Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Kakori ki kasam. Bas meri khatir.

Who knew that an 8x8 shop on the pavement of a busy Lodhi road could churn out the best kakori kebabs in the city. Sab ki khatir, an inspired version of the very famous Aap ki khatir restaurant, is a must visit for all grubbers. A perfect drive in sort of place, where the guys are ready to serve you in the car as well. But trust me, get out and smell the aroma. Engulf in the charry goodness of the meat on the seekhs. Crack a conversation with the guy behind the burning coal and then just wait for him to serve u the most tender, succulent and literally melt in the mouth kakori. The first thing that hits u even before u realise its meat that u are consuming is the strong yet soothing flavors of the spices. A level of culinary excellence( speaks the chef within me).
I strongly beleive that there is just that one dish, one recipe that stands out at every grubbers point. And kakori it is for Sab ki Khatir.
Wipe down the guilt with a phirni. Its as good as the one you would find at Matia mahal, if not better.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Lakhan ki chai te Ravi di half fry...

Every locality has one such place for sure. We used to call it the paada culture in Calcutta where such adda's could be found everywhere.
A place where one could leave behind all the worries and holdrums of life and enjoy a cup of tea with mere strangers who would soon end up being your company for life.
And of no co incidence I was introduced to this place by a Bangali. So lets just call him Bangali from now on. Nestled in a corner in the HUDA sector 57 market is this Lakhan ki dukaan. All he has is a wooden bench for him to call his shop. Though it sure helps for a fast escape when the Huda officers create a rampage. Wat I really love of the so called ambience is the inverted wooden cupboard for ppl to sit on and the typical tea glasses that he has.
Well his tea is sure a hit for the number of ppl that he serves daily is mindboggling. Loaded with ginger, and cardamom, and super hot its a blessing in this season of the chill. Though a lil high on sugar for me it sure gives many a sugar rush. Something as simple as tea starts many a conversations here.
The grub here includes all the staple junk one could ask for. From every variety of maggi to anything and everything one could do with eggs. But on top of the list is the half fry. Fried in butter, nutralite mind you, sandwiched between two innocent slices of butter fried breads, are two peeking little yolks, bright as sunshine looking out of the clouds on a dreary day. Cooked so perfectly that it oozes out on your first bite only to make you lick your fingers as it trickles down. And don worry no one here is about to judge you. You know why??? Coz they all do the same. Thats the fun of an adda. The comfort of a place where your seats always booked, your tea is always like u want it, the grubs perfect, and no ones judging. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

fishy affair

gurgaon often known for it's mall culture everything over here being known for the sheen and not the content. it seems that it's all about how a place is packaged decides how successful it is. contrary to that we bumped in this small bengali food restaurant where sheen quotient is zero but every bite will make any bengali go nostalgic. if i have to rate it surely it's one of the TOP 3 Bengali Food Restaurants in NCR. City of Joy, Alaknanda takes the first place in my heart.
This new place is known as Lokenath Restaurant nothing glamorous about the decor or furnishing, just make yourself comfortable in basic set of chairs and table and ask for the menu which is nothing more than the take away flyer.
Make sure you order more than one dish not that the portions are less but it's worthwhile to overeat. We had enough of Pabda Jhaal (Pabda fish cooked in mustard gravy), Hilsa Fry (fried Hilsa fish), Kosha Mangsho (legendary mutton prepared in thick red gravy) and none of them made me regret the choice.

for those who are less carnivore in nature try their Aloo Dum and Loochi (preparation of potato in thick gravy served with poori's) and this an ex calcutta lady confirmed to be as good as they serve in calcutta. rest i don't have much idea about the veg dishes but they have enough of the traditional bengali vegetarian dishes too. Shookto, Aalo Posto etc...

So next time you wanna act fishy remember Lokenath.

Where: 1st floor, Honkong Bazaar, Sector-57, Gurgaon.
What : Authentic Bengali Food
How much :Rs.500 seems enough for two


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Before you say “G O A”

A monsoon in Goa.
people say it's not the best time to go.
not quite right. the place looks amazing when it's raining.
though not much happens on the beach but the pale sand looks awesome under the dark grey sky. the contrast is just too striking.
if you want to keep shifting from one shack to another your choices are less. but not less enough for you to miss The Great Goan Culinary Experience.
be it the Goan Sausages or Pork Vindaloo or Prawn Balchao all this and lot more is available come rain or shine. one will always fall short of time to experience the spread out there.
well i think i should have another couple of weeks in hand to pay due respect to Goan Food.
from shacks to 5stars every place the first bite into the food will make sure you are taken aback by surprise.
even the 5stars don't shy away from making dishes spicy enough to maintain the authenticity of the original recipe. on the other hand the roadside or rather beachside shacks will make sure they make a dish mild enough if the original recipe asks for.
in Goa food comes first for some it will be Booze comes first but that's ok. beach, Booze and Brilliant Food goes hand in hand in Goa.
over here you find a Wine Shop or an Eatery before you finish saying "G O A".

