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Madan Lal Halwai

madan lal halwai

Madan Lal Halwai

By Anubhav Sapra

 

DFW is doing a series on 50 must-eats  to find out those real hidden gems on the streets of Delhi. The third in the series is Madan Lal Halwai in Sadar Thana Road, Sadar Bazar. One of the oldest halwai shops in Old Delhi, the eatery was started in 1948 by Late Madan Lal. Currently run by Chaman Lal and his son Manish Sethi, the family migrated to Delhi after partition and started the halwai shop in Sadar Bazar. Chaman lal ji has a pleasant personality and he fed me generously, the day I visited the place.

madan lal halwai
Madan lal halwai

As you enter the shop, on the left hand side is the cooking area where fresh pooris and other snacks are cooked. The menu changes from morning to evening. The day starts with poori and sabzi while the afternoons are filled with the regular servings of snacks like samosa, Moong Dal Ladoo etc.

The eatery is more popular for breakfast dishes that includes Poori stuffed with dal pitthi, served with Aloo and Chhole ki sabzi and the highlight is the seasonal pickle you get with the poori sabzi plate. I was fortunate to try Lounji ka achar – sweet mango pickles with fennel seeds and Kachalu ka Achar. I loved the combination of sweet mango pickles and savoury Kachalu ka Achar. The preparation is completely prepared in Desi ghee. Although a winter speciality, I guess, this is the only place in Delhi where you can savour Dal ka Halwa round the year. The Ghee in the halwa was not overflowing and the sugar was just perfect. As I reached there in the afternoon, I got a chance to try fresh Samosas.

The style of making samosas in Old Delhi is completely different from other parts of Delhi.  The big-size pieces of potatoes are deep fried and then mixed with spices to be stuffed in the dough. At other places, it is mostly boiled potatoes- mashed up and mixed with spices. I quite like the fried version of potato stuffing.

We rounded our food journey at Madan Lal Halwai with Moong Dal ka Halwa, Patisa, Gulabjamun and Lassi. All of the sweets were excellent. The square shaped pieces of burfi were big in size, quite uncommon at other sweet shops.

The 50 must eats in Delhi series is taking us at different food places. It is the journey to explore our food heritage and recognize the efforts of people who make this food more special.  If you have any recommendations to be included in the list, please write to us at delhifoodwalks@gmail.com and follow the #50musteatsindelhi journey on www.facebook.com/delhifoodwalks  and www.instagram.com/delhifoodwalks

 

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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Ghewar Trail in Sonepat

Ghewar Trail in Sonepat

By Anubhav Sapra

It started with a query on the Delhi Food Walks Facebook page and Instagram  – “Where do you get the best ghewar in Delhi?”  Most of the respondents answered unanimously Chaina Ram in Fatehpuri chowk as the best ghewar. The second most popular recommendation, however piqued our interest with the answer being Sonepat. After a brief interaction with ghewar lovers on social media listing out all the known places in Sonepat for Ghewar,  I headed on a ghewar trail last Sunday from Delhi to Sonepat. A good friend of mine, Naman helped me in exploring the places in Sonepat.

Ghewar is a traditional monsoon sweet dish, popular in Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh. The basic ingredients are all purpose flour, sugar, milk and ghee. First you will need to make a thin smooth batter using refined flour and milk. Next you slowly pour the batter into a ‘kadhai’ or a wok of boiling ghee or Vanaspati, all the while separating the fried batter to the side of the cooking utensil. Once fried, it is dipped in sugar syrup or it can simply be poured on top and drained with the help of a wire mesh.

 There are different varieties of ghewar-  kesar ghewar ( flavoured with saffron ), milk ghewar ( the batter is made using milk ), malai or mawa ghewar ( a layer of mawa/rabri is added over the top  of the ghewar and garnished with dry fruits ) white ghewar ( simple ghewar – the batter is made with water with no milk in it). The sizes and shapes also vary– some of them are heart shaped while other could be round or squared; simply achieved by using different moulds and the sizes could vary from small to the huge ‘fit for a king’ kind.

Ghewar, Shaant sweets, snoept
Shaant sweets, Sonepat

The Ghewar trail in Sonepat started with Shaant sweets corner. The shop is located inside a lane on Geeta Bhawan chowk. I tried a medium sized Kesar- Mawa Ghewar garnished with raisins, pistachios and chironji. This one was a mouthful of sugar, sugar and sugar. The ‘mithas’ or sweetness was literally dripping out of the ghewar.

Next I moved to the Sonepat bus stand where a number of ghewar shops are lined next to each other. Some of the shops were selling jeans and ghewar at the same place. Such is the popularity of Ghewar in Sonepat. Most of the shops have enormous ghewars there. The rooftops were like ghewar factories producing ghewars by the kilos (probably tonnes). The whole place was working in an assembly line like production- On one corner, a man was pouring the batter of ghewar in a big khadai filled with boiling ghee. The next in line was dipping the ghewar in sugar syrup- ready to be sold to customers. I tried a small bite from the king size ghewar. It was again too sweet to me. The quality and price is less compared to other ghewar shops keeping in mind the moving customer from different district and the shops close proximity to bus stand. We stopped midway at Triloki halwai. Here the barfi is what caught my fancy instead of the ghewar we were really out to taste, but hey Sonepat is a hub for mithai.

