Waiting for my bus after work one day, I took it upon myself to talk to the neighborhood Masala Pori vendor. Not only was my time well spent, I also got thinking about how Masala Pori is so iconic to Chennai.
Whether you are the beaches (Marina and Elliots), or you are waiting for a bus like me, or you are waiting for your mother to just-finish-selecting-her-saree-already! at a T Nagar silk showroom, this simple snack can be found everywhere.
Peanuts in any form is huge favorite in all parts of India and the tiny, inexpensive but packed with power (@ 567 Calories/100g) nuts is the go to snack on the streets. In Chennai, snacks like this go down easy as they are almost like a fresh salad in the tropic heat.
Chennai’s version of a peanut snack is tossing together boiled peanuts with puffed rice (pori) a choice of fresh herbs, vegetables and spices. The most disticnt flavour is that of chopped raw mango and the chilli powder hit in the end.
It is a textural delight with different kinds of crunch hitting you from all sides. The pori is crisp and then melts away lightly. The peanuts soft yet toothy at the same time, the freshness from carrots, onion sand tomatoes and coriander leaves and last but not the least the zingy raw mango that triggers salivation like none other.
The vendor I spoke to told me that customers often like to mix and match with components that go into the snack. A sprinkle more of chilli powder, No tomatoes please. Even with such simple unassuming and few ingredients , the combinations that you can create are numerous.
In addition to being light on the pocket, when you combine the nutritional aspect of snacking on something that is packed with energy, vitamins and no oil or fried elements at all; this local hero gets a medal.
So the next time you are feeling all hot and bothered or bored about town in Chennai, head to the nearest Masala Pori vendor (they can be found whithin 100 meters of wherever you are) and strike up a conversation and find your fix.
A regular cone of plain boiled peanut goes for 1o/- and one with the puffed rice and all the fixins is at 15/-
You will aslo get free local news, tips and tricks from the vendor. (My guy told me to get into a bus that I didn’t would take me home on a faster route!)