Crab Butter Garlic @ Fishka, Village Majorda,
Adao Waddo, Salcette, South Goa

the bar @ Charcoal Cheese, Fort Aguada, North Goa

Local Lady serving fresh Goan Pork Sausages with Goan bread on the street in Margaon, South Goa

Lobster in Peri-Peri Sauce @ Martin's Corner, Betalbatim, South Goa

Monday, June 6, 2011


at times you come across the most unexpected things as you walk along the lanes of purani dilli. as we were walking through ballimaran to visit mirza ghalib's haveli a bit before these stacks of sheermaal took us by surprise. stacks of sheermaal made out of dough kneaded with milk and butter.
it's not for everybody, one needs to have an appetite to bite into those rotis. a perfect combination would be a pot full of mutton qorma to go along with a couple of sheermaals. though i have never been able to finish more than one of those in a go.
next time in purani dilli try one of those, it's gonna be a rich treat. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011


There are times when u want nothing else but a Naan and a Dal makhani from that favourite restaurant of yours round the corner.... and there are times whenu're inan experimental mood and wanna have food that u've never tasted b4...

Well I was in the mood for the latter... checked around on the internet, called up my well informed loyal advisor for food and finally zeroed down on a place in the by lanes of Lajpat Nagar called Mazaar... Though there was a time that i thought that Lajpat Nagar was only synonymus to "Repair Nagar".

Parking my car at the first place i found we walked around to figure out this place. Most of the ppl knew about Kabul.. another restaurant that serves Afghani Food... But i was hell bent upon going to Mazaar... So we took a rick and reached this place.

Well the place, quite contrary to what I had expected, was very nice. The place was well lit unlike those dingy dark sheds that ppl have restaurants in these days, and was very neat and somehow really comfortable and inviting. For a while I dint feel that I was in a restaurant but at someones Home in their dining hall or something. The others that were seated found us to be strangers. We looked like the foreigners out there, and after a while of uncomfortable stares and whispering, when they saw how indifferent I was to their unsaid remarks : ' you dont fit here'... they let us be and got back to slurping their Shorbas and ripping their meats.

The menu dint describe the food quite well, it only had the names and the same written in Arabic. So that dint quite work, so we called the server whowas this young boyish, fair guy who looked perfect in his pathani kurta and pyjama to help us out. We asked him straight and simple what should we have and he suggested the mutton tikka seekh, Borani Banjan and a Mantu, since we specified we were maasahaaris ( meat eaters) and we din wish to have rice.

The food took a while to arrive but was worth every second... The server had specified prior to the order that the food here was mildly spiced and was not high on heat at all...
So that made us quite ready for what was to arrive... TheMutton tikka seekh came in individual skewers which was quite aneye candy( me clearly ignoring the ghas phus beneath it). It was as explained low on spicy very unlike our traditional mutton seekh which at times either tastes of innumerable no. of spices or just the heat which takes away any flavor from the mouth. This was quite a relief and you could actually taste the succulent mutton with a hint of garlic and definately marinated in curd or sour cream.

The mantu was quite a twist in the tale. It turned out to be mutton mince stuffed momo's served like a chaat.. i.e. it was covered with curd and the final twist was that it was topped with dal. The description dint seem very inviting to me so I kept away from it for quite a while till i realised that my buddy was quite enjoying it. I finally gave in and tried a portion. Hmmmm... the Momo I would give a pass i've had way better but surprisingly i really liked the curd and dal combo which was laced with mint...

Finally, the Borani banjan was actually forced upon... for quite a few reasons... Its an Aubergine/ Egg Plant/ Brinjal based dish... Ppl who know me will be shocked, super shocked.... super duper shocked if I was to tell them that i Liked the dish. Well i did. :) It was actually really really nice. The aubergine were roasted in Sesame oil and preserved in the same... The dish was basically this marinated roasted aubergine peeled and scattered around topped with Sour cream and dried mint and the sesame oil poured all around... It tasted outstanding with the Bread that they provided with it. At the first look the bread looked humungous and thick and not palatable. But the minute i ripped it and soaked it into that oil it just transformed into a gourmet delicacy.

