The Kottayam–Puthuppally road is a picturesque stretch – green paddy fields on either side and a gentle breeze that urges you to stop by for a break. A lot of people are stopping by these days, lured by the tea and snacks stalls that have come up on the roadside. Of course, the setting makes the tea and the piping hot mulaku bajji (chili dipped in besan and fried) all the more delectable.
The blue tarpaulin-roofed wayside shops spring to life around noon. The long stretch of stalls serving varieties of tea and snacks get busy in the evenings with cars and bikes pulling over for light eats. Among the shops, ‘Bhayya Bhayya Bajji Kada’ appears to be the crowd puller, both for its unusual name and the mouthwatering mulaku bajji.
The classic bajji recipe of maida-kadalamavu (besan)-chilly powder-salt is followed to a tee at Bhayya Bhayya, says shop owners Sulaiman and son Sachin. The secret to enjoying the best tasting bajjis is to have it hot, straight out of the kadai along with its standard dip of mulaku chutney. Get a milk/black tea to pair it with and there’s no saying how many plates you can devour.
The Bhayya Bhayya Bajji Kada was named thus after the Kunchakko Boban-Biju Menon starrer ‘Bhayya Bhayya’ was shot in the locale, says Sachin. The shop serves a variety of bajjis like egg bajji, vazhakka bajji, and potato bajji. There are also other tea time snacks like uzhunnu vada, parippu vada, pazhampori, sukhiyan etc although mulaku bajji is the favorite on the list of most visitors.
The snacks are served at Rs 7 per piece. Mulaku bajji is ready by 12 noon and will be available till late in the evening. The rule is to cook till the oil in the kadai runs out, says Sulaiman. They also undertake bulk orders for tea time snacks. The father-son duo takes pride in the fact that all the cooking is done in full view of the customers and therefore can be relished without doubts about hygiene and adulteration. Anyone who stops by for a tea and bajji once will find reasons to take the Kottayam-Puthuppally route every now and then; now that’s a spicy street.
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