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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)

Anjora cannot resist a good prawn preparation, finds home in Chinese food anywhere in the world but will eat almost anything if it looks pretty. She is a Potter head and has recently discovered pottery as a hobby (excuse the pun).
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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.

Anjora cannot resist a good prawn preparation, finds home in Chinese food anywhere in the world but will eat almost anything if it looks pretty. She is a Potter head and has recently discovered pottery as a hobby (excuse the pun).
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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

 

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Head to this joint in Shalimar Bagh for Sindhi snacks

The small and cosy shop which was set up 5 years back, in 2012 gives the classy old-style halwai ki dukan feels, located in Shalimar Bagh. The shop is tucked behind trees on a busy main road. It is owned by Manoj Bhardwaj, who starts the shop at 9am and sits till the fried goodness is sold out. He started the shop as his family had been doing this for generations. Even though it has not been long, his snacks are a favourite amongst the locals. People come from far and carry parcels with dozens of kachoris. He fries the kachoris all day long in a kadhai which is a whopping 2 feet in diameter. The kachoris are fresh when served to the customers. The kachoris are filled with moong dal and are spiced lightly to compliment the hing-aloo subji which is laden with pudina chutney perfectly. The potatoes are mashed by hand, loaded with hing in a delightfully spiced curry. It is a match made in heaven. The size of the kachori is perfect and enough to satiate a person’s hunger. He also doesn’t shy away from giving refills of the curry and in a generous amount.
His dal pakwaan are also very popular and are sold out like hot cakes. Pakwaan is a Sindhi snack, popularly eaten as breakfast made of plain flour dough, fried like a puri till it is appropriately crispy. The pakwaans are prepared by his sister-in-law on Sundays. It is served with Boiled Channa Dal with some basic spices, pudina chutney and raw onion on the side to create a sumptuous dish for brekkie. Bread pakora, mix veg pakora etc are cooked by one chef since the shop has been established. Other than him, there are 2 more helpers and sometimes the family members also visit to help out with the overwhelming inflow of customers.

Rs 40 per plate
AA-167, Shaheed Udham Singh Marg, AA Block, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi

Manoj ji serving his customers
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Must have Bhel and Jhaal from this age old kiosk in the Heart of Delhi

The Iconic Lutyens’ Delhi- Connaught Place is every foodie’s delight. The rightly nick-named as heart of Delhi, it lives up to its reputation of having something for everyone- rich or poor. The high ceilings and numerous building with bold white pillars, standing the same since so many years are one of the best spots to hangout at. With all types of shopping brands for locals, you will often bump into many foreigners. As old as this area is, some classic shops have patrons and many come back for these classics. One can fine-dine at plenty of spots here, enjoy fast food at many small cafes and burger-places, or enjoy the winter delights like shakkar-kandi aur amrak (sweet potato and star fruit), adrak wali chai (ginger tea) served by local vendors.

 

One such place is the Odeon Bhelpuri Bhandar. A small kiosk, set up right opposite the much frequented Odeon Complex.It is now owned by his father Anil Kumar and was set up in 1965 by the late grandfather of Nikhil Kumar. There are three things on the menu- Bhelpuri, Sevpuri and Jhalmuri. Now, what is so special about it? The answer has to be everything! From the secret spice mix to the imli chutney which has khajoor (dates), puffed rice, freshly cut tomatoes, chillies, onion and generous amount of coriander and topped off with a layer of sev. One just cannot go wrong with it. The recipe and taste of each of the snacks have been constant for the past 52 years. The owner’s father went to Bombay to learn how to make bhelpuri and then went to Calcutta to learn Jhalmuri. It is the 3rd generation which is handling the kiosk now and loves doing it. He starts selling the deliciousness from 1pm and stays until 11pm every day.

 

Price: Rs 50 per plate (of bhelpuri, jhalmuri or sevpuri)

Contact no: 9650880516

Opp Odeon complex, D block, Connaught Place

 

 

 

Odeon Bhelpuri