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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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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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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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Surinder Ji’s Chole-Bhature

Surinder Ji’s Chole-Bhature

By Anubhav Sapra

Hudson lane, the most iconic lane for all college students, is the food hub for Delhi University attendees. During my time at Ramjas College, for all celebrations however big or small everyone would crowd at the renowned Zee Chicken (for those who lived in the north campus) or the famous Pehalwan Dhaba to remind oneself of home.

When one closed the other opened, ACP dhaba and Friends Dhaba are the best examples. Here you were served a never ending tower of chapattis and the traditional Indian sabzi, which was an amalgamation of the season’s fresh produce.

With the ongoing food buzz, where customers want to explore new cuisine fusions in a lounge like atmosphere, Hudson Lane too is now jam-packed with cafes. Despite being exposed to the changing food scene a handful of restaurants are still true to their roots. Charan Singh’s food van is not only known for it’s shahi paneer chawal but also for the chef’s amicable personality and a smile that no one can wipe off.  His piping hot rajma chawal and aromatic kadi chawal are not only relished by the campus students but also all the near by office employees with whom he indulges in friendly banter.

IMG_4015Recently, I had the pleasure of trying Surinder ji’s ‘Chole-Bhature’. What makes his dish different from others is the unconventional flat bhatura. He makes the preparation quite interactive which is a sight for sore eyes. He grins from ear to ear while preparing a dish he seems to love; not even dicing an onion could make him frown. The Chola and Bhatura are served with chutney, a garnish of coriander and a side of a cornucopia of pickles.

For 16 years he has been plating this delectable delight and is an affordable treat for all DU students.

Address- Police line, Vijay nagar, next to Bakar café.

Cost for 2- Rs. 50

          IMG_5446                     IMG_4006

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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Koyla Kebab

When One Door Closes another Opens

By Anubhav Sapra

In the past couple of years I have taken refuge in Old Delhi. The waft of the meaty fragrant kebabs draws me in to the alleyways of Matia Mahal. But this time I decided to explore, skip the hustle and bustle of ‘purani dilli’ and traverse across the city. The rain gave me an excuse to flee from the old to the new. I landed at one of the upscale markets of South Delhi- Defence Colony, which for me has always been synonymous with Swagath, the south Indian restaurant and Salim Kebabs.

Salim Kebabs, the reason why I come to Defence colony. There was something special about that place, may it be Javed bhai who owns the eatery or the bubble of nostalgia that surrounds the restaurant. It was disheartening to come to know that it had shut down.  But thankfully I was saved by Koyla Kebabs.

IMG_5744Koyla Kebabs had a lot on their plate, literally. Malai tikka and tandoori chicken, both succulent pieces of heaven, then came the mutton kakori kebab and Galaouti Kebab the former was so soft that it fell right of the skewer while the latter would melt in your mouth like butter. The Kakoris were served with a crisp Warqi paratha making it a perfect combination in terms of textures.

The best part is that all the non-vegetarian kebabs have their vegetarian counterparts. Vegetable Kakori, Galaouti, Tandoori Soya Tikka, Paneer Malai Tikka and the list goes on and on. What makes their food different from any other Kebab joint is the way they cook their biryani, rather than having your traditional mutton or chicken options you can request for any kebab or boti to be combined with you rice and served, quite untraditional yet scrumptious. The addition of chat masala to their kebabs provides that perfect tang and makes your mouth water for more.

 They have introduced the Keema Naan which is Naan dough stuffed with mince and chopped onions and cooked in a scalding hot tandoor served with onion rings and mint chutney.

The journey to Defence Colony has been well worthwhile; the palatable food gives you an excuse to visit this area anytime.

Address- Shop no.3, next to Popular Medicos, Defence Colony

Cost for two- Rs.500+

IMG_5747    IMG_5759

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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Naaz Tandoor

Naaz Tandoor – Jama Masjid

Ayushi Mathur

Naaz Tandoor (2)Purani dilli, once filled with mansions and forts of noblemen from the Mughal dynasty, now caters to the heaving crowd of modern world. Despite having become a bustling trade centre, it still enchants visitors with its undying splendour. Old Delhi is most acknowledged for its street food and whenever non-vegetarian delicacies are discussed among foodies in Delhi, the famed by lanes of Jama Masjid area are definitely mentioned. These crowded ‘gullies’ are known for their numerous eateries that serve an array of chicken and mutton delights. One of the many establishments that caught my eye was Naaz Tandoor.

