The Hole in the Wall

about Kharagpur, West Bengal, India

The Menu 2Much of my life in IIT was spent at Chedis, which quite literally means hole but apparently refers to the owners name. In those days Chedis had lawn seating, a banyan tree and starlight dinners, was open 24x7 and served reliably greasy food. I was quite pleased, therefore, to see Chedis still around (though considerably hemmed in by the new IIT boundary wall), still open 24x7 and still as reliably greasy-spoon as before. Now it had actual printed menu and marble tabletops but luckily, still sells the regulars, prominently displayed right below the name, upstaged only by Top Ramen Curry (a brand unknown in our time).

Our life at Chedis revolved around a few things – Maggi, Special Chai, Bread Bhujiya and two unique offerings - Mohile Special and Tinku Special -available nowhere else in the world, not even elsewhere at IIT. Mohile was the nickname of a student credited with the invention of this concoction (he was Me and Mohilestill trying to graduate when I joined), while Tinku was a cook at Chedis who created a variant of Mohile and duly got his name into the history books. Both used to be specials, only to be ordered on occasion except by us bad boys (who ordered one every day) but I guess time and tide have relegated both to the status of the honoured but regular. Only a KGPite can discern the difference between a Mohile and Tinku, (and I’ve long since forgotten) but I did remember being a Mohile man, so that's what I tried on this visit, supervised kindly from a dark corner by the old man himself.

And that’s the reason its in a food blog. Mohile, greasy hamburger buns sandwiching two doublefry eggs and a unique masala, was as delicious to this now-jaded-with-sushi-and-foie-gras palate as it always was. In short, the Mohile is a genuine, 100%, alsi-desi gourmet creation. The bread adds crunch, the yolk oozes out in a most Chedidelicious fashion and that very unique masala gives it that very unique aroma.

Chedi used to be very cagey about what exactly that masala was (and we had no shortage of fanciful theories, some of which included cocaine) but age seems to have mellowed him. He was quite talkative this time, revealed readily it was some kind of standard masala from the market, though I admit I couldn’t quite make out what masala he was saying. I suspect that the deep dark secret is actually Everest Garam Masala (it certainly smells like that) – it struck me only later that I should have asked to see the packet. In any case, he let me have a handful of it to take home. I’ve been sprinkling it, on and off, on my breakfast eggs and thinking of Mohile-stuffed nights under the stars and the big banyan tree.

Making a Mohile is straightforward – hamburger buns toasted in fat on the griddle, two eggs, salt and masala fried first on one side then the other. The twist seems to be to let the masala fry a little, you can’t just sprinkle it on top and be done, oh no no. The frying of the masala is what gives off the killer smell that makes a Mohile a Mohile. Then, sit down with hot tea and munch away.

8 comments:

  1. nothing like memories of one's canteen... food, heartbreaks, anxiety attacks, ebulliance, nonchalance and true friends.

    For me it is Pramod da's at Presi

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  2. Chedi's had something called Neetu Singh's special...pretty similar to Mohile's special. Dhananjay Mohile was quite a character....wonder if he's set a google alert and will respond..

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  3. Thanks, I haven't thought about these culinary delights in years.

    I remember my first encounter with a Tinku special. I'd gone to Chedi's with my father when I first arrived at IIT. Chedibhai recognized dad (an RP-hall alum), and suggested I try the Tinku special.

    And yes, the Mohile inspires much nostalgia.

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  4. I remember once, Raju, the rickshaw-wala stopped by at Chedis for a chai, and I took off with his Rickshaw for a round around Scholars Ave. With two drunk people on the Rickshaw.

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  5. I remember Mohile (the man, not the sandwich) with mixed memories - my memories of the sandwich are unmixed. He was my senior and ragged freshers with sadistic gusto. However, he was revealed to be a large hearted larger-than-life bloke once the ragging period was passed.
    And so towards the tail end of ragging, I had the pleasure of eating a Mohile with Mohile.

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  6. Interest to read. Thanks For Update. Pls Update More newsPostcard Printing

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  7. Sankarson - Tinku was actually Mohile's pet name from home - not, as you say, the name of a cook at Chhedis.
    Trust me on this .. I spent 3 years in Lallu in close contact with DDM.
    The variant on the original Mohile special was concocted by the man himself.
    Unfortunately I have lost touch with him over the last 20+ years.

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  8. Good to know! Tinku's nomenclature was always a bit of a mystery...

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