R K Sweets, Sonepat
R K Sweets, Sonepat

Next, we went to the one shop recommended by everyone – R K Sweets in Subhash Chowk. The shop started with selling pakodas but have now diversified into Ghewar. Although they still have a pakodas stall outside the main shop but R K sweets has now become synonymous with ghewar in Sonepat. To compare the taste, we sticked to malai ghewar here as well. It tasted heavenly- not too syrupy plus the quality of the batter and the consistency was really good and again the same toppings except chironji.

Sunder Misthan
Sunder Mishthan, Sonepat

We thought that our search for the best Ghewar in Sonipat ended with this but we had picked one more place; Sunder mishtan bhandar in bara bazar. Tucked in the busy lane of Sonipat, the place is known for its quality sweets. At the entrance, one man is seen frying the ghewar, while another is adding the sugar syrup and mawa over it and then finally sprinking a generous helping of dry fruits – mainly chironji, almonds and pistachios. This was the best ghewar I had in Sonepat- one, it was fresh. Two, it was not too sweet, the sugar was completely drained out of it. Three, it was crisp and soft at the same time-that shows that it was fried just perfectly. Four, the quality of mawa was excellent, slightly grainy – adding a nice texture to the ghewar. Five, the almonds, chironji and pistachios were a better quality than the previous shops.

 

After a day of doing what I love best and stuffed to the throat, I returned home happily, finally; carrying loads of Ghewar with the belief that Sonepat should be hailed as a Ghewar district of Haryana.

 

 

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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Eating My Way Through Amritsar: Day 3

This article was first published in Huffpost. Link to the blogpost- http://www.huffingtonpost.in/anubhav-sapra/eating-my-way-through-amritsar-day-3_a_23044828/

Eating My Way Through Amritsar: Day 3

Ending on a high note.

By Anubhav Sapra, Founder, Delhi Food Walks

 

Punjabi food, like its culture, is very hard to ignore especially in Amritsar, the golden heart of the land of butter and celebration. The flavours are just like its people, loud and in your face but in a very good way. We went on a food adventure spanning over three days in the land of the gurus and stuffed our faces with the most beautiful, delicious and rich dishes we could find on the streets of Amritsar. Read about day 1 here and day 2 here.

Day 3

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It is something we have all been taught. And so we took it literally with some authentic Amritsari kulchas. We started with Kulwant Kulcha. The place is ideal for those who like their kulcha really flaky, crisp and lightly spiced. Then there is All India Famous Kulcha Wala, which has been in business since 1989. The shop is owned by Sucha Singh ji and is managed by his son Ponty Singh. The kulcha dough is rolled into seven layers and then stuffed with aloo and paneer filling and half cooked. When someone places the order, the cook handling the tandoor applies water on one side and sticks it in the tandoor. Like Kulwant’s this kulcha was flaky, crisp and subtly spiced. They also have another outlet called Kulchaland which has a more restaurant-like setup. But for me, Ashok Kulche Wala rules the Amritsari Kulcha chart with perfect spicing putting its offerings a cut above the rest (I’ve already described it in some detail here). One can walk in to his open kitchen and see the steps involved in making a perfect kulcha. This is what I liked best about Amritsar. The people here are open hearted and there are no secrets—one can easily walk in to any restaurant’s kitchen. Amritsaris love feeding people and the owners themselves are involved in cooking.

The people here are open hearted and there are no secrets—one can easily walk in to any restaurant’s kitchen.

ANUBHAV SAPRA

Next up was Surjit Food Plaza at Nehru Shopping Complex, Lawrence Road. An interesting thing about Amritsar’s food joints is that though some look quite modern and fancy, the food they serve is authentic and traditional. From the outside, Surjit looks like the kind of place I can’t usually afford, but the food has not lost its Amritsari soul. I asked for tawa chicken pulao, which I could see being prepped from behind a big glass wall by none other than the owner, Amarjit Singh. He mixed ghee as well as butter into the chicken and then added boiled rice into the mixture. The tawa chicken pulao is garnished with ginger and coriander. The flavourful rice balances the soft pieces of chicken.They have served their food to who’s who of India. They even have a picture album which one can ask for to see the pictures of celebrities dining at the restaurant. But what caught my attention was the modest beginnings of the restaurant. Starting from a small khopcha, it is full-fledged restaurant today with modern facilities.

ANUBHAV SAPRA

A foodie friend, Girish, sends me screenshots of food joints on WhatsApp all the time, often giving me valuable leads. While I was in Amritsar, he sent a screenshot of Giani Tea Stall, established in 1955. The place is famous for its breakfast dishes, especially kachoris, but since I couldn’t make it in time for a morning meal I had to satisfy myself with an omelette and special spiced tea. The tea maker, Ajay, who hails from Pathankot has been working at Giani’s for 15 years. I tried the spiced tea with saffron, cardamom and almonds (₹35 per cup). Next time, when I visit I will make it a point to start my day with his kachoris.

