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Jammu to Gulmarg Food Journey

Jammu to Gulmarg Food Journey

By Anubhav Sapra

After an amazing street food journey in Jammu, it was time to move on to the next destination – Kashmir and Ladakh. In this blog, we would be covering the journey from Jammu to Gulmarg.

Route Map- Jammu-Udhampur-Samroli-Peerah-Ramban-Banihal-Qazikund-Srinagar-Gulmarg

The condition of the roads is quite bad from Udhampur to Qazikund. So, be prepared for a bumpy ride.

Food Map- Samoli-Peerah-Qazikund-Tangmarg-Gulmarg—Makasi sout-Rajma Chawal-Rista and kebab-Daniwal Korma

YouTube video link- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhsALpRA_Po

The terrain completely changes once you cross Udhampur. After a 12 kms drive from Udhampur is a small village Samroli known for Patissa and Makai roti with makai sout. The most famous shop is Prem Di Hatti. It has become so popular that most of the shops claim to be the original Prem Di Hatti. After enquiring the locals, we managed to spot the real Prem Di Hatti with a red coloured board saying: Estd 1925, founder Pd Lok Nath Khajuria. We tried Patissa, a flaky and crispy sweet made up of gram flour.

And then came my first encounter with nun chai- the salty tea. I tried it with the local delicacy makai sout (roasted corn flour) and makai roti (corn flour flatbread). I will talk about my experience of salty chai in next blog as it is the breakfast tea in Kashmir eaten with lavassa. Here in Samroli, I spotted many locals mixing the sout in the tea and eating it with the spoon. I also tried the local way and had makai roti with nun chai. Indeed, a new experience for me.

After having our evening nun chai, the next stop was Peerah. This was one place recommended by everyone for Rajma Chawal and Dal Chawal. Being a Punjabi, I have grown up eating rajma chawal and let me make a confession that Rajma Chawal is one dish I can eat every day IF it is cooked by mom. Once you reach Peerah, there are shops lined up selling the same dish. What makes it special is first, rajma is locally grown; second, the rajma is cooked over wooden fire that adds a special flavour; third, almost 50 gms of locally made ghee is poured over a plate of rajma chawal and lastly, anar dana chutney made in traditional stone grinder makes it a complete delectable meal to relish. I loved each bite of it.

We crossed India’s longest road tunnel, Chenani-Nashri tunnel, also known as Patni Top tunnel, with a length of 9.28 km on NH 44. It is the first tunnel in the country with a fully integrated tunnel control system. The tunnel reduces the distance between Jammu and Srinagar by 30 km and cuts travel time by two hours.

We stopped midway for a cup of tea in Banihal and finally reached Qazikund at late night. In Qazikund, at a road side eatery, we stopped briefly for dal and roti making our way to Srinagar. It was a bit difficult to find a hotel in the night, but after some struggle we booked a hotel near Lal Chowk and stayed there overnight. Next morning we drove from Srinagar to Gulmarg.

At Tangmarg, Greenz Hotel was a perfect stop for Lunch. As we had pre-planned to have a complete wazwan experience in Jammu, the lunch here was simply of rista with kebabs. The kebabs in Kashmir are not melt in mouth of kind- you can taste the meat. My kind of kebabs as I don’t have much liking for melt-in-mouth of kebabs. The rista are meat balls cooked in red gravy. The meat is handpounded and a right amount of fat is added in to it. In Kashmir, when we say mutton, it is mostly sheep.

 

Dhaniwal Korm

From Tangmarg, Gulmarg is just 12.4 kms. Situated in the Pir Pranjal range in western Himalayas, the drive is beautiful, passing through forests of pine and fir. Gulmarg is also noted for having one of the worlds highest Gondola (cable car). Winter sports are also quite popular in Gulmarg. After quickly taking a walk through the valley, we reached Hotel Nedous for a late lunch. Established in 1888 by Michael Adam Nedou, Hotel Nedou was a popular destination for British aristocrats and colonial government officials. The centre of the restaurant has a fire stove (bukhari) where one can warm up returning from their Gondola ride up in the Himalayas or playing winter sports. It keeps the place cosy for the meals. The food is all cooked fresh and the staff is courteous. Najwa had recommended that we try Daniwal korma, so we just ordered one dish with fresh roti. Daniwal korma is a simple dish cooked in yoghurt with coriander and butter. It was simply a delight to taste each bite of it. 

