Late afternoon – a few jingle of the Ghungroo/Ghungur ( Images of Ghungroo) & a holler ” Garam Chanachur” (Hot Spicy Mix) ,would draw all the kids in the neighborhood out of their front door to the iron grilled entrance gates of their houses, the little ones clamoring & climbing over the horizontal bars of the gates for a better view.
It was the “Mix-wala” (the person who makes mixes..). He had all that he needed hung in a neatly sectioned container around his neck with a broad wide belt ( never wondered then if it hurt him to carry all that weight around his neck) & he would have the Ghungroo tied on one his wrists. It would be our school vacation time, & all the kids would wait for him after the very forceful afternoon naps, for he made the most lip smacking mixes; he had 2 kinds, one of the fresh soaked brown chickpeas mixed with spices, green mangoes, onions & lemons & the other would be a not so healthy Chanachur Mix with similar spices. The Chanachur mix would be served slightly warm, I have no idea how he managed to keep it warm but he did! – therefore the Garam Chanachur.
How he made them was easy but spectacular, & all of us would wait not only for the treat but also to see & hear him do it. He would mix all the ingredients approximately (at least it appeared that way, but the taste never varied, so he must have had the magic going on) in a steel canister. The canister would then be covered, he would would shake it with a tap of his feet & beat on the lid with the hand that had the Ghungroo, making the most amazing music;-) It was a vision of art! After a few shakes, he would rest his container in the tiny space he had on his box, pull out square piece of newspapers, twisted the paper to make a cone, & pour out the treats in these recyclable packs – all of them in the exactly same looking mounds. We would then pay him one by one with the coins which we held in our sweaty palms & take the cones with shiny eyes & the sensations tickling the tongue. Quite a treat.
This is not a fancy recipe as you can see, rather a no recipe at all. It is charm from the past which I wanted to re- live & share today. However when I do eat it esp. in the newspaper cones, it is some unexplainable satisfaction. Musings of some memories just have to make one smile.
I will give approximate amounts here for the recipe; change the spice amounts to taste.
(Note: If you do not like the chickpeas raw, cook them till soft to bite. I usually pressure cook them if I need to)
- 1 Cup Dry Brown Chickpeas/Chola/Bengal Grams/Kala Chana (Different names but the same thing) – Use regular boiled chickpeas if you would like.
- 1/4 Onion, Peeled & cut into tiny pieces
- 1/4 Cup of Raw Green Mango, Peeled & cut into tiny pieces
- Green Hot Peppers, sliced very thin
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro/Coriander Chopped fine
- Black Salt/Kala Namak ( Use regular salt if this is not available)
- Lemon Juice
- Red Chilli Powder
Soak the Brown Chickpeas overnight. Drain & dry them with a paper/kitchen towel.
Combine the onions, mango, cilantro, pepper, salt, chilli powder & lemon juice with the brown chickpea in a container preferably with a lid/cover. Cover it & give it a big shake, shake, shake.
Ahhhh! Childhood Relived! Besides it is a great healthy snack – no oil, no cooking, just a delicious munchie…
I just found out from my cousin sister who recently came from India, that this man is still making his rounds around the neighborhood, entertaining probably the next generation of kids now, just like he did before! Next time I visit I want to meet him & have this delightful savor straight from his container.