The first time I ate a raj kachori was during my college days,at my friend Divya Goyal’s house and since then my taste buds yearn for this particular dish more than the many other chaat varieties which I have eaten right through my childhood.The kachoris made by her mother, mother Sudha aunty are so light and yet manage to stay crisp until the last bite.
Most exhibitions and carnivals in our city these days do include a chaat stall owing to it’s popularity. Over the past year one stall has been consistently putting up tasty and hygienically prepared food at whichever exhibition they have participated ,in Coimbatore. Called ‘the perfect plate’,this venture was started by Manju Shroff and her daughter-in-law Neha Shroff. I’ve known Manju aunty for many years but it’s only in the past year that I have gotten acquainted with her culinary skills.
When I spotted the raj kachori on her menu ,I had to give it a try. The flavours were spot on and since then I have always made it a point to stop by her stall ,whenever she has exhibited,to sample her home cooked delicacies.
Manju Shroff’s expertise lies in her traditional food.All the chutneys ,kachori and patties are made by her with a lot of importance given to quality. The fresh produce is procured every morning from the uzhavar sandhai and only limited quantities are cooked as against orders taken.Their helpers too have been trained in hygiene and they work with clean hands which is so much better than the disposable plastic slip ons. She is conscious about not generating plastic waste and diners will find her stall adequately stocked with bio degradable plates and cutlery. It’s nice to not see a mountain of plastic ware and instead have your food served in a dhonai (small cup made out of leaves) with palm fibre spoons !The spiced water for the pani puri is stored in mud pots which keep it at the perfect temperature ,unlike the biting cold of a refrigerator.
Once we were at an exhibition during lunchtime and looking to eat something wholesome.The methi thepla at ‘the perfect plate’ stall looked so appetising but I was a bit reluctant as I’m not generally a fan of the aloo subzi which was served alongside the thepla. However Neha convinced me to give it a try and I’m glad I did because it was light and delicious.
Whenever we stopped by their stall every serving of the pani puri and dahi puri tasted the same.The ingredients are dished out in correct proportions and not just thrown together mindlessly.As a result the sweet, the spicy and the sour come together perfectly and the senses demand several helpings before reaching the point of satiation.
It’s not just the homely attention to detail at Manju aunty’s stall but also her ever smiling countenance which attracts customers. Unbeknown to her I have watched her give extra helpings to children while their parents were waiting for their food. It’s obvious that her cooking skills are enhanced by her fondness to feed people with scrumptious food devoid of fancies. However busy the stall gets she does have time to exchange pleasantries and enjoys chatting about her food.
Manju Shroff encourages both her daughters in law to follow their interests.While Neha is more proficient in cooking the continental and Asian fair,her younger daughter-in-law Arthi takes care of the desserts and has a separate kitchen for her prep and baking.They manage to rotate their time in the kitchen depending on their individual chores and responsibilities.
Food cooked as part of their regular home menu can also be ordered in for a minimum of 2 people as long as they are informed the previous evening. Home enterprises like these cater to fulfilling foodie interests by providing a variety of dishes in a healthier avatar.It just goes to show what all a raj kachori exploration can reveal !
Manju Shroff :9344413006
e mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special orders for individual dishes is for a minimum of 4 people
Multi course catering is for a minimum of 15 people (Tandoor, Continental,Asian,Chaat,North Indian,Soups, Starters ,Desserts and seasonal ice creams)
Orders must be placed 24 hours in advance
Rajasthani thali orders are also available