Well we had had enough to brag about but b4 we headed out we had to try the dessert but the options all spoke about ice cream.. and we were in no mood to be fed a scoop out of a 5L Mother dairy industrial ice cream pack ( thats what most hotels and restaurants serve u in their fashionable glasses). But then i had a glimpse of what was actually written Afghani Ice cream. So now i had to try that out. The ice cream tasted quite like our Kulfi but was more creamier and smoother and richer and cardomomy and just superb. Served on a bed of Ice and topped with nuts it was divine... though my buddy found it toooooo sweet ( he still finished all of it) i thought it was an A++++++++++... I hope u get my point.

And the best part was the food was pretty light, dint feel lethargic or super heavy post the meal. Was actually majorly excted about the bragging i was about to go ahead with...

So, the place is worth a visit for sure.

Where: E 86, Lajpat nagar 1.
What : Afghani Food
How much : We spent Rs. 700/-

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Kebabi... Sirf Kebabi......

I dunno when it started. Who started it and why. All I know is that this guy in Urdu Bazaar, bang opposite Jama Masjid, next tothe shop that sells the Urdu magazines, sells some MEAN really Mean kebabs.

Lallu Kebabi has apparently been here for almost some 30-40 yrs and has scored with his Buff kebabs. Thanks to the " No beef" movement in Delhi, "Buff" is the base for these "morsels of hell". Well they do taste amazingly worth it, hence Hell is the call...

Skewered into the seekhs, each morsel happily rests on the hot, burning crimson like coal, deepening in flavor and enticing with its smoky aroma... Melt in the mouth, burst of flavors, perfectly charred, delectably smoky...

They serve both the Seekh kebab and the tikka... I prefer the tikka, not that the seekh is any less.. but i don like minced meat too much... i feel the identity just gets lost... and the spices predominate... Its the same here.. though since its buff the flavor is strong enough to identify the meat, but the tikka always seems more Rustic and meaty to me...

The place, the shop, the Butchery... aint for the week at heart, i can guarantee... Gory enough for a vegetarian or a timid non vegetarian to scream and run for a while...

Shops like these are scattered around in purani dilli, but a specialised buff place is rare...

Walkin through the streets one realises... abhi to bahut kuchh chakhna baaki hai...

Saturday, March 5, 2011

" Cream Roll Laya huuuunnn !"

Unlike Delhi... Street food in Gurgaon is pretty uncommon... U really don get too many redhi/ thela wallas here... So the sight of this Cream roll guy made me jump with joy...

Cream roll was somethin we used to enjoy as kids.. a small little sweet treat fresh from the bakery...Its simply: Light Whipped cream stuffed into puff pastry rolls.. But that got taken over by the packaged cartons of cream wafers and stuff like that. Not as fresh and light as we used to get. and definately not at that price.

This guy, is one of the 120 ppl employed at a Ghaziabad bakery, who is given a 100 rolls to sell during the day and get back with the cash or the left over rolls. He catches the metro with his box well packed in a steel briefcase, gets off at the Sikanderpur station and leaves his briefcase there, and roams around satisfying many a sweet tooth.

I found him screaming at the top of his voice, " Cream roll laya huunnn" near the Sikanderpur metro station where all the wicker Furniture guys are. To tell you the truth at first i dint expect it to be any great, thought it wouldn be fresh and would have an overdose of sugar like most Delhi sweets are. But no! It was soooo light, the puff pastry so crisp and it was just right on the sweetness meter... It was DIVINE. Bliss at Rs. 5/-

I couldn resist: I bought 2 more :)

"Benda kalu ooru......."

The legend goes that King Veeraballa once lost his way in a forest. Hungry and dead tired, he came upon a hut where he met an old Lady. Seeing a lonely traveller and a hungry face, she gave him some boiled beans (known as 'Benda Kalu' in Kannada). The King found these beans tastier than anything he had ever had ( he was freaking hungry for sure). In memory of this incident, he named the place "Benda Kalu Ooru" (place of boiled/cooked beans). Which then slowly became Bangalore, and now back to the roots with "Bengalooru".