That’s how we ended our food journey in Gulmarg. In the next blog, I will write about my Srinagar food journey curated by Najwa Andrabi (Instagram- @Kaeshirfoodie)

Until then, eat delicious!

 

Anubhav Sapra
Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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Sharma Kachori wale- Age old romance of Aaloo and Kachori

We all have spent our entire childhood listening to the quote ‘Old is Gold’. Having served the numerous generations of Saddi Dilli from decades, this ‘hole in the wall’ street food joint ‘Sharma Kachodi Wale’ is the perfect example for that quote which indeed is very famous for its perfect and  crispy Kachodi (an Indian snack made of maida which is deep fried) along with mouth watering and drool worthy Aaloo curry (potato curry )around the walled city. It lies on the main road towards Shakti Nagar Chowk which is very  near to Kamla Nagar. People gather around like flock of birds to satiate their taste buds with such a legendary serving without even burning a hole in their pocket.

This joint serves five matthi kachodis which are basically kachodis with the stuffing dipped in the ‘perfectly spiced and seasoned’ aaloo curry with a taste which could make every person on this planet drool over. What makes this place even more special is the price at which it offers this delicacy, which indeed is so low that even a broke college student would be able to afford. It offers one serving of the dish at price as low as 20 rupees which is why we can see the people from all the working classes having their bite here.

In this era, where street cuisines have a very tough time competing  among themselves ‘Sharma Kachodi wale’ makes this simplest dish stand out and make the hearts of gourmands melt in satisfaction as they munch in a bite of this simple yet so legendary dish. I have always heard my uncle describe this place as one of his favourite joints to grab a quick snack since his childhood. He always adds the phrase ‘consistent taste’ whenever he describes it , which shows how famous this joint is for its consistency and the legendary taste accompanied by their swift and uninterrupted service despite a large amount of people eager to fill their mouths with the gem which this place offers.

No matter how many new and famous hotspot food joints open with time , ‘Sharma Kachodi wale’ will always be the showstopper whenever our taste buds crave for a light and tantalizing snack.

 

Shop Name : Sharma Kachodi Wale

Address: Main Road towards Shakti Nagar chowk , opposite Kaleva

Phone number: + 918800818189

Owner Name : Vijay Rathore

In a world full of samosas, be a KACHORI and that too if it is from such a legendary joint.
#sharmakacoriwala
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Discovering a happy eatery : Bistro 57

18th July 2017:

Scorching sun, enough to pierce deep through the skin and make a person thirsty in seconds. Also, the college admissions time ; moving to a new city , getting used to new things, staying away from home. I was a new girl in the unknown city who was just done with her college admissions and shifting into a hostel. I still remember my first day here, everything felt so different. I was normally chatting with my roommate about the famous places to visit nearby i.e. Kamla Nagar, New Delhi which led to the discovery of this ‘Happy Eatery’ called Bistro 57.

The name sounded fascinating enough to me, so fascinating that I wanted to go there without even wasting a minute. We were all set, wearing our cool summer clothes, setting the destination as ‘Bistro 57’ on the Google Maps. After a short walk, we entered a small street with a lot of eateries among which ‘Bistro 57’ was one of them. It was a small pop shop with loads of variety , from milkshakes to cold coffee to quick bites like garlic bread and sandwiches. With a question mark on our faces we asked for help from a fellow customer to help us with our order. “What is the best thing that we can have from here? ” we asked, “Bistro has a PhD in all their dishes, nothing will disappoint you here.” he replied with a proud grin on his face.

