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Punjabi Khanna (Amritsari-Tawa)

Punjabi food with its unique and wide range of flavours has caught the fancy of many food lovers across the country. Delhi is lucky to have many eateries and restaurants lined across the city serving the most lipsmacking Punjabi delicacies which is mainly derived from Punjab and Pakistan. The passion for Punjabis have for their food is not just restricted within their community but they have also spreading the charm of their flavours across city, and particularly so in Old Delhi.

Punjabi Khanna is one such outlet which is offering some of the best non-veg food from past 30-35 years. The flavor of each of their food is rich and authentic, and the ultimate answer to your Punjabi food cravings.

This modest restaurant was set up by two brothers Manjeet Singh and Inderjeet Singh in the small and cramped  lanes of old Delhi.

Every item in their menu is bursting of authentic Punjabi flavours, be it tikkas or gravy based items.

The most outstanding dish from their menu was mutton chap which was a delight. The melt-in-mouth delicacy would stay back with you long after you have left the place.

Mutton was generously marinated with strong spices which resulted in a mouthwatering dish. The main highlight that distinguishes it from all other chaaps is the gravy which is not usually served with the dish.

The gravy deserves extra applause for its spicy and tangy essence which goes well with the chaap, both of the items do not overpower each other, they get their own moments to shine.

This single dish is served with some chopped onions and a lemon. And lastly it is garnished with some finely chopped mint leaves.

This chaap is so famous that it has to be pre-ordered to be booked beforehand so that the vendors don’t run out of their biggest-seller.

This chaap goes well with the tandoori roti which is also semi fried with the spicy gravy so that you don’t miss the flavor even for a second. The gravy helps keep the flatbread moist too.

Beside these dishes there are a lot of other items which are also worth trying like mutton biryani ,mutton seekh kabab which is processed by them only. Rajma chawal is another highlight of their restaurant but it is only available once a week on Tuesday.

This restaurant is mostly packed throughout the week. Weekdays are generally lighter than the weekends. If you for looking something hot, spicy and authentically Punjabi- this is where you head.

Location: 32-33 Main, Azad Market Rd, Azad Market

Timings: (Afternoon) : 1:30pm-4:30pm

(Evening) : 6:00pm-9:30pm

Cost for two: 500(approx.)

Contact number : 9999937132

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Ganesh Restaurant  

A mix of places old and new, Karol Bagh is a foodie’s dream come true. One such iconic eatery you must try out in these narrow lanes is Ganesh restaurant. Established 68 years ago by Sri Harishchand, Ganesh restaurant is famous for its delicious fried food.

Interestingly, every food at Ganesh restaurant is exclusively fried in mustard oil which kind of makes them special in their own way. Besides its flavoursome food, the restaurant is also famous or infamous for their skill of putting hand in boiling hot oil and taking out the fried delicacy with their bare hands. This technique was first started by late Sri Prem Kumar who would fry food while entertaining the customers. Now, it is his son Deepak who is following the legacy and keeping the customers enthralled with this unique talent.

Sri Prem Kumar

Their most outstanding dish is sira fish which is first marinated with besan, and then fried until it is crunchy and golden.

The coating of the fish is mild, so that the original flavor of the fish could be enjoyed. This mouthwatering dish is served with finely chopped onions, mint chutney and a slice of lemon.The fried fish melts in the mouth in no time.

According to the owner the coating is kept light so that the meat of the fish could be enjoyed by the people instead of a heavy layer of marination which may overpower the sira fish.

The type of fish changes according to the season. During the summers, people are treated with singara fish and when it comes to chilly days they are served the surmai fish. The owner claims with confidence that the fish is fresh and best because it comes from the best sources in India like the banks of Orissa and Gujarat.

Another winner of the wide range of menu is egg pakora , which is also marinated with various spices and the whole egg is deep fried until it is beautifully golden brown.

And if you are a fan of chicken then don’t forget to try their finger-licking Afghani chicken, keema naan and korma .

The iconic eatery is often too crowded in evenings especially in winters. When you are craving for some hot steamy food to strike out the hunger, Ganesh restaurant is the way to head.

Location : 2298, Chowk Gurudwara Road, Near Punjab National Bank,

Karol Bagh  (Arya Samaj Road )

Timings : 5:00pm-11:00pm

(closed on Tuesday)

Cost for two : Rs.300 (approx)

 

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Healthy Breakfast Call

Around the area of major educational institutions and many students waking up in the morning for their classes, Mangal Bazar can be located around Laxmi Nagar. Majorly students resides around the Bazar and their day starts with looking for something healthy (for the day) and filling (until class ends), where Poha comes as a rescue for them. Traditionally, Pohay or Pohe is an Indian dish prepared in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka and Gujarat. Pohe Originated from Maharashtra (Called Kanda Poha).