Now tell me, a place whose name is all thanks to food, how could it be anywhere far behind when it comes to a discussion about street grub.

Fresh cut fruits and veggies, fresh juice shops, chat wale ki dukaane, pani puri stalls, benne dosai on the road, you name it and its there. Be it typically south Indian delicacies or even the North Indian chat pata's, they have it all... But the 2 places that make them so so so different are:

the Hot Chip shops and the Bakeries(Iyengar bakeries)

The variety that one gets at the Hot Chip shops is fantastic. From the simplest potato chips to the wierdest bitter gourd( Karela) chips which are green. They actually have these huge frying pans half filled with oil right outside the shop, and have fresh chips getting made on and off. Potato, jack fruit, Bitter gourd, Tapioca, raw bananas....variety is the spice of life... Why have those packaged, artificially flavoured, expensive to the roof wafers when u can have such awesome fresh chips right around the corner.

Iyengar bakery's are a boon to the society.

Where in France u get freshly baked croissants and in Italy the Focaccia is to die for early in the morning... here in bangalore the Iyengar Bakeries get u addicted to fresh breads and cookies and buns and cakes... You would just hate to buy those branded packed breads with expiry dates to check, once u've had from them.In fact I know of ppl who know exactly when, at what time, the breads come out baked into the bakeries and trust me they don last for more than 30 mins. They just disappear. And then you have to wait for the next lot to come out. The breads are super soft, the cakes super spongy and the biscuits... well thats how the cookie should crumble.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hazari Ke Pohe!!

India is an absolutely fantastic country; its diversity in every respect is a wonderful and exciting phenomenon. Every place has it own unique flavours and recipes. Who had ever heard of a town called Banswara?? Well I definitely had not!!! It is this small little place in the southern-most district of Rajasthan with the same name. Unfortunately, despite being in Rajasthan it is hardly Rajasthani in its look and feel. But then there is one thing to its credit-- the spiciest and definitely one of the tastiest Poha ever.

My taste buds are not very happy with mirchi wala khanna. I like it (sometimes) but it creates havoc in my mouth . Yet the attraction toward the havoc is such that I find myself eating it over and over, which has led me to sample this spicy dish a couple of time during my 14-day stay at Banswara.

Perfect haldi, lots of hari dhaniya, rai, pyaz, the perfect pinch of salt and lots of chill and pepper creates the magic for the Hazari Poha. So popular is it that people often visit the shop late at night (after 11 pm) to enjoy a plate of freshly made poha.

If you want to enjoy the poha in the comfort of your house you can get it packed too. Wrapped in a piece of newspaper just adds to the desiness of this snack. It is an absolutely fabulous flavour that will definitely stay with you for a long time and you would want more and more of it. So next time at Banwara, you absolutely must try Hazari ke Pohe if you haven’t already!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bangali Adda

"Kotto eta" ---- How much for that?

"Baro taka" ---- 12 bucks

" Chho takae ekta luchi deben?" ---- Will u gimme 1 puri for 6 bucks....?

Somethin my dad overheard at C R Park. A typical Bengali conversation. Its fantastic how a Bengali uncle would go up to a vegetable vendor and buy exactly what he needs for dinner. Its true. What a simple lifestyle. No wastage. Not too many choices to confuse and best of all fresh...

Chit park is like a tiny Calcutta, relaxed, self suficient and a cultural hub in the middle of a fast paced Delhi. Its amazing how in this limited amount of space they have set up their very own city. A veggie place selling every fruit and veggie u would get in Calcutta, a Smelly Fishy place, a row serving all the various cutlets and chops and fish frys and egg rolls, a tiny shop selling the freshest notun gud ever, another having every bengali movie on disk... you name it they have it... and they play it loud and clear.

So taking the opportunity since we were at GK 2 , we took off to CR Park for breakfast at DADU CUTLET SHOP.... loads of choices, as u can see.

But we were here for breakfast, so what better than to have the perfect luchi and aaloo bhaaji... Its the Calcuttan reply to Delhi's Chholey Bhature breakfast. And may I add, what an Answer !

Though I would have prefered Alu dom instead, the preperation was fine. Not something I would put on my top 10, but worth visiting since such simple Bangali food aint available real easy here in Delhi. By the end, it did take me back to the simple Bong fare that i have had back in the City of Joy, so it was a meal worth mentioning....

Next time hope to try out the chops, rolls and cutlets. Care to join?