A wise man once said ‘Classics are always the best’ which indeed made us choose the all time classics i.e. cold coffee and pizza. The swift service was what made us love the place even more despite the swarm of  people mostly, the college going fellows waiting for their pre placed order. The taste of the much needed ‘caffeine’ along with perfectly blended milk and sugar of  right consistency and the drool worthy sizzling pizza with a crispy crust, perfectly baked toppings and loads of cheese was what made our day. To our surprise the bill came out to be so nominal for such a great quantity of food, enough to force us to skip dinner at the hostel.

Today , a year passed and ‘Bistro 57’ still stands untouched at rank ‘one’  on my list of the perfect eateries around Kamla Nagar which has never disappointed me with any of its variety. This rustic yet popular and inexpensive eatery will always remain as the show stopper of our ‘Chatori Lane’.

Shop Name : Bistro 57

Location : Behind McDonald’s  (kamla nagar ) , Jawahar Nagar , New Delhi

Contact number : +91 9560805504

Owner’s name : Sameer Rawat


Sometimes the smallest streets serve the most elite treats. This small gem at Kamla Nagar is a MUST try !
#Bistro57

 

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Chache Di Hatti : A Saviour  from the Mid-lecture Hunger

Did you ever regret skipping breakfast before leaving for college? Ever felt so hungry in between the lectures that your stomach actually sounds like a dying whale? Well , if you are a north campus student at DU and so down with hunger but have nothing more than 50-55 bucks to spare , the mighty chole (chickpea curry) and  bhature ( fluffy deep fried bread made of maida)  comes to your rescue at this small shop at Kamla Nagar called ‘Chache Di Hatti’. It is located at the nukkad of a small street opposite to the keventers .This shop can be a recognized from a certain distance due to the crowd of people waiting in queues to gulp up the drool worthy bhature with some spicy chole and chutney.

Although, you don’t get a huge variety of options at this place which in turn shows the limited options which ‘Chache di Hatti’ is best at. It serves two types of bhature which differ in nothing but the type of stuffing, one is the plain bhatura and other one is the potato stuffed bhatura. According to the owner, this shop is approximately five to six decades old and is carried on by the third generation at present. In its early days, the rates of one serving of chole bhature was as low as 20 rupees and after years passed, the price is still very affordable. When you stand in the queue and look around at the crowd, you will see majority as the college students with backpacks on their back and a proud grin on their face realising how much this place is worth bunking a lecture. There are approximately 6 to 7 staff members standing as the pillars of this most famous joint in the national capital , who are more than swift in taking and preparing orders despite the never ending queue of the crowd.

‘Chache di Hatti’ is at most known for its consistent taste and the  position at which it stands above all peer competitors all around ‘Saddi Dilli’.Some middle aged people standing in the queue can  often be seen looking back to and discussing the good old days and how they used to sneak out of lectures to grab a bite at this joint which is something that tickles nostalgia and gets a smile on their face ,which indeed will continue over generations due to the pride which ‘Chache Di Hatti’ holds due to its consistent and legendary serving of happiness in the form food which makes it so mandatory to visit and become a hardcore fan of.

 

Shop Name : Chache Di Hatti

Address : Kamala Nagar, Opposite lane of Keventers near All Smile dental clinic.

Owner Name : Kamal Kishore

Phone Number :9811389963

 

There isn’t a sadness which cannot be cured by ‘CHOLE BHATURE’ especially when it is served by the most legendary corner of the city.

 

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Jammu Street Food Tour

Jammu Street Food Tour

Situated on the bank of Tawi river, Jammu is the largest city in the Jammu division. Also known as city of temples, Jammu is the focal point for the pilgrims going to Vaisho Devi and Kashmir valley. All my early visits were just to pay my obeisance to Vaishno Devi. However, this time the objective was to explore the local street food. I tied up with Nikhil, a student and a local food enthusiast for the food journey in Jammu. After almost a long drive of 8 hours, stopping at Ludhiana briefly for dinner at the famous chawla’s chicken for cream chicken, we reached Jammu.