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On the recommendation of another recommendation, we went to Pal Dhaba near Hathi Gate for lunch. We tried magaz, kharode and mutton tikka. The dishes were similar to what we had at Prakash (see here) but super delicious. The kharode, in particular, amazed me. Unlike the soupy Delhi variety, it was thick and unctuous. The pieces of goat feet are boiled in water and then added to a stock-based gravy later. It’s delicious with tandoori rotis. On the table next to us, a group of people from Delhi were having mutton tikka with buttery white sesame naan. I couldn’t resist ordering the same dish. The mutton tikka is again cooked in spices and served in thick gravy. The naan is so delicious that it can be savoured alone without any sauce or curry.

ANUBHAV SAPRA
ANUBHAV SAPRA

This was exactly what we were exactly waiting for—a high note with which to end our amazing food journey. Needless to say we’ll be going back for more.

10 Cooking Tips For Indian Bachelors By Saransh Goila
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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From Kulchas to Chaamps To Aam Papad: Eating My Way Through Amritsar

THE BLOG

From Kulchas to Chaamps To Aam Papad: Eating My Way Through Amritsar

Day 2.

This article was first published in Huffpost. Here is the link – https://tinyurl.com/y9c9cgx5

ANUBHAV SAPRA

Punjabi food, like its culture, is very hard to ignore especially in Amritsar, the golden heart of the land of butter and celebration. The flavours are just like its people, loud and in your face but in a very good way. We went on a food adventure spanning over three days in the land of the gurus and stuffed our faces with the most beautiful, delicious and rich dishes we could find on the streets of Amritsar. Read about day 1 here.

Day 2

On the second day of our food expedition, we woke up to the aroma of deep fried imarti. It was the day of Baisakhi, which marks the start of the Sikh New Year along with the formation of the Khalsa Panth. And sweets are a hallmark of the celebration.

ANUBHAV SAPRA

Pooris for breakfast

Breakfast meant sampling wares from two Amritsar mainstays, starting with Kanhaiya Lal on Lawrence Road, where we sampled a fried poori made of maida and atta (in a 70:30 proportion) stuffed with a little dal pitthi. The poori is served with sweet and tangy aloo lounji, chane ki sabzi, another savoury aloo sabzi and carrot pickles. I also tried another interesting dish called satpura—a puffed pastry (with seven layers) filled with dal ki pitthi, and served with lounji and chane. Incidentally, a similar dish called the Japani samosa is available in Old Delhi’s Manohar Dhaba. The difference is that this “samosa” is filled with mashed potatoes and served with chane and lauki achaar.

Amritsar changed my conception of the ‘nutri kulcha’ and showed me what the Delhi version was missing.

We then moved on to Kanha Sweets that serves pooris that are quite similar to Kanhaiya Lal’s—the only thing missing is the savoury aloo sabzi. Kanha Sweets also sell aam pickle, stuffed matthi and besan matthi (this last is a boon for those with a gluten allergy).

A note on aam papad

Among the most enticing of all the places I visited was Lubhaya Ram, famous for aam papad. They have two outlets—the first one is a proper shop with jars and packed boxes of aam papad and the other one is a cart, right next to the DAV girls’ college.

The owner of the shop, a big-time foodie has all the information on the best eating joints in Amritsar. The way he makes the aam papad platter is a sight to see—small pieces of all the different varieties of aam papad and anar goli are placed on a plate and then given a squeeze of lemon. Next comes a sprinkling of a 12-spice mix, white salt and black salt. The taste is simply out of the world—sweet and tangy at the same time. You can see why Amritsar needs this tasty digestive bit in a corner after you have sampled the heavy deliciousness of Kanhaiya Lal.

The breadbasket of India

Amritsar is sometimes called the Breadbasket of India. I tried kulcha at three places in the city—Ashok Kulche Wala at Ranjit Avenue, All India Famous Kulcha Wala at Chungi, and Kulwant Kulcha Wala near Golden Temple.

But first let me explain how an Amritsari kulcha is unique.

The first rule is that each layer of the dough is spread with ghee. The second is that the kulcha is always stuffed with spices ranging from pomegranate seeds to raw coriander seeds. The layered dough is filled with a mixture of aloo or paneer, or anything else and then put in the tandoor, where it gets crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. A generous helping of butter is applied over the kulchas, which are devoured with chana, spring onion and amchur chutney. The chutney is a mix of tamarind, green mangoes, spring onion and spices. Out of the three kulcha places.

The uniqueness of the chicken at Beera is in the softness rather than the crispiness that’s sought after elsewhere in north India.

I found Ashok’s to be the best kulcha in terms of authenticity and taste.

At Ashok, for the mix kulcha, mashed potatoes are combined with cauliflower mix, paneer mix, coriander seeds, fenugreek leaves, black pepper and other spices. Then are added yogurt, ghee, red chilies and salt. This combination is stuffed in the kulcha, which is placed in the oven to cook. Once it emerges, it is slathered with butter and is ready to be savoured.

