Rajpal’s street snack shop in Adayar
India has great street food. But not everything’s good. At times you need to search hard. And most of the time, you’ll find it hidden away in nooks ‘n corners. I eat a fair bit of street food. Most of it’s very average. But once in a while I find these sparks-o-brilliance. I’d gone to 50 year old Cornet hotel in Adayar Chennai to check out their kutthu parotta. It was decent stuff, but not exceptional. I was walking down the street looking for filter coffee. I do a lot of general timepass. And this was one of those moments. I chanced upon this street corner shop selling fried snacks. This was around afternoon. And there wasn’t a large crowd or anything. But still the look of this stall drew me there. The stall had bhajji (the South Indian version of pakoras). Samosa-cutlet. And this unusual looking folded sorta sweet. On enquiring, I was told that this’s Thengai or coconut poli. Hmmm! Poli’s a very Maharashtrian word. I wondered what was it doing in a local street shop in Chennai.
The Thengai or coconut poli at Rajpal’s street shop looked very inviting. It was smallish in size. Folded in half. With a stuffing that was delicious. So I asked Rajpal on how does he makes coconut poli. The process, as he explained to me. Is simple. The dough for the outer covering’s made from maida flour ’n ghee. The stuffing has jaggery, grated coconut ‘n cardamom. The dough is made into small balls ‘n rolled out in a round shape. The stuffing’s put in the centre. Then folded in half. And cooked on both sides on a hot plate. Rajpal’s poli was soft, moist ‘n delicious. I’ve had many versions of the gulachi poli, holige, obbatu, etc. But mostly inside South Indian/Maharashtrian homes. I was amazed to see this sorta quality been put out at a street shop. I’ve seen some of the bigger sweet shops make quite a hash out of this sweet. But certainly not our dear Rajpal. Though his shop’s tucked away in a corner ‘n not very visible. He has quite a loyal following. After all, he ‘n before him, his dad. Have been consistently putting out brilliant stuff since 1977.
Rajpal also does very good fried stuff like samosa, bhajji, jhangri, cutlets ‘n super quality namkeen. But it’s the coconut poli that I’d go back to his shop for again ‘n again. I fell in love with it
Video explaining how’s coconut poli made
Details of Rajpal’s shop
Address – Next to Adayar bakery, Sardar Patel road, Adayar, Chennai
Timing – 10 am to 6 pm.
Pricing – The coconut poli’s priced at Rs.20 per piece.
Location of this coconut poli shop on Google maps
View Rajpal’s street snack stall in a larger map
About Chowder Singh’s Chennai street food guide
This guide has references to Chowder Singh’s favourite street ‘n local food in Chennai ‘n offbeat eating places. Along with original photos ‘n location on Google maps. Kindly note that Chowder Singh pays for all his meals. There are no listings against freebies or payment. And absolutely no going around looking for free jigarthanda. If you’ve had the coconut poli at Rajpal’s street snack shop or anywhere else in Chennai. Please do share your experiences. Either in the comments section below. Or in the Chowder Singh facebook group.
Here’s the link https://www.facebook.com/groups/chowdersingh/
Also, please remember that the pricing of dishes that I’ve mentioned, are when I’ve visited. They might change over a period of time. I’ve still included these as a general guideline. And, please do remember that I write mostly about street food. I try ‘n write only about those places, which not only serve good food, but seem to maintain good hygiene practices. I suggest, for safety’s sake, it’s always better to eat at a street food place which’s busy. Also, neat ‘n clean. If they’re making an effort to keep the place clean, you can be reasonably sure that they’re also making an effort to serve hygienic food. But I’d say always go by your own instinct. And if you’re not sure, but still like to try, then have only the cooked stuff that’s still warm. Safer that way.
Happy hunting the coconut poli ‘n chow-chow!