The food journey in Jammu started on a sweet note with Jugal Kishore Sharma halwa stall at City Chowk. Priced at Rs 20 per plate, the stall is set up briefly for 3 hours in the morning and people line up just for a plate of sweet suji halwa. The halwa is cooked in pure ghee. The bottom burnt part of the halwa known as Karara is enjoyed by the locals. I loved it too. The charming personality of Jugal Kishore, a big fan of Bollywood films and songs adds another flavour to the halwa. Ask him about any old song, he will tell you the lyricist, musician and singer at once.

Next, we walked to Raghunath Bazar to have the typical North Indian breakfast chole poori at Chhaju di hatti. Aloo Chole sabzi is topped with dahi, onion and pickles to be served with poori.

Mool Ram Tea stall in Raghunath bazar is one of the shops known for bread toast and tea. The warm and crispy charcoal toasted small sized bread is slathered with a thick layer of butter. The charcoal adds a smoky flavour to it. Enjoyed with a hot cup of milk tea, it was a complete breakfast for us.

After having our breakfast and tea in Raghunath bazar, we reached Kacchi Chawani for Kachalu (colocasia) at Girdhari Kachalu wale. Established in 1956, Girdhari’s shop reminded me of Amritsar’s Lubhaya ram aam papad wale. We tried a little bit of all dishes, a mixture of sweet and tangy! We tried kachalu, imly and anardana. Boiled kachalu is sliced and seasoned with tamarind sauce, kalonji, black salt and spices. There are two variants – spicy with red chillies and non-spicy without red chillies. Both imly and anardana are simply served with black salt.

We stopped briefly for banta- lemon drink at Fattu Choughan, Dhani ji di hatti. The walls of the shop are adorned by the who’s who of Jammu and Kashmir.

The highlight of the food exploration for me was Katlama, phenni, sund at a 125 years old establishment – Jalliya di hatti in Jain Bazar. In Delhi’s Nizamuddin area, the katlamas are usually big size paranthas served with halwa. However, in Jammu, Katlama are mostly eaten around Karwa Chauth festival when women fast for their husband.  It is simply made of dough of refined flour (maida) deep fried in clarified butter (ghee). There are two variants of the same- sweet and plain. The plain ones are relished with tea and the sweet ones, usually with milk. Another dish known as sund is similar to panjeeri – a mix of dry fruits and whole wheat flour. Additionally, their chocolate burfi was the best I ever had.

One dish that defines Jammu street food is Kalari Kulcha. Kalari is a dense matured cheese made from buffalo milk. The solid part is packed and sun dried so that it looses the moisture. It tastes similar to mozzarella cheese. I still wonder why it never became popular outside Jammu region. The round shaped kalari is sautéed in its own fat and served with sweet and spicy chutney with bun. We tried kalari kulcha at three different places in Jammu- Pehalwan’s, Sardar di hatti and Ramesh Kachalu. My personal favourite was Ramesh Kachalu in Pacca Danga. At Ramesh kachalu shop, the chutney onion are served separately. One can get the real taste of kalari in it.

For Lunch, we went to 120 years old Nave Shehar wale da dhaba near Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, Pacca Danga. The shop is owned by a humble and kind man, Shri Darshan lal ji. We tried Rajma, dal, matar paneer, anar dane ki chutney, rice, and tandoori roti. The food is all cooked on a wooden fire in traditional utensils like deshka and sagla. Deshka and Sagla are made up of 7 metals, the food cooked in them adds a different flavour all together.

The other place where we tried Rajma was at Banwari’s shop in Raghunath Bazar. Here, I tried quite a unique combination with rajma – that was kulcha or bun. To my surprise it tasted delicious. The small bite size pieces of bun are soaked in the thick gravy of rajma. The bun absorbs the juices and gravy of rajma which makes it delectable. They are topped with onion and anar dana chutney. Although, Banwaril has rice in the menu but the locals prefer kulcha and rajma. One can also ask for fried paneer in the same.