Running the cart since 12 years, Padam Singh Jain ji initiated his effort with rabri faluda stall. Following his earnings and savings, he opened a confectionary shop later, where he serves some morning tea and coffee. Since after that he started with the idea of Jain Poha Corner right in front of his shop to cater the major chunk of students for their healthy breakfast.

Serving to the early risers, Jain Poha Corner is open from 6:00 a.m. in the morning to 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon. However, the backend work starts from 4:30 a.m. itself. The claimed healthy poha is made out of boiled flattened rice, along with some sugar, turmeric and black mustard seeds.

Once, the basic ingredients are boiled together, then some roasted chillies and fried green peas are added on to the taste. But what is served on to your plate includes few tempering over. The made Poha then is topped with chopped onion, cut pieces of tomato (with scissors), namkeen, peanuts and some sprinkled corriander. And few drops of lime juice over delivers a kick.

Not only students but the nearby residents also savour it with joy and get them in packing sometimes.

As evening sets down, the cart is all set to offer variety of paneer chila and pav bhaji to savour.
The Poha costs for Rs25 per plate.

Address: F-142 Mangal Bazar, Laxmi Nagar
Landmark: in front of government school

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Bringing Italy to Your Plate

Artusi Ristorante glitters, quite literally, with a trail of lights that follow you inside. It is inviting, warm and luxurious. The walls are adorned with paintings and there’s an actual fireplace with a live fire in the centre of the room! How often do you see lit fireplaces in Delhi*?

For me, the watershed moment in my love for Italian food was when Julia Roberts ate a plate of spaghetti while Mozart played in the background in the movie Eat Pray Love. I wanted nothing more than to devour that plate of pasta. After many unsuccessful attempts to replicate the dish, I have been on a lifelong quest to find the perfect spaghetti.

Artusi represents food from Emilia Romagna in Northeast Italy where pasta is the hero. They leave no stone unturned to perfect the dish. The pasta is entirely made by hand so the noodle is noticeably rough as compared to the smooth spaghetti cut by the pasta machine. This lends well to the spaghetti being ensconced in the tomato sauce, covering every ridge. It was not by chance that my plate was accompanied by crab. I would happily eat this spaghetti in a movie.

One of the finest dishes on the menu is a simple cheese with mushrooms and bread. Tomino is a soft cheese sourced directly from its motherland, Italy. It melts magnificently over the bread, sticking to the mushrooms, garnished with white truffle oil. Seemingly modest, the flavours are intricate and delicious. Try this dish even if you don’t love mushrooms. You will be converted for life. For dessert, pick the Panna Cotta. It is fluffy and soft, wonderfully offset by the crunchy praline, almonds and fig.

Do attempt to hide your shock when you don’t see pizza on the menu. I assure you that you won’t miss it. Pizza is a southern Italian signature whereas the northern regions have influences from countries such as Germany. Ask the owner, Oscar Balcon about the food from his homeland and he will passionately and painstakingly explain the regional variations in food across Italy. He’ll throw in a joke or two, staying true to his Italian heritage. This restaurant, he says is his retirement project. I can only hope that my retirement project is half as majestic or delicious someday.

 

Location: One Horizon Centre, Golf Course Road, Gurgaon
Meal for two: Rs. 4000

*Alright, Gurgaon

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Padam chaat corner

As a city that prides itself at its richness in the street food culture, Chandni Chowk is the place to go if you wish to taste some of the finest that the city has to offer. Located at Kinari Bazaar in Chandni Chowk, this joint tempts people from various parts of the city.

Tasty chatpata chaat is one of the many tasty dishes for which dilliwalla’s are ready to forget their diet and enjoy those tangy spicy flavors guilt free.

Since 1947, Padam chaat corner serves lip smacking treats like Papdi Chaat, Raj Kachori, Gol Gappe and many more. The shop is currently run by the 3rd generation of their family. Everything they sell are made at home from papri’s to even the masala sprinked over the papri’s. So one can be sure that they neither compromise with taste nor health.

The famous pani puri or gol gappa has many names and different ways in which it is served in different regions. Almost every Indian is familiar with concept of gol gappa, being easily available on the streets.

When you hear the word gol gappa, the only thing which comes in your mind is a crisp fried puri filled with a mixture of flavored pudina water, potato chunks and chickpeas but a mere visit to Padam Chaat Corner in Old Delhi is enough to change your mind.

One of their specialty is the bharwa gol gappe. First padamji makes a mixture of Bhalla, channa, chunks of boiled potatoes and masala which is homemade and has a wonderful fragrance of bhuna jeera, salt, peper, and some secret spices which he would not disclose and gives us an excuse to visit padam chaat corner again and again to have this gol gappa’s.