Where: Chittranjan Park
When : Breakfast : 7-10
How Much: Rs. 10/ plate ( Even the rates are Calcuttan)

The MIlky Way...

Walkin down the street...
In that scorching heat of our very own Delhi...
Shopping for things that we really don't need....
Holding atleast 7 bags of the same...
While the wife/ girlfriend decides on which shop to raid next...
Walkin on the footpath of this never ending circle, which even if incidently we complete pls don worry this was just the outer circle the inner is still to be discovered....

Yes ! ! ! You guessed it right i'm talkin bout CP....

Why do women and many men too just love this place...? its crowded... its full of shops that tear your pocket... people push u here and there... its confusing.... u get no parking on weekends... blah blah... blah blah...

WE LOVE CP.................................

End of discussion....

What do i love most about this place... The colourful shops... Each having its own crooked way of pulling u in and makin u drool over its stuff... and pinching you till u buy somethin.

Well, so now to tell u bout the place i love the most... Keventers. Somewhere deep within i'm still a lil kid loving her strawberry milk shake, chocolate smoothie or even the mango delight. Well this place is part of Delhi's history.
Years of stature this place has been around since my dad was born. Its a meeting place for so many, while many come here just to beat the heat. For the ones who've been there, is there anythin better than the milkshakes that Keventers serves when u're tired and down with all that sun and shoppin....???? If there is do tell me....
It brings back fond memories to some.... it reminds some of their childhood when their dads brought them there.... some go back to their college days when they bunked their lectures for a sip of divine indulgence.... while for some its all bout a lil break from the shopping just before they get back fo the second round.....

What though i find most fascinating is the way we're served. Squirm your way upto the guy at the counter and tell him what u want. The way the guy remembers every single order and serves it right to the right person, unimaginable...u'll understand when u're there... when u have atleast a twenty hungry hands "in your face" literally....
At the end of the day its a fantastic place... An awesome place to end your day in a fantastic city...

A must Visit.... :)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Vrindavan ki Tikki

I agree, one goes to Vrindavan to visit the temples, to pay homage, to get rid of their sins: but if there is sinful bliss available right in the heart of Vrindavan, shouldn we just follow it as 'The Path' and basically indulge.

Well thats what my heart said, and my tummy, when in Vrindavan ki galliyaan....

I immediately fell in love with this place when i was offered fresh ' Safed Makkhan' (white butter) as the Prasad in the temple... what nice ppl... :)

Well as we walked out, we couldnt resist the look of shops filled from top to bottom with pedas and burfis... who could resist them... they literally screamed... "come for me".

But after sooooooo much of sweetness we so needed somethin non sweet... We came across a shop that sold tikki chholey... we really dint think that this mere potato dumpling and completely mashed up green pea stuff would blow our minds away...

Every tikki that i have ever had.. and trust me i've had many.... should bow down to the one in Vrindavan... its a sin worth commiting... Its crispness taken to another level. The three humble ingredients being potatoes, curd and arrowroot...

When i was a kid, i would rip the tikki apart, eat allthe crispy edges and leave the sticky potatoey inside for anyone esle interested. Here i had the entire thing.

The chutneys are outstanding... be it the khajur ki chutney, or the pudina- dhaniya chutney... since we're in Vrindvan there is no usage of garlic or onion, but a hint of asafoetida does the trick. I so now agree of it being an aphrodasiac.

Though i'm not a very big fan of the chholey that they serve here in Delhi; personal taste; but the green pea mash here in Vrindavan was spectacular. The right amount of spices and the Hing( asafoetida)............... God help me... Dramatic.

Vrindavan is so on my cullinary trips now.

Where: Vrindavan Ki galliyaan
When: All thru the day
How Much: Rs. 20 a plate. ( You could easily gobble 3)

keema samosa

in the fourteenth century, one would have found them in the sultans court. loved and respected by the sultan and his courtiers.

i had read about them in the books, but always thought of them to be fictitious characters like the fiery dragons and the hobbits.

somewhere in a book last year i read that "keema samosas" are yet not extinct they are just endangered, you can spot them around the jama masjid (chandni chowk) at times in the evening.

hadn't been so lucky to find one, asked a few people with no satisfactory answers.

finally one day during Ramazan as i stepped out of jama masjid right outside the gate i could hear some shouting " कीमा समोसा पांच रूपए के दो " i could not believe my years but as i followed the voice i had to believe my eyes.

yes! it is true sumptuous samosas stuffed with keema and dhaniya chutney are available outside jama masjid.

as i had my first bite of those samosas only i know how myths turned into reality.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Luck by chance ( Adarsh Vegetarian )

Plans went wrong.
PLAN 1: parathewali gali- too crowded. a waiting of atleast 15-20mins. too hard to handle our hunger.
PLAN 2: fatehpuri area- mostly closed on a sunday i guess. only some sweets were available. we need to have a full meal.