At All India Famous Kulcha, the pre-made mixture is simply stuffed in the dough and cooked in the tandoor. While all India and Kulwant served crisper kulchas, Ashok’s spices elevated the dish. Ashok has been in business for 36 years. The shop is open from 9 am to 2:30 pm.

ANUBHAV SAPRA

Next on our agenda was the bija kulcha (the word bija in Punjabi means wet). Iqbal our food guide in the city took us to a place called Pappi di Hatti. The yeast kulchas (bo kulchas) are dipped in chickpeas topped with chopped onion, juliennes of ginger, green chutney, and amla pickles. The kulcha soaks the gravy of chickpeas and becomes soft and flavourful. The wooden containers in which the chickpeas are kept are 15 years old.

ANUBHAV SAPRA

Being a Delhiite, I have tasted cuisines from all over India in this multicultural city. Thus, I’d already sampled a “nutri kulcha” at Shalimar Bagh in Delhi when I decided to see how Amritsar’s version compared. Amritsar changed my conception of the dish and showed me what the Delhi version was missing. In Delhi, it was a normal kulcha with butter and soya granules mixed with spices. Here in Amritsar, the nutri was tawa-fried with capsicum and onions in spinach gravy. A fried piece of paneer was crushed over the nutri and the entire concoction was served with butter. It tasted heavenly. I had nutri also with bhaturas, a unique and delish combination.

Desi hot dog

Having tried the famed chaat in Varanasi, Lucknow and Delhi, I was not that excited to try the chaat in Amritsar. However, Brijwasi is everyone’s favourite go-to go chaat place. The family that migrated from Mathura still serves chaat and other dishes without onion and garlic. They have an interesting desi-style hot dog—the footlong bun is fried in vanaspati and then smeared with methi chutney or saunth on one side and green chutney on the other. A single piece of crushed tikki makes the filling. Interestingly at Brijwasi, they don’t add sweet or green chutney on the papri or bhalle unless expressly asked to do so.

ANUBHAV SAPRA

Soul food

Since I was there on the day of Baisakhi, the harvest festival of Punjab, even the long queues at the gates of the Golden Temple couldn’t deter me from seeking the blessings for an auspicious year.

The roti-making machine is said to make 6000-9000 rotis in an hour. Men and women put ghee over the rotis to keep them soft.

Another big draw is the langar, an important part of Sikh tradition, where anyone can walk in and eat the simple and soulful food. It is a community kitchen where the followers sit in a row and are fed by volunteers who come in to do “seva”. As you enter, on the left hand side is the roti-making machine which they say makes 6000-9000 rotis in an hour. Men and women put ghee over the rotis to keep them soft. On the right hand side is the dishwashing unit—volunteers washing the soiled plates and spoons. At the rear is the main cooking area, where the food is cooked. I have never seen such a big cauldron in my life. There is no chef—the food is cooked by volunteers and sewadars. And what comes out is delicious dal that one can taste nowhere else. On special occasions, kheer and halwa is made for the followers. This institution is responsible for feeding hundred of homeless people in the city.

Chaamps and chicken

Now, one of the food explorers in our group was a vegetarian. So, before moving to the popular Beera Chicken, we stopped at Hathi Gate at Lovely Chaamp. The chaamps, made up of maida and soya are given different shapes, marinated in different spices and then grilled over charcoal. The spices are similar to those that are used in meat preparation. The most interesting out of all the soya champs was the completely veg fish champ—a fish-shaped patty made of soya and spices that are used in making Amritsari champ. (In Delhi, we have our own versions for vegetarians—deep-fried kurkure champs and Afghani ones with white creamy sauce). I loved the way creativity is inculcated in food. The Amritsari folks do not compromise on the taste and meaty texture even in vegetarian food.

Next up was Beera Chicken on Majeetha Road, where several customers ordered their food from inside their car and ate there too—Delhi-style! The shop has a sitting section too, though. Balbir, the owner, manages the restaurant, while his son takes care of the grill counter.

The chicken is first marinated in secret spices, half cooked and finally grilled straight over a griddle. One can also ask for tandoori chicken—the same chicken is cooked in a clay tandoor.

The uniqueness of the chicken is in the softness rather than the crispiness that’s sought after elsewhere in north India. It tasted heavenly. The other recommended dish at Beera is keema naan. Minced mutton is stuffed in the dough and cooked inside the tandoor. Loads of delicious butter is spread over it. While I am usually a little more careful about my butter consumption, in Punjab you gotta do as the Punjabis do. The naan is served with chutney, onions and a mutton curry that is so delicious that I slurped it straight from the bowl.

We ended our second day with Prakash which was a big disappointment. I tried magaj (brain curry), chaamp and mutton tikka. Apart from the champ (minced meat deep-fried in ghee) the other two dishes were nothing to write home about. When we visited the shop construction for a bar section was in full swing. Maybe it was just a bad day for them or maybe they have moved away from their roots—who knows?