The best sweet shop in Jammu is Pehalwan’s. Established in 1934, the roots of the shop can be traced back to 1920’s when Anant Ram Abrol used to work in a sweet shop owned by his mentor Mani Ram Pahalwan in Machhi Hatta, Lahore. Anant Ram learned the art of making sweets from Pehalwan and opened up his first sweet shop in Jammu in 1934. All the sweets we tried here- dry fruit laddo, anjeer burfi were exceptional.

On the second day, Nikhil invited us to his home for lunch. We had matar paneer, khameera (bread made with yeast), babroo (fried khameera), ambal (pumpkin cooked with tamarind in mustard oil) chana dal (lentils) and aloo paneer (potatoes with cottage cheese).

The food tour in Jammu ended on a meaty note at Residency road. I was joined by my old friends Nisar and Iqbal, the meat lovers, for some barbeque meat, locally known as tujj. The meat pieces are cooked with fat and served with chutney. The most famous shop is Billu da dhaba where one can try kebabs, and tawa fried dishes.

The only disappointment was that we couldn’t try khatta meat at parsuram shop because it was closed for two consecutive days and missed the meat and kulthi di dal.

But it will be a good excuse to visit Jammu soon, craving for more!

 

Anubhav Sapra
Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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Bhubaneswar Food Tour

Bhubaneswar Food Tour

Also known as the city of temples, Bhubaneswar is the capital of Odisha, and one of our final destinations in Odisha.

One name that pops up if you ask any local person for food in Bhubaneswar is Lingaraj Lassi – a highly recommended Lassi shop in Shahid Nagar. The lassi comes in two different variants – simple lassi, priced at 45 and special lassi, priced at 55.

The lassi here was not like the one I have grown up drinking. The making of this lassi is simple- a layer of deep brown rabdi is settled at the bottom of the glass, then the real lassi – yogurt mixed with sugar and pineapple essence – is added over the rabri and finally finished with another layer of rabri, grated coconut and some cherries. I have tried the lassi at many places in India but never seen such big scale operations of this beverage. Infact,  Lingaaj lassi could be the highest lassi seller in India. Big cauldrons of rabri are kept on one side and on the other side are 100s of glasses of lassi. Plastic chairs are kept outside the shop for people to sit and relish the summer drink at leisure.

Interestingly, we also tried bournvita lassi at Arjun tea stall near Mayfair hotel, Jaydev vihar. This was a mix of yogurt, sugar, and grated coconut, topped with bournvita.

Close to Lingaraj lassi shop are many street food carts selling chaat, gupchup and street delicacies. I tried the papdi chaat at Mayaram’s chaat cart. The papdi is layered with spicy mashed potatoes, sev, onion, coconut, peanuts, coriander, and sweet and spicy chutney. Another different take on chaat from north Indian style, there’s no use of yoghurt in this preparation.

I quite loved the khatti culture of Odisha. In every small town throughout India, there are chai addas where people assemble in the morning or evening for a cup of tea to catch up with friends or to discuss every day shenanigans, from their personal life to regional and national politics.

In some cities, the chai addas are known as Tapri. Here in Odisha they call them Khatti. My favourite khatti stall in Bhubaneshwar was Khonah tea stall in Shahid Nagar in the evening and another khatti stall in Old town near mausi maa flyover, where we had a delectable experience filled with mesmerizing chai, and even better conversation.

In the morning, I was joined by a team of food enthusiasts from Bellthebelly blog and coffebites, a tabloid in Bhubaneswar. We started with the traditional breakfast of Odisha- Poori Dalma at the hugely popular eatery near Ram Mandir – Sri Ram Tiffin Centre. The pooris are made up of whole wheat flour and are quite big in size. A highly nutritious dish, dalma is made with lentils and lots of vegetables. The chopped vegetables like green papaya, eggplant, pumpkin are boiled with lentils. Finally, they are tempered with panchphoran (a mix of five spices – fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, and fennel seeds. Dalma goes well with everything, be it rice or bread.