Net Result:
two hungry guys
We chanced to stop by and have some super sweet rabri from roadside vendor. 2 good things happened.
1) the sugar kick made sure we survive for the next few minutes
2) the rabri guy suggested us to hop across the road for to get our lunch

Across the road in the not so narrow lane was Aadarsh Vegetarian. surely it didn't look like one of the joints for which we come all the way to Chandni Chowk. it was not one of those who may have a heritage dating back to the days of the Mughals or maybe of a more recent date like that of the Britishers. well this one had nothing to boost about in those sense. lets be real we can't wait for this restaurant to grow old. we need to have something on our plates right now as in RIGHT NOW. and we walked into this modest restaurant. nothing to be talked about the interiors or the other customers around, everything is just as regular as it could be.

adarsh vegetarian
we asked for the menu in return we where directed towards the cash counter to pay before we eat. there was nothing like a menu. simple thali system. and soon after paying infront of us landed little katoris (bowls) and a big thali. one by one the katoris got filled up accompanied by parathas followed by tawa rotis (layered in ghee) and then rice. the quantity and sequence can be of your choice. get as much as you want as whatever you want, refills are encouraged. the spread was not too wide, but well prepared.

the thali

THE SPREAD: Aloo Capsicum (Shimla Mirch) + Dal + Mungoori + Lauki ka Koofta + Kheer + Papad + Rice + Roti + Aalo/Paneer Paratha + Chutni + Neembu

What made me fall in love with the food was it's non-spicy, non-oily character. i have a long list of stuff i love to eat in purani dilli, but seldom have i come across food which i can manage to have day after day, food which may not threaten my digestive system. well here is one such thing.
a thali which i may not remember for long, as it lack those typical dilli flavours, what it has is the flavour of home cooked food. a plain simple thali which is probably the everyday meal for the nearby shop keeper. maybe one day some other hungry guy gets lucky to land up at Adarsh Vegetarian.

Where: Aadarsh Vegetarian, 483, haider Kuli Corner, Main Chandni Chowk
When: opens at 10:30 (i would say lunch time is ideal)
What you pay: Rs.100/- for unlimited refills

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chaina Ram ki Jai ho

Today hunger took me to Chaina Ram's Sweet Shop (famous for it's karachi halwa) more than a century old shop right next to Fatehpuri Masjid, Delhi.
The smoky little joint doesn't give an impression of it's sitting facility, inside the smoky screen are a few tables and chairs where one can sit and comfortably munch.
The... wait was not to long to get our Chole Bhature. The nice, crispy and oily Bhature's were served followed by the Chole. Definitely the recipe was somewhat different from the regular Delhi Chole-Bhature on the look of it. Soon i had my first bite of this yummy stuff. The Bhatura's where not bland like most of the other places and the Chole had a bit of a gravy not the regular dry version.
The whole place was still having a low hanging smoky cloud which was smelling of the Bhature itself. Everybody around us was busy having their probably first meal of the day. The amount of people ordering Chole-Bhature was sign of Chaina Ram's excellence in making of Chole-Bhature.


where: Chaina Ram, next to fatehpuri masjid, chandni chowk, delhi, new delhi
when: anytime i guess
price: Rs 40/- (two bhatures and portion of chole)



One of the good things the winters in Delhipresent is the mesmerizing Daulat-ki-chaat. Although I am not too sure whether it originated in Delhi or not but I am sure that anyone who eats this once, will simply fall in love with it.

As the name suggests, this is no ordinary road side food but rich and creamy local dessert that leaves you yearning for more. Just head to the streets of Purani Dilli, just next to Kinari Bazaar in the peak of winters and experience this scrumptious delicacy.

The roadside stories doing the rounds suggest that the cream is set to stay in the open during the cold wintery nights. After a thin layer of dew drops add the magic, it is carefully skimmed away from the cream and is mixed with a bit of the local sugar or jaggery and served to the connoisseur. Surely, the creamy delicacy is a gift from heavens.