Then  the mixture is stuffed in the fried crisp puri’s and then dipped in tangy tamarind  chutney (saunth) and finished with yoghurt makes these gol gappa’s irresistible.

This small joint works in a hygienic environment and must visit place for all chaat lovers.

Location : Gali Barf Wali, Near Kinari Bazar, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi

Cost for Two : Rs 100 (Approx)

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Hira Lal Chaat Corner

From past 100 years, this little joint is serving variety of delicacies.  This place claims to invent a chaat. Surprisingly its neither deep fried nor oily. It is rather refreshing and healthy, as it’s all fruit. Don’t confuse this with any normal fruit chaat, Kulliya Chaat is no ordinary chaat.

Asking about the idea of kulliya chaat, the owner said, One day I was experimenting by hollowing out the potato and filling it with spices and lemon juice, it tasted nice and I started selling it along with our other items.

The word Kulliya is suppose to have been named after the “Kullhad”. Kuliya or Kulle is fruit and vegetable cups that are scooped out of its flesh and then filled with flavored stuffing. The Kulliya Chaat is a quintessential street food sold in Old Delhi.

This wonderful edition of Fruit Chaat is great in taste and has an impeccable flavor. The fruits induces freshness, while tangy Chaat Masala gives it a marvelous flavor.

Not to forget, the lemon juice balances the overall sweetness and makes it more delicious. They add boiled Chickepeas and fresh Pomegranate seeds. The crunchiness of Pomegranate contrasts with the softness of fruit cups and gives it a zesty tang.  As more and more customers appreciated this Kulliya Chaat, they experimented it further and added a whole new range of fruits and other ingredients to make the Chaat more flavorful.

Today, boiled potato can be substituted with sweet-potato, watermelon, apple, orange, banana or cucumber. The Chaat can be customized further and can be made extra spicy, tangy or a bit sour.

They serve various items which include pav bhaji, aloo chaat which is yet another popular item in their menu. Cube shaped potatos are fried twice for the crunchy texture and wonderful taste. Also they serve, burger but there’s a catch the tikki’s are made with sabudana which increases the health element as well as the taste.

So when are you going to chawri bazar, for the lip smacking and healthy kulliya chaat?

 

Location : 3636, Gali Lohe Wali, Chawri Bazar, New Delhi

Cost for two – Rs 100 (Approx)

 

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Frozen Treats in January

We’re hitting ice cream season early this year (global warming at work again, do you think?) with the newly opened American ice cream chain – Cold Stone Creamery in both the Ambiences in Delhi and Gurgaon. I think there is a special charm in eating ice cream in the winters. First, it doesn’t melt. Second, you feel like a warrior, fighting the odds.

Cold Stone has been around in the US for about 3 decades now and has been rapidly expanding into other countries over the last few years, including our flavourful neighbours Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Creamery boasts of the famous frozen stone slab (on which ice cream is folded), often found in its natural habitat – Instagram stories.

You can add your preferred toppings to the parent flavours and shuffle between waffle cone sizes, choosing from a list of ice creams already curated for you or freestyle and go crazy with your own combinations. Go on, no one is judging. For the lactose intolerant, there are a couple of tangy sorbets on display including Passion Fruit and Pomegranate. Those who are delusional enough to want to be healthy while in an ice cream shop, can fool themselves with smoothies or carry some ice cream home for a cheat day. There is something for everyone. Ice cream is very inclusive.

When I walked into the Creamery, the employees simultaneously burst into a chorus of 90s pop music and kids songs. Though startled at first, I found myself humming along soon after. Now I do not know if I had the special privilege of being serenaded by ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm’, but I sure have a new found admiration for live music with my cup of ice-cream.

 

Price: About Rs. 160 for one ice cream
Location: 1st floor, Ambience Mall, Gurugram (the one I went to)

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Tibetan Delights

Majnu ka Tila or MKT as we called it in college, is a Tibetan refugee colony tucked away in the by-lanes of North Delhi. What it offers is an insight into the exuberant culture and food of Tibet. Bustling with people at all times of the day and night, the narrow lanes are almost always under a flooding crisis but it doesn’t stop the hawkers from selling little trinkets, Tibetan prayer flags, colourful woollen caps and gloves. Every once in a while you bump into a beautiful Tibetan temple with puppies playing in front of it.

The food in MKT is best represented by two of my favourite joints called by almost the same name – AMA Café and AMA Restaurant. AMA Café has the city’s best pancakes on offer. They can be customized according to your taste but being a traditionalist, I go for the banana and Nutella variety. The pancakes are fluffy but not bread-y which is key in pancake making. They are only available till noon so get there early and stay put for the rest of the day. The Apple Pie is another beauty; crunchy crust and soft and crumbly on the inside, it is a scrumptious dish. The décor is bright and fun with Tibetan motifs and photos on the walls and travel books on shelves. It is a great place to sit by yourself next to a window on a winter afternoon, sip a cup of coffee, watch the hustle and bustle down the street and try to get some work done.