Unable to eat a morsel more, we ended the night with digestive tablets, hoping for a grand day three to end our food expedition on a high note.

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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Mister Chai

 Mister Chai

By Anubhav Sapra

While you have been scrolling through your instagram feed this monsoon, I am sure the photos of Pakoda, samosa, bun maska and chai have been popping up as the rains envelope India. It does  make, one yearn for some spicy and warm food. My own all time favourite monsoon snack has been roasted corn or bhutta with lemon and masala.

With snacks, a cup of regular local milk chai or cutting chai with different spice flavours- elaichi, cinnamon or a simple masala chai makes the small difference between a chai on a regular day and the one on a rainy day. The street side tea served in a traditional glass or kulhad with steam coming out of it is the only thing that has been able to encompass the wet and cozy feeling you yearn for .

The monsoon menu at Mister Chai, the tea restaurant at Shangrila’s Eros hotel is trying to take this feeling from the street side and serve it to you while you look out at the damp roads from your own luxurious cocoon.The menu is beautifully curated by Chef Neeraj Tyagi keeping intact the local flavours but like always with a twist.

Our monsoon journey began with a cutting chai served in a traditional chai ki tapri. The rusks in a small tin accompanied the tea. The idea of dipping the rusks into the tea to soak the flavours is a classic street thing across India.

Next, I tried the spicy keema and potato pakodas served with sweet and tangy chutney. The usual bread pakoda is stuffed with mashed potatoes and keema. The assorted pakoda platter served on a toy cart had aloo, paneer, palak and mirchi pakodas. The best part of it all was that it was not oily. The chef revealed that the pakodas are fried twice so that it doesn’t absorb much oil.

The highlight of the monsoon menu was the Kulcha. The traditional amristari aloo kulchas , served on a wooden taco stand were filled with pulled jackfruit and goat’s cheese. I am sure it will taste delicious with pulled pork as well. The texture of jackfruit added a meaty texture and compliments with the softness of aloo kulchas. Really loved the combination!

Some of the other dishes on the monsoon menu are bhutta(steamed and char grilled served with Cajun spice, herb butter and lime ) Akuri Toast (Parsi scrambled egg), and the popular delhi’s  special street food – Ram ladoo.

The monsoon menu is available every day at Mister Chai from 11 am to 9 pm till 31st August.

Address: Lobby Level, Shangri-La’s – Eros Hotel, New Delhi, 19 Ashoka Road, Connaught Place, New Delhi – 110001

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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Utterly Butterly Punjabi: Eating My Way Through Amritsar- Day 1

This blog was first published in Huffpost. Here is the link – http://www.huffingtonpost.in/anubhav-sapra/utterly-butterly-punjabi-eating-my-way-through-amritsar_a_23033274/

THE BLOG

Utterly Butterly Punjabi: Eating My Way Through Amritsar

Day 1.

By Anubhav Sapra, Founder, Delhi Food Walks

Punjabi food, like its culture, is very hard to ignore especially in Amritsar, the golden heart of the land of butter and celebration. The flavours are just like its people, loud and in your face but in a very good way. We went on a food adventure spanning over three days in the land of the gurus and stuffed our faces with the most beautiful, delicious and rich dishes we could find on the streets of Amritsar.

Day 1

Last time when I visited Amritsar, I made it a point to make Kesar da dhaba my first food stop. Let me tell you, I have been exploring street food since my school days—so much so that I made a profession out of it—but the excitement entering this old gem that was established in 1916 gave me an adrenaline rush like no other joint ever has.

       The one thing I learnt is that even though many food joints will look modern from the outside but the cuisine is still Amritsari at heart.

As you enter, the table and benches are lined up; there is another sitting area opposite the road where air coolers offer some respite from the heat. The dhaba has seen the ownership of four generations of the same family and a huge kitchen has developed over time with a separate section for frying and boiling of the kali dal, the one thing that made the legacy of this place what it is today. The original brass degh used by the first owners is still in use to boil the kali dal. The dal is boiled for 12 hours intermittently and stirred by the cook to check the consistency. Once the dal is boiled, it is passed on to next section where it is given tadka in ghee with onion and spices.

I ordered the parantha thali (₹245 ) which comes with two ghee-laden lachcha paranthas, kali dal with ghee floating over it, chole and raita with big pieces of boondi, onion and pickles. It’s not a dish that I would recommend to the faint hearted—like everything else in Amritsar. You should bring an appetite to rival the years of culinary habits that developed to feed the warriors of India.

ANUBHAV SAPRA

Next, we stopped at Giani Punjabi Lassi. A lassi shop that has been in existence since 1927, it has pictures of film actors and the wrestler Khali devouring the big steel glass of lassi. Dhurandar Singh, the owner of the shop claimed that Khali had six glasses of his makhan-topped lassi. Being a lassi fan, I have tasted lassi across different places in India from Varanasi to Mathura (lassi connoisseuring is the next big thing after wine). The one we tried at Giani’s was a unique peda lassi. Four-six pedas are crushed in a brass container that has been in use since 1927. It is then with the help of a wooden blender churned to separate butter from the peda and the leftover water is used to make lassi with fresh yoghurt. Once the lassi is made, the butter is added back to the lassi. It was a different experience, and perfectly. symbolic of the land of butter and ghee. A glass of lassi is yours for ₹75 and the shop is opposite Regency Cinema.

