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Ethnic.City: Kusum Foods

posted on April 21, 2010 at 9:30 am

“Not today,” says the gruff older Indian woman behind the counter at Kusum Foods (2899 N. Decatur Road, Decatur, 404-296-3338). That’s the third time she’s said that after I’ve asked for a specific dish. I’m frustrated and a little embarrassed, so I try to joke about the lack of availability, but her stoicism doesn’t break. I finally select a few dishes with success and escape to my booth in the oddly bright blue room. The woman shouts that one of my orders is ready and I timidly approach the counter to whisk away my chaat, a style of street snack originating in India’s Gujarat state – the birthplace of Kusum’s cuisine. Gujarati cuisine is primarily vegetarian with an emphasis on seasonality.

Many of the chaat use similar ingredients such as chickpeas, potatoes, chutney, yogurt and onion. However, the dishes’ appeal is that they satisfy different textural cravings through different preparations. Bhel puri – a mound of puffed rice topped with mixed diced onions, potatoes, a spicy and sweet chutney, and crispy chickpea flour noodles – is at once sweet, savory, crunchy, tangy and earthy. It is best when eaten quickly since the chutney can make the rice soggy. Paani puri – one of the most well known styles of puri – arrives on a plate with a cup of sweet water.

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2 comments

  • Re: Ethnic.City: Kusum Foods
    posted by: T. · April 28, 2010  4:33 PM

    Hi Bliss,

    I slunk by Kusum yesterday with a stomach towards some mint-chutney-flavored munchies, but alas – they are now only a wholesaler!

    So I opted for Chopaati because they have never disappointed me. Aaaahhh, Sev Puri!

  • Re: Ethnic.City: Kusum Foods
    posted by: blissfulglutton · May 3, 2010  9:11 AM

    Strange. They were in business last time I was there. I’ll check it out.

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