by Alfie-Team Mangalorean
Mangaluru: If you happen to travel in the maddening bustle of traffic near KPT circle, chances are that you may catch the strong aroma of Dry red Chillies - that's because huge piles of loose dry red chillies and also gunny bags of them are stacked up and for sale at the corner of KPT circle and adjacent to Kadri East police station. Street vendor Gurappa Bajanthri, his wife Shantava from Bagalkote are making brisk business by selling dry red chillies at a very affordable price, and people are flocking to avail the "Hot and Spicy deals".
There are two varieties of chillies- one cheaper kind sold at Rs 80 a kg, while the better quality is sold for Rs 100 a kg. These chillies sell for double the price at grocery or supermarkets. Since this is the ideal season for a few varieties of chillies to find their way into the market, and even many pickle jars, many people buy these chillies in large quantities when the prices are cheaper with street vendors.
The kind of dry chilli that Gurappa sells is Bedgi or Byadagi Menasu/Mirchi/Chilli which is grown extensively in the northern part of Karnataka, these chillies look very similar to Kashmiri Chillies, but are far spicier. They’re apparently named after the town of Byadagi in a district in Karnataka. They’re a crucial ingredient in cooking a variety of south Indian food, and are most often used in tadkas. This spicy chilli is what gives a lot of regional cuisine, including Konkan food, its unique flavour, spicy zing and red colour. Used in the powdered form in fish preparations, assorted gravies and sambhar, this chilli is popularly used by many South Indian communities.
Apart from dry chillies, Gurappa is also selling peeled tamarind for the price of Rs 80-100 a kg- and that too people are buying in a bulk, in order to avoid spending more on them at Supermarkets or grocery stores. Speaking to me, Gurappa said, " The business has been brisk, and the customers have been very nice since past two days. I want to sell all my stock as soon as possible, because I am worried about rains, and also about being chased away by cops for setting up my business on city property. God is my only protector and help- I have to feed my wife and two children, and other expenses. I thank all the people who bought the spices from me".
He also said that Byadagi chillies are primarily sold at the Byadagi chilli market, and that he buys them at auction prices. "This market attracts traders from all over Karnataka and from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh because of favourable conditions for business like fair price, immediate payment and accurate measurement of the chillis. The recent uprise of sales of low-priced, more-pungent chilli varieties into the market have cause a dent in the price of Byadagi chillies as well. Because of this, the farmers involved in its cultivation may not be able to make the required profits on their yield." he added.
So all you spice lovers, if you are looking for a cheap price on Dry Red Chillies and Tamarind, head on quickly to this spot near KPT/Kadri Police Station, where Gurappa will offer you the best prices on chillies and Tamarind. And if you are good at bargaining, I bet you will get a still better price. Best of luck. Got Red Dry chillies!