My food guide, Gur Iqbal, a final year student of Khalsa College took us to the telephone exchange where street food carts are lined up selling tawa dishes. We stopped at Bau Paneer Bhurji Shop (also known as Tara Chand Paneer Bhurji). The place has only two dishes on the menu—paneer bhurji and sandwich. Paneer bhurji is a scrambled paneer fried in butter with spices. Firstly, 70-80 gm of butter is added in a pan; into this go chopped onions, tomato, ginger. Now, the secret thick red paste, a mix of chick pea flour, red chillies and garlic is mixed and finally a big slice of paneer is crushed into the mixture. What comes out is a delicious, buttery paneer bhurji to be devoured with a slice of white bread and chutney.

ANUBHAV SAPRA

Another dish, a revelation of sorts, was the sandwich. It comprises a slice of bread deep-fried in Amul yellow butter. Over this, channe is spread and with it slices of paneer, onions, tomato which is then fried in butter. It was again as if eating just butter. It was also served with green coriander chutney. I met this one person who claimed to have been eating the same bhurji for the last 25 years and no the flavours had never changed.

Day 1 of our journey ended in the land of butter and celebration, making us ache not with heartburn but a taste for more.

Finally we reached at King Kulfa cart owned by Prakash at Katra Jaimal Singh. Kulfa can best be described as a layered dessert. It has phirni-rabri kulfi-gond qateera (gond qateera itself has no taste, but is popular among Amritsaris in summer because of its cooling properties) faluda and is topped with rabri, sugar syrup and kewra. It’s sweet no doubt about it but it is one of those things that you cannot miss on a food pilgrimage in the land of milk and makkhan.

ANUBHAV SAPRA

Walking down further we reached Katra Ahluwalia, also famously known as Jalebi-wala chowk, because of Guru Ram Das Jalebi. The shop is famous for hot and crisp syrupy jalebis and soft gulab jamuns. What makes it special is the small pieces of jalebi fried in ghee and dipped in sugar syrup.

As the evening progressed, it was time to sate the carnivore in me. We reached the legendary Makhan Fish Shop, which started life as a roadside cart in 1962 but is now a full-fledged air-conditioned restaurant with a beer bar next to it. We ordered a plate of fried fish—a simple but truly delectable dish which was first coated in a batter made of chickpea flour with Ajwain and deep fried in mustard oil. The one thing I learnt is that even though many food joints will look modern from the outside but the cuisine is still Amritsari at heart. I also tried mutton tikka with bo wale kulcha (bo in Punjabi means smelly). But don’t worry, it’s not really smelly. Kiran who runs an Instagram micro blog by the name “wakhrapunjab” informed me that it was the taste of yeast in it that gave it its name. It really went well with succulent pieces of mutton.

I got to know from the rickshaw puller about another Makhan Fish Shop on Lawrence Road. I went there as well the same evening so that the taste could be compared. The shop started a couple of years back after the current owner returned from abroad. The fish was double fried with a thick batter of chickpeas. At the other shop in Majitha Road, it was lightly flavoured and smelt-in-the-mouth soft. I was not that impressed with the Lawrence Road shop. It might be because he saw us clicking pictures that he over-fried it. Next time, I will make it a point to visit without the camera.

And that is how Day 1 of our journey ended in the land of butter and celebration, making us ache not with heartburn but a taste for more.

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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CHINA KITCHEN- HYATT REGENCY

CHINA KITCHEN- HYATT REGENCY

By Prakriti Bhat

Hyatt has been serving its patrons since years. One of the reasons people keep coming back is their unmatched hospitality and high quality service which makes every experience at Hyatt truly memorable. Luxury at its best seems to be their motto. With aesthetic interiors and a genial staff, Hyatt has the best of everything, be it their restaurants, gym or swimming pool. Their Chinese restaurant, The China Kitchen recently launched their new menu and it is sure to tantalize your taste buds.

DSC_0005-2Now a lot of people claim to be aficionados when it comes to Chinese cuisine. Our taste buds are accustomed to the spicy chowmein and chilli potatoes from the local Chinese van, since childhood. But sadly, that isn’t the true taste of China. Chinese dishes cooked by the local vendors are laden with oil and Indian spices which led to coinage of the term Chinjabi, meaning a hybrid of Chinese and Punjabi cooking techniques and flavours. However, a trip to The China Kitchen will introduce you to authentic Chinese cuisine which will leave you mesmerized.

The interiors are very elegant and the soothing music sets the mood for an exquisite meal. Chef Jack Aw Yong brings the flavors of China to your plate with his expertise in the cuisine. Each table was set in a traditional Chinese way with a deep dish kept over a plate which could be used for keeping the chopsticks or discarded bones, etc. I started the meal with a unique mocktail prepared with a concoction of ginger, orange and mint. The overall flavour was a perfect harmony of all the three ingredients which actually have their own strong and distinct taste.