Naaz Tandoor (1)Located on the urdu lane, opposite Jama Masjid, Naaz Tandoor welcomes people with the sight of fresh preparations of Tandoori chicken which fill the area with a distinctive smoky aroma. Mohammed Alam, the chef at Naaz Tandoor, sits at the entrance preparing the items on the menu all day long. This man has been a part of the joint since its conception in 1960 and has been cooking delicious chicken fry for its customers.

Although the most popular dish on their menu is chicken fry, I decided to go with the good old Tandoori chicken. The chicken was served with freshly chopped onions, green chilli lemon and chutney made of yellow chilli pepper. For me, the yellow chilli chutney was the highlight of the visit. Its spicy preparation complimented the umami taste in chicken exceptionally well.  The piece of tandoori chicken was glazed with ample amounts of chaat masala which added a tangy twist to the meal. I also ordered half a plate of chicken biryani to give the meal a wholesome feel and the quantity does not disappoint. Half plate biryani is enough for two people and it is made with aromatic basmati rice covered with perfect amount of spices that give it a characteristic taste.

In an area dominated by restaurants selling a variety of mutton dishes, this joint stands out for its chicken items. Established by Adil Hassan, this eatery serves deliciously fresh chicken and fish preparations to over 200 customers each day. It is one of the popular choices among the locals as it serves delectable food for a low-price.

Cost for two: INR 300

Address: Urdu Bazaar, opposite Jama Masjid

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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Poori Sabzi at Rewari Wale and Jindal Refreshment Corner

Poori Sabzi at Rewari Wale and Jindal Refreshment Corner

By Anubhav Sapra

Once upon a time, my friend, Ayush, and I met for a get together. Being great foodies, the discussion soon swung to the direction of food. Starting from Fateh ki Kachori in Civil Lines (that Ayush is quite fond of), we discussed food items with enthusiasm. Then slowly we moved to the quintessential breakfast dishes- poori and bhatura, whereupon he mentioned a poori shop in Shakti Nagar, that makes kofte, but only on Sundays. As the clouds gathered in the sky last Sunday, I gave him a call and in a few minutes, we were inside the shop savouring the pooris.

The name of the shop is Rewari Wale ki Poori Sabzi. Located in Shakti Nagar, it is quite accessible- if you are coming from Roop Nagar, take the first right turn towards Gurudwara Nanak Sahib. After taking the right turn, take the first left turn; keep walking straight and the shop Rewari Lal will be on the left side. The complete address is 24/27, Shakti Nagar, Delhi- 07 ( Mobile- 9999935023). A big cauldron of oil where Halwais are frying the pooris can be spotted easily.

Poori Sabzi
Poori Sabzi with Aloo kofta at Rewari Wale

The pooris at Rewari Wale, were simply made of maida. The sabzi was mix of chole, aloo and methi ki chutney. A spoon of dahi is added over it to mellow down the spices, giving it a tangy taste. Gopal Sweets in Kamla Nagar also do the same. What sets it apart from other poori sabzi walas of delhi are the aloo besan ke kofte. The small balls similar to the size of badi are made only on Sundays. Being a bit spicy, it served as the perfect combination with the poori.

The shop was started 50 years back, by Sees Ram Saini, and is presently managed by father-son, Dharam Singh Saini and Vikram Saini. The shop is open till 3 pm and a plate of poori sabzi is priced at Rs 40. Very close to poori sabzi shop, the Sainis own another shop, which is famous for its khoya burfi and gajar pak.

bedmi poori
Bedmi Poori at Jindal Refreshment Corner

Ayush also introduced me to another popular breakfast joint- Jindal Refreshment Corner, on roshanara road. The shop is right opposite Kunji Lal Jagdish Prasad shop, and is famous for pure milk and lassi. The address is 8438, Roshanara Road, Delhi-07 (Mobile. 9953901089).  Jindal refreshment corner is owned by Brajesh Jindal, Kunji Lal’s brother. Established 40 years ago, they specialize in bedmi poori and kachoris.

Unfortunately, by the time we reached Kunji Lal, the lassis were over. The small size bedmi poori is priced at Rs 20 a plate. I found the sabzi to be better than what we get in other places. The sabzi is, again, a mix of aloo, chole, methi ki chutney, kachalu, and kofta, which keeps changing everyday- palak, urad dal, mooli. The distinctive strong taste of heeng in the sabzi makes it simply delicious.

In the evening, they make samosas. Remembering the old days, Ayush recited the story of how he used to eat Jindal’s samosas on his way back home from school days, not in plates but straight from his hands. Long live his love for kachoris and samosas!

 

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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Rangla Punjab food festival at Punjab Grill

Rangla