The way the dish is prepared, is probably why it is called a Chaat, but I am telling you, the taste is just beyond words to describe. Light as if it was cotton, it simply melts in your mouth leaving behind a flavor you will simply never forget. Even though its made of cream, you will not feel thetypical heaviness after eating such a rich concoction.

Where: Near Kinari Bazaar Area, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, New Delhi
When: Peak winters only
What price: Rs. 20/-
Grub Recommendation: Two plates per person is all that one can eat. Have some parathas at the Parathewaali Gali, followed by Daulat-ki-chaat.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bilal ki Nihari

Not many a things, I believe, are worth getting up at 5 in the morning for. Well there is this one thing that not only makes me wake up early but also leaves me dreaming the whole night. Nihari.

First and foremost I gotta thank with immense amount of love in my heart and gratitude: the Delhi Metro. For bringing Purani dilli so so close to Gurgaon. My lips curl into a smile, my eyes have a twinkle and my tummy roars.

It aint only bout the Nihari, (though my tummy disagrees) it's the entire experience. The journey, the people it makes u meet, the places it makes you reach, a whole different world that u get to see, and that sudden change that it brings about in you. We've been visiting purani dilli for the Nihari for a long time now, a few years for me since I got introduced to the Nihari, I refer to it with such respect coz its not just a mere dish served in the oldest lanes of Delhi, it’s a tradition, it’s got its own history, it's part of a culture. Its not just food, it's just something else. The fact that u wont get it in restaurants in the city only makes it more mysterious.

In very simple words a Nihari is nothing but a stew. Nihari comes from the Arabic word "Nahar" which means day. I think it's because it can get you thru the entire day.

It originally referred to a beef stew, and we hope that it is still available in Pakistan. But we mere souls here inDelhi have to suffice with either mutton Nihari or at the most a buff (buffalo) variation. The meat is cooked on a slow fire for hours together so as to not only get the spices running all through the meat also to make sure that the meat literally melts in your mouth. The actual ingredients and spices have always been kept a secret and also do vary from family to family which is proven from the fact that even though every fifth shop (if not third) serves their variation of Nihari in the Matia mahal Bazaar of Chandni chowk, each one has their own distinct flavor.

So we decided to get you a taste of a few of them. We started with the tiniest in the lane. Bilal.

""Bade ka khana na chahogay? Zyada dur nahi dus baara dukaane chhod Bilal pe chale jao"

" Shukriya Janaab"

Its strange how one starts to talk differently when in the by lanes of Purani dilli. How easy it becomes to talk to people in there, to ask directions, and how wonderful a reaction one gets when food becomes the topic of discussion.

Striding past Kareem and Jawahar, as if we had found our calling we entered into the humble corner of Bilal. Chairs and table enough for you to squeeze yourself into them had no relevance in front of the freshly baked khameeri roti

and the meaty aroma. All I could see were the mounds of chopped green chili and sliced ginger waiting to be strewn over the plate that was to have the privilege of having the Nihari served in it.

The Nihari at Bilal is robust and very well spiced. Not for the weak at heart. It literally opens up all your senses, and talks' serious business. Once it hits your tongue you feel this amazing rush and you instantly realize why this is a morning meal. One portion of the same and you are fully pumped up to take on anything during the day. It's strange when you think that this was the food of the Muslim elite and is now available to us mere mortals only because of the decline of the Mughal Empire.

Unlike the Nihari at Kareem and Jawahar, Bilal sells the Bade ki (Buff) Nihari. The meat determines the flavor of the Nihari to quite a level. Since the Buff is quite a tough meat, it does require longer cooking which, I believe, ends up making the gravy quite flavorsome. The fresh flavor of Javetri though heavily masked by the excessive use of chili was still apparent. The Nihari here is pretty thick (viscous), which I ended up enjoying a lot. The meat here is not really 'melt in the mouth' but that’s also because of the use of buff which, as I said earlier, is a tough meat. Though it did shred to pieces at the touch of the khameeri roti. The roti I would not say was much worth mentioning. But that dint stop me from using the last piece of roti to polish the plates up of the remaining stew.

For me Bilal was a thumps up and even while leaving the place all I could think of was when can I do this again…..

Where: Matia Mahal, Chandni Chowk, Delhi, New Delhi
When: Early morning between 6am and 9am
Price: Rs 46/- (1 plate of Nihari and 2 Khameeri rotis)