DSC_0024Among the appetizers, my favourite was definitely the Sichuan Chicken Salad. Long shreds of Chicken mixed in a spicy and savory Sichuan sauce is a great option to whet your appetite. Next, there was a round of several varieties of dimsums. Each of them had a thin (almost transparent) covering and was packed with a whole lot of filling. Both, the veg and non veg variants were equally pleasant. The Crab Claws are something that should not be missed. A crunchy exterior holds together the crabmeat which is brilliantly cooked. Try it with one of the 4 sauces present on each table; it makes for a great combo. Another favourite of mine were Shrimps rolled in Bell Peppers. Tender and succulent Shrimps wrapped in a blanket of bell peppers made for a great amalgamation of flavours and textures.

Crispy Prawn with sautéed veggies like spring onions and bell peppers is a task to cut through, but worth all the effort. The Chicken Puffs were exceptional in conception- minced Chicken stuffed in puff pastry dough. It was beautiful but I felt it to be a little bland and dry. The Main course included Noodles, Sticky rice, Stir fried pork and vegetables in Oyster sauce. Each of these dishes was cooked extremely well. The sauces were not overused and the chef ensured that none of the vegetables were overcooked. The pork, especially, was cooked brilliantly. Usually it is undercooked and the texture becomes chewy but the pork served here was quite soft; a welcome change. The Dessert platter included an array of toothsome delicacies like tarts, cigar rolls, fruits, Ice cream and chocolates. The coconut cigar rolls were irresistible.

Dining at China Kitchen is a great way for those uninitiated to the cuisine to get a glimpse of the real flavours of China. There’s more to Chinese food than just Soy sauce and Vinegar. Hop on this delectable ride to get a taste of the Orient!

Address- Hyatt Regency, Bhikaji Cama Place

Cost for two- Rs. 4500

Contact No.- 01126791234

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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Kanshi Ram and Dinesh ke Chole Kulche

Kanshi Ram and Dinesh ke Chole Kulche

By Anubhav Sapra

Every Dellhite’s favourite street food is Chhole Kulche! It is one of the most celebrated go-to food of Delhi and everyone has a favourite local joint. Recently, on the recommendation of my foodie friend, Karan, I tried a very different kind of Kulche chole in Azadpur.

The name of the Chhole Kulche joint is Dinesh ke chole kulcha va garam pulav. Located next to Akash Cinema, Azadupur, it is easy to spot, because of the hordes of people surrounding his cart. The cart is owned by Dinesh and managed by his two brothers Kuldip and Raju. The family hails from Bareily in Uttar Pradesh and they have been into this business for the past 25 years.

image1-4This joint has a distinctive and exciting way of making kulchas. The kulchas are fried in butter with a red curry- a mixture of tomato, onion, garlic, ginger and capsicum. First, a generous amount of oil is put on a big pan and the red puree is added with a bunch of different spices. The kulchas are then fried over the spice mixture on the pan. A big spoon of butter is then spread over all the kulchas.

The kulchas are spicy and delicious, with a unique spicy punch that adds to the flavour. I ate few of them with out the chole. Infact, I asked him for double masala fry to make it more spicy. The kulchas are not for the weak hearted because of the amount of butter and spices that are added to the kulcha. However to soothe it down, a glass of boondi raita is  served at Dinesh’s stall.

After the initial conversation, Kuldip and Raju shared that the frying of kulcha is inspired from Pav bhaji where the buns are fried in a thick gravy with butter.  The joint is extremely inexpensive at only 30 rupees a plate.

After relishing the kulchas at Dinesh’s stall in Azadpur, I headed to his Uncle’s Chole Kulcha shop in Naraina. I was warned by Kuldip that it would be over by the time I reached. Keeping my fingers crossed I drove straight to his place, asking the security guards in the residential colony of E block, Naraina for his shop. The complete address is E-195, Naraina Vihar, Near Gyan Mandir Public School, Mobile number- 9211863472. By the time, I reached, the chhole at his stall were already over but on request I got a small portion of Chhole and a few kulchas.

image1-2Kanshi ram, who owns the shop, migrated to Delhi from Bareily at the age of 7 . When I visited his shop, he was listening to folk songs through his headphone, and sitting relaxed savouring tamatar pyaaz chutney with roti. I spoke to him at great length. His eyes were glistening with pride while he shared his story of hard work towards success that began from being a small street vendor to owning a ig shop.

Kanshi ram, also, has a similar way of making the kulchas. He puts butter over a big pan, fries the kulchas, spread a spoon of red coloured chutney, a mixture of garlic red chillies and tomatoes, and garnish it with grated paneer. However, it lacked the spicy punch that was evident in kulchas at  Dinesh’s stall. This is because of the butter and paneer that makes it less spicy compared to Dinesh’s kulche. Nonetheless, if you like your kulcha to be more spicy, you can ask for more chutney separately. A plate of Kulche Chhole costs Rs 40 at Kanshi Rams stall.