Next stop was Rabi mausa’s bara shop in Unit 6, Ganga Nagar. Not for the faint heart, he puts his fingers in boiling oil to fry the baras. In Delhi, pappu fish shop in Bara Hindu Rao and Ganesh fish shop in karol bagh also do the same. Over the years, their fingers become desensitised and they don’t feel the heat while frying their wares.

The baras, however, were quite different from the other places!  The batter of the baras were mixed with chopped onions. They were served fresh with ghughni.  What I liked the most was his chhena poda. Chhena poda literally means burnt cottage cheese. I liked the burnt outer skin of chhena poda, and can definitely say it was one of the Chena Podas I had in Odisha!

Chakuli, a popular breakfast dish in odisha is served with different combinations of accompaniments. In Cuttack, we tried it with chutney and ghugni. In Bhubaneshwar, we tried it with aloo dum. My favourite still remains Chakuli with chutney at Annapurna mausi’s chakuli shop.

The final stop was chai biskut, an open bikers café where the tea is served in kulhads (earthen cups).  Owned by Nirali, she generously fed us at her home with Baripada style mutton with murmura (puffed rice) besides the chai.

The highlight of the Bhubaneshwar food journey was the traditional Odiya meal at Odisha Hotel. Odisha hotel has two outlets in Bhubaneshwar – Shahid Nagar and Chandrasekharpur. We went to the new one in Chandrasekharpur and were joined by the owner Rajiv Rajveer for lunch. On the recommendation of the owner, I ordered Pakhala, badi chura, mutton kassa, rohi tawa fry, chilika crab, prawn curry, mix bhaja, rice and dal.

The highlight of the meal was Pakhala – a fermented rice dish seasoned with spices, curd and lemon. The boiled rice is strained of starch, and water is added into it, left overnight making the dish ready to be served as breakfast/lunch the next day. A highly nutritious meal for the farmers- it keeps them hydrated because of the water (torani), and the rice provides them energy. Pakhala has now made an entry into both mid-range restarutants to fine dining restaurants across India. It is so popular in Odisha that they celebrate Pakhala diwas on March 20th. Pakhala is mostly accompanied with fried dishes. It is simple but truly delicious.

My other two favourite dishes at Odisha hotel were badi chura and kakharu phula bhaja. Badi is dried lentils cake, crushed and seasoned with garlic and onion. Kakharu phula bhaja are pumpkin flower fritters. I loved pakhala with these two combinations.

The same evening, we were warmly welcomed at Alka Jena’s home to taste a wide and splendid array of Odiya pithas. A food blogger and photographer at www.culinaryexpress.com, she made us experience the following-

Poda Pitha  made  with rice flour, black gram,jaggery, dry fruits along with spices such as ginger,cardamom  and cloves which is part of a special festival in Odisha called Raja .

Kakara Pitha- made with wheat flour/semolina for the outer covering with a filling made from coconut and jaggery.

Arisa Pitha, which is mainly made during odia marriages is the most popular delicacy made from rice flour, jaggery, desi ghee and sesame seeds. This pitha is crisp from outside and soft from inside. It is also known as Ghee Pitha as it mainly made with desi ghee.

Manda Pitha, which is another variety of pitha made during Manabasa Gurubar Puja held in the holy month of Margashir. The traditional variety uses steamed rice flour for outer covering and coconut and jaggery for the stuffing.

Chinchu patarapitha, which are needle thin pancakes made from a batter of rice flour, and made with a muslin cloth in place of a laddle to come up with the super soft pancakes.

Muan pitha, which are steamed rice and lentil cakes made with turmeric ginger and green chili and tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves and served with chutney.

I got to try another kind of pitha – Enduri Pitha, at a magnificent property Kila Daljoda. The pitha was wrapped in turmeric leaves and served with date palm, jaggery, and coconut chutney. It is made during Prathamashtmi- a celebration of the eldest child in the family.

The most incredible and incomparable experience was of having prasad at ananta Vasudeva temple in the old town of Bhubaneshwar. The temple is easily accessible by all. One can also see the prasad preparations inside the temple and purchase them at anand bazar. Anand bazar is a part of the temple where prasad can be purchased from different food stalls. The food is served on dried leaves and in clay cups.