After spending most of the day at AMA Café and hopefully catching up on work, move over to the AMA Restaurant down the lane. Comfort food for me is mostly a plate of rice and stir fried chicken or a hearty bowl of meat soup. All and any combinations of Chinese food can get me out of a bad mood and the AMA restaurant serves some of the most affordable and delightful Chinese and Tibetan food in town. The place by itself is basic and not as pretty as its sibling but food is a showstopper. The Momos and Chilli Potatoes are mandatory eating and without a doubt lovely. For the main course, go for Chicken or Buff Thupka and Spicy Fried Pork with Steamed Rice. The pork is succulent and sweet, a taste you will remember long after it is gone. The food is not for the weak of stomach. Go with agreeable company. Eat at leisure. Return a happier person.

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Bille Di Hatti’s Chole-poori

“Breakfast was only worth having when somebody else made it for you.”

What if that breakfast is served hot, crispy, authentic, fermented, bit spicy and with a lot of mouth-watering taste?

Tempted already!
Well, Busted with spheres of Delhi University and its students, Kamla Nagar has always been a hot spot for meet-ups, flea market and food joints.

Among many other famous eateries in the vicinity, Bille di Hatti managed to start with a very small space almost 60 years ago. Slowly and steadily, the taste of his pchole-poori won the hearts of people and since then, they kept expanding in their arena to serve better to more people.

Starting with a busy schedule at 7:00 am in the morning, the joint welcomes its cutomers till 3:30 to relish the taste of his much known chole-poori. As soon as, hour-hand reaches four, they begin selling samosas whereas always asked with chole-poori, “lassi” can be surped all day till 8:00pm.

Well when I say authentic taste, I mean more by the way of making all of these delicacies. The savory curry that we savor here does not contain onion or any amount of garlic. The ‘tadka’ is given only of spices (such as anardana, rock salt, iodised salt, jeera, ajwain, dhaniya etc.) to main ingredients. Not only this, but poori also has its unique feature. It is made up of mixture of all-purpose flour (maida) and semolina (sooji), also has small filling of split black gram (urad daal) to add to the taste. The combo of chole-poori is accompanied with a small bowl containing sliced onions with carrot pickle and meethi ki chutney over the top of it.

And one can always relish some extra taste of chole (bile ducts) at a cost of Rs 15/-

Another favourite from this joint is their sweet lassi. It was thick in texture and had very apt quantity of sugar mixed. Originally, they own many hemispherical shaped earthen plates in which they ferment the curd for lassi. And if you closely notice that fermented curd in the plate, it gets a slightly yellowish layer of fats and proteins on the surface, which is later skimmed off to add as a topping to your perfectly sweetened lassi.

Meanwhile, Amit told us that his grandfather started the place then his father and paternal uncle gave their heart and soul to maintain the legit the taste of original chole-poori. And now, on the same path he and his cousin also joined the way.

A plate of chole-puri costs Rs 55/- and for lassi it is again Rs 55/-

Address: 72-D, Kamla Nagar, New Delhi

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Heard about this hidden gem in Kamla Nagar for the best Bread Pakoras?

The bustling streets of Kamla Nagar have always been one of the favourite marketplaces in North Delhi and the old street food gems of this place are the main reason why people love to shop and spend time here. One such old gem is the irresistibly delicious Kashyap Bread Pakora stall located in one of the bylanes. The easiest way to reach this stall is to take the road connecting Spark mall and Bungalow road. This stall has appetizing bread pakoras and tikki. It is owned by Sunil Kumar who also happens to be the one to cook the snacks. He believes, by the blessings of his father, Late Sri Ram Singh, his business has flourished a lot in the last 36 years, since establishing it in 1981 with his brother. He started selling them at Rs 2.5 only!

 

This Bread pakora is a pure winner amongst all the pakoras that are out there. The outer layer is appropriately crispy, somewhat spongy, rendering a very light texture. The pakora is covered in a batter made out of besan (chickpea flour) and moong dal. It also has a thick layer of paneer, coated with boiled and spiced potatoes which are sandwiched between 2 bread pieces, dipped in the batter for a perfect coat and fried in desi ghee. It is coupled with imli chutney, hari chutney, chaat masala, shredded cabbage and raw onion, and reheated to serve hot. The stall is manned by Sunil ji along with two helpers. They start at 4pm and everything is sold out by 9pm!

Price: Rs 40 per bread pakora

Contact no: 9871126805

175-E, Kamla Nagar, Delhi-7

 

The best Bread Pakora with generous amount of paneer and chutney
Sunil Kumar preparing the Bread Pakora