After having my fill, I bid adieu to Kanshi Ram and got the invitation at the same time to try the mutton he prepares, which he is going to cook sometime specially for me. I really liked the two joints and I hope they are able to expand across Delhi!

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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Kuppies

Kuppies

I could easily envisage the constant mushrooming of bakeries in Delhi. Many home bakers have taken to the streets their products and commercialised its value. Due to rapid population growth, and rising foreign influence, baked goods are quickly gaining popularity among younger generations, contributing significantly to the growth trajectory of the baking industry. Khan Market and other upscale markets in South Delhi have some of the best bakers in Delhi.

However, there is a huge gap between the bakery products that are affordable and those that taste good. To fill this gap, you have several new ventures Kuppies being one. They have come up with Chocolate Chip Brownies.

Kuppies has a dedicated team led by founders Jeevash Vaid, successful entrepreneur and business owner, and Uni Vaid, trained culinary and pastry designer from USA. She was ranked among the top five bakers in New Delhi in 2014 and has received numerous award and accolades for baking Delhi’s best cheesecakes, cupcakes and other treats.

Recently, I got the chance to visit the place where these brownies are made i.e  in Noida, to get a first hand experience in what makes their brownies the best.

The brownies were delicious, gooey and molten at an extremely affordable retail price of Rs 18 per piece. For the very first time it is being launched in the Indian FMCG market.

IMG_20160802_115419_1470207556026The Brownie is made with Imported Real Dark Cocoa solids to give an intense chocolate hit burst in your mouth way ahead of any sweet or dessert snack available in the market. It is a cross between a cake and a soft cookie giving it a chewy mouth feel. The Brownie is moist in texture and oozes with chocolate and richness due to its smooth batter which even gives it a long shelf life.

Keeping in mind that majority of Indians are vegetarians (those who eat eggs are excluded) Kuppies brownie are 100% Vegetarian.

 Kuppies  supply to the largest national and international brands Café Coffee Day (India’s largest coffee house chain), Chaayos, Costa Coffee, Big Bazaar (India’s largest hypermarket chain), Wal Mart, Spenser, 24×7, Easy Day, Big Basket and more. supply to largest cafes in the country, CCD, Chhayos, Costa Coffe, throughout the country. Kuppies also has a FSSC 22000 (Food Safety System Certification).

What sets them apart from other brownie brands in the market are-authenticity, taste and the packaging. Their from scratch production and original recipe has made this treat one of a kind.

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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Veda and Djinggs, Gurgaon

Veda and Djinggs, Gurgaon

Ayushi Mathur

In the recent years, Delhi has been sensationalised by restaurants exhibiting innovative concepts around food and drinks. Even with the increase in popularity of modern food preparation techniques like molecular gastronomy, traditional Indian cuisine is highly appreciated. For almost a decade, Veda has been providing an exclusive Indian dining experience with flavours from across India woven into exquisite meals. Dining at Veda has been a wholesome experience brought to its patrons by the marvellous interiors, soothing classical music and matchless service. After a successful run in multiple cities, Veda is ready to take over Gurgaon with its all new concept of serving Indian and authentic Sichuan style Chinese cuisine under the same roof.

The people behind Veda are ready to unveil their new brainchild called Djinggs in the most popular food hub of Gurgaon – Sector 29. The interiors of the restaurant are designed by one of the most creative Indian designers Rohit Bal, keeping in mind both the cuisines offered. Half of the restaurant space is designed with huge mirrors with Indian carvings on them and the rest half is decorated with Chinese umbrellas. The ceiling of the restaurant is the main attraction, decorated with red lights and hangings of carved structures.

FullSizeRender-22The kitchen is divided into two sections, one for each type of cuisines offered, with specialised chefs. The Chinese dishes are a true reflection of Sichuan cooking with a liberal use of garlic, chilli peppers and green vegetables like Bok choy. The vegetarian dumplings are served with three varieties of sauces made with caramelised onions, garlic and hot peppers. Among the vegetarian dumplings, the spinach and bok choy dumpling and the mushroom dumpling are one of the best that the restaurant offers. Another stand out dish is the chilli garlic fish which is served with fried red peppers and parsley.

IMG_5619Veda is already known for its delectable Indian dishes. The Palak Patta chaat is the right amount of crunchy topped with curd, tamarind sauce and crispy sev. The Paneer Rumani Kebabs are rolls of thin sheets of cottage cheese that have a creamy texture with a wonderful smoky flavour. Achari fish tikka is a spicy well presented dish served with fresh vegetable salad, coriander and lemon. Curry leaves with fried vegetable chips are served with drinks that are a great alternative to regular snacks like nutcrackers and papad.

Overall, the restaurant has a majestic vibe with intricately done interiors, candle light and soulful music. Their concept of introducing Sichuan style of cooking worked truly well and it’s a great place to visit with friends and family to enjoy both types of cuisines. One visit is not enough to explore all the palatable delicacies offered at this restaurant. But it’s a highly recommended joint. I will definitely visit again.

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.