And the last stop in Bhubaneswar was Nimapada sweets in bapuji nagar. Here we tried the famous chhena jhilli – fried cottage cheese dipped in thin sugar syrup, which was the perfect end to this delicious journey!

Anubhav Sapra
Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.
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Pan Asian at its Best

The sleepy vicinity of Ansal Plaza has seen a dramatic overhaul over the last few years. My childhood was filled with innumerable unwilling shopping visits to this erstwhile godforsaken mall so it’s a welcome change to treat myself to some well-deserved delicious food several years later.

Walking into Triple 8 gives a distinct feeling of entering a theatre. The soft reds of the walls and the dim greys of the shadows sit comfortably on the eyes and offset the vibrancy of the flavours on the plate.

Our first course was a 5 Spiced Goat Brain Tempura with Spicy Mayonnaise. I have always been squeamish about offal and avoid it at all costs but I believe I am a convert. The crunch on the outside was expected but the cloud like consistency on the inside was a game changer. I knew I was in for a wonderful evening. We were then graced with two pork dishes which had both been braised and cooked for 6 hours – the Chilean Pork Spare Ribs Krapow with Red Chillies and Basil and the Pork Belly Yaki-Tori with a Spiced Miso Glaze. They were well balanced, crispy skinned and yum.

The attention to detail at Triple 8 is striking. The meat is meticulously chosen, often locally sourced, (along with spices) to promote sustainable farming while never compromising on quality. One of the dimsum dishes for example is made with Himalayan morels instead of truffles and I recommend you to try it over any of its meat brethren. The Head Chef, Vivek Rana who hails from the likes of Indian Accent in New York and Oberoi, not only loves his produce but also has a keen eye for interiors. The walls are adorned with monochromatic images of the restaurant’s food, the kind that leave you salivating even while you’re eating it. The bar which will hopefully soon have alcohol flowing from it is a thing of beauty.

Meanwhile, the food continued to amaze. Chicken Winglets Skewered with Pineapple had the right amount of barbecued Pineapple on the stick. I ofcourse, fall squarely in the pro-Pineapple bucket – in pizzas, chickens and life in general.

One can’t not eat sushi when in a restaurant like this, and so we did – a Sashimi and Nigiri Platter. It looked like a fish garden, if there ever were to be one. This was followed by Lamb Shank Malaca with Fried Mantao Bun. The bun was a tinge sweet and so exquisitely soft that it left us wanting more even in our inflated-bellied state. We ended the meal with a heady combination of Night Market Custard Bun and a Sticky Pudding Caramelized Banana.

Pan Asian food has always been home for me but it is rare to find a place with as much care and love for its food as Triple 8. To say that I had a good evening would be a disservice. I live for evenings like this and am already planning excuses to go back.

 

Location: 1st Floor, Ansal Plaza, New Delhi
Meal for Two: Rs. 3,000

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

Puri

Located on the eastern coast of India, Puri is one of the main pilgrimage centre for Hindus.

Just a few kilometres before you enter the temple town of Puri, there is a small village, Chandanpur, famous for its breakfast of Chura Kadamb with Dalma.

We stopped at Hotel Padmalaya this very meal. Chura (flattened rice) is soaked in water, kneaded like dough and mixed with rabri and chhena. I have grown up eating chura with dahi. This was the first time I tried chura with chhena and rabri. Truly, a heavenly combination. Chura kadamb is served with dalma – lentils cooked with lots of vegetable. It was one of the best breakfasts we had in Odisha!

Next we stopped at Battamangla hotel for Singhara and Dalma with a cup of chai. The chai was quite different from any of the other places in Odisha. It was topped with a thick layer of rabri. We also visited the kitchen and oversaw the preparation of dalma and singhara. Singhara is equivalent to samosa in Delhi but the filling is quite different here. The Singhara here had cubical size potatoes tempered with panch phoran stuffed in it. Honestly, we liked it  a little better than delhi style samosas. Dalma is something which can be relished with anything. In Bhubaneswar we had it with poori, in Chandanpur with chura kadamb and in Puri with singhara.

Finally after making our entry into the temple town, we straightaway headed to Jagannath temple. Camera/mobile phones are not allowed inside the temple complex. After paying our obeisance at the main temple, we took a Rs 5  ticket for a tour of temple kitchen. One cannot enter the main cooking area but can see the cooking from the wall windows. The food is cooked on a wood fire. There are around 700 cooks employed by the temple to prepare the meals. There are separate group of people to cut the vegetables. Once the prasad is cooked, it is sold at Anand Bazar, a separate space in the temple complex. We tried some of the dishes and loved them! The experience here overpowers the taste of the food.

At the western gate of the temple, Shankar sweets is the most popular sweet shop. We tried some of the traditional dishes here. The main prasad at Puri is Khaja. It comprises of a layered fried white flour dough soaked in sugar syrup, and is super yummy!

The oldest shop in the area is Nrusingha Sweets. Established in 1945, the shop is in Khajapati or Khaja Lane, Balishahi. There are many shops named after Nrusingha sweets.

In the evening, we went to Puri beach near swargdwar to try out some sea food. There are lines of stalls selling rolls, fried sea fish, crab, lobster, pomfret etc. They first wrap the fish in turmeric and salt, and half fry it. Hereafter the fish is finally wrapped in gunpowder and deep fried. The result is an excelled salty crispy fried fish. We tried the fried pomfret with chilly sauce.

Close to the beach, jhalmudi – a mix snack made with puffed rice is commonly available.

On the way back to the temple in the evening from swargdwar, we spotted a shop by the name Bula sweets. He was making fresh sev and boondi. It reminded us of our childhood days. We used to eat sev boondi and dahi. Sev is savoury fried chickpea flour noodles. It goes well with sweet and syrupy boondi, made again with chickpea flour, and dipped in sugar syrup. We also tried gaja – a close cousin of khaja- the only difference being it is not layered, but is just cubical shaped refined flour dough, deep fried and dunked in sugar syrup. It was moist and flaky inside but crunchy on the outside. 

Outside the main entrance of Jagannath temple, there is a food cart that sells matar ka paani in the evening. It is the broth of chickpeas seasoned with spices. The chickpeas are boiled on a wooden fire which adds a smoky flavour to the broth. It reminded us of lotanji chole kulche shop in Old Delhi. On a plate, the cart owner first crushes the black and green chillies, adds some broth of the chickpeas and sprinkles it with spices. Finally, it is served in steel bowls. It was a bit spicy but indeed flavourful!

After having matar ka paani we tried papuri or malai poori at one of the sweet shops in khaja street. Simply put, it is the thick cream of buffalo milk sprinkled with sugar. Buffalo milk is used because of its high fat content. Once the milk is boiled, it is laid to rest so that the cream is formed on the top. Once cooled, the milk is boiled again, and the process is repeated till a thick layer of cream is formed. Finally, with the help of twigs the cream is picked and put on a dried leaf plate- sprinkled with sugar and cut into pieces.

Our last stop in Puri was Chungwah restaurant- the only restaurant in Puri run by a Chinese family. The restaurant was packed by the time we reached there. We were so full with all the street food that we just ordered chungwah special soup- a mix of prawns and chicken soup and cantonese style noodles served with half fried eggs.

On the way back to Bhubaneswar, we stopped briefly at Konark, the sun temple, finally making our journey to the last stop – Nimapada, the birthplace of Chhena Jhilli. The name of the shop we visited here is Patitapaban sweets stall, started by Artabandhu Sahoo. Chhena jhilli is deep fried cottage cheese soaked in sugar syrup with a hint of cardamom in it.

The perfect sweet note to end our journey in Puri!

Anubhav Sapra
Anubhav Sapra is an avid foodie! He is a Founder but proudly calls himself a Foodie-in-chief at Delhi Food Walks. He is also a street-food and Indian regional cuisine connoisseur and loves to write about street-food.