pancakes,Street Snacks and Fritters..Mumbai Memories with My Grandfather

He was the only Grandfather I knew. My maternal grandfather. Unfortunately I did not have the good fortune of knowing my paternal grandfather which is a regret I have in my life , but knowing my maternal grandfather and spending a lot of time with him gave me that joy that I had missed... perhaps.

Like most children , we too got to spend time at our maternal grandparents' home during our summer break which we always looked forward to . They were my best times of the year. The pampering , the movies, the late nights, the unlimited policy of doing what you was as if one was let loose and could be anything and I turned into "me" during those days.

My Grandfather was always busy working and was always in the background when my grandmother was alive. She would do everything for us...I still remember her calm demenour, her eyes , her words and smile.

After she passed away , it was was as if the vaccuum of her being would never be filled. But much to our surprise , my grandfather filled that vaccum more than ever.He would take us to his office to spend time there, or to the beach , to dine at his club, or to the theatre. The amount of theatre I have watched with him I have never done with any one else.

When I was little I would dance at my grandfathers house with true was there that I truly could be myself and enjoy myself. Though the theatrics was done in front of my aunts , uncles and sister but I would wait till his eyes would close while he watched television. And I thank them from the bottom of my heart for that. I have learnt the true meaning of letting your children "be" and to let them find their own selves at my maternal grandparents home.

There was something magical about their home that maybe I was attracted to it ,that my first job was to be in Mumbai and my accommodation was just a few minutes walk from his home. I would visit him the days I could since my job had unearthly hours and he would treat me with delicious food and would see that I am getting my adequate nourishment.

He was the first one in my family to approve of my husband who then was called for a interview at his favourite haunt CCI! He thought he was a very good judge of character .....and later told me that he had liked him the moment he saw him. My husband too was very fond of him and when we spoke with him over the phone from Dubai , after settling down here, he would talk to him rather than me!

My second job too was in Mumbai and my accommodation again was a few minutes away , and it is here when I spent a lot of time with him.He was getting older and moved about much less but his zest for life was the same. We would watch Wimbledon or Cricket Matches till late at night, go out to dine at times, or our shopping haunts, or just spend afternoons at his lovely green verandah which he would love since it would remind him of my grandmother...I cannot forget those days and am thankful to him to give me a space in his heart.I would accompany him to his friends homes for lunch or to Rotary club meetings whenever I could.He was truly loved by his friends or the kind of respect he earned at the Rotary Club was remarkable.

He was highly disciplined as far as his eating habits were. He led a very disciplined and simple life,would take his daily walks at hanging gardens nearby , have his turmeric milk and ate frugally. Being a vegetarian but would eat egg except on tuesdays ...when we too were served Besan puras ...

He had a wonderful cook whose food I would devour when I would visit his home..He loved mushroom fritters, which I tasted at his home for the very first time .

My grandfather would never get angry with us , or even if he did he never showed it . I have'nt heard him raise his voice ever and nor did he show his dislike for anything other than for Mumbai Street food.

We would be dying to have the famous bhel puri from the street vendor just down our lane , but it was forbidden! So whenever we would show our interest in eating this fare, promptly he would take us to the Cricket club of India(CCI) to treat us to any street food we wanted!

But that was just him! Nothing was ever denied to us . He would always find a way to make us happy.

He held and still does a very very special place in my heart . He was my last link to the fabulous memories that are spun at maternal grandparents' homes and he kept it alive for me for so many many years for which I am grateful for. Very few children have the privilege of enjoying this home till very late in life.I still remember he would always tell me that he would live till 100 years and then just but not die! I would keep wondering what that meant...till now.

So today , as one year passes by without him , I prepare all the dishes, my way , that were only eaten at my maternal grandparents home ....Mushroom fritters, Bhel puri and Besan Pudas.


Besan Pudas or Savoury Gramflour Fritters


  • 1 cup gramflour,besan

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 tsp salt or to taste

  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped

  • ½ tomatoes , finely chopped

  • 1 tsp carom seeds.ajwain

  • 1 green chilli , finely chopped

  • 2 tsp dry fenugreek leaves, kasuri methi

  • Lots of chopped coriander

  • 4 tblsp oil for frying

To Prepare:

  1. Mix the gramflour or besan with all the above ingredients.

  2. Heat oil in a pan .

  3. Pour the mixture onto the center of the pan and spread it out making a circle.

  4. Lower the hear and let the edges brown.

  5. Flip it over and cook again.

  6. Serve hot with Mint green chutney

Bhel Puri or the famous Spicy Puffed Rice Mumbai Street Snack


2 cups puffed rice

1 large boiled potato

½ to ¾ cup of boiled green moong or sprouts(Optional to add a bit of health)

1 medium sized tomato, finely chopped

1 small sized onion , finely chopped

2 tblsp of sevaiyaan or fried vermicelli

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tblsp peanuts

3-4 tbsp of tamarind chutney

2 tbsp of green chutney (optional)

Lots of green coriander

Salt to taste

In Mumbai , they add raw mango called Kairi which is amazingly delicious.

To Prepare:

1. Mix all the ingredients one after the other excepting for the chutneys.

2. If you want to eat this as a dry snack you can do so.

3. Ad the chutneys in the end as per your requirement.

Note: You will get the puffed rice, sevaiyan and chutney at any Indian grocery store or Al Adil Store in Dubai .

Khumb ke Pakore or Mushroom fritters


1 cup Gramflour,besan

10-12 Mushrooms without stalk

1 cup water

2 tsp salt or to taste

1/2 onion, finely chopped(optional)

1 tsp carom seeds or ajwain

1 green chilli , finely chopped

2 tsp dry fenugreek leaves, kasuri methi

Lots of chopped coriander

4 tblsp oil for frying

To Prepare:

1. Clean and pat dry the Mushrooms after removing the stalk.

2. Make the batter by mixing in all the above ingredients.

3. Heat the oil in a kadai or wok .

4. Dip the Mushroms in the batter and fry untill golden brown.

5. Drain on a Kitchen towel and serve hot with Mint and Chilli Chutney.

Remembering you , Nanaji (maternal grandfather fondly called in India) Through the food I cook!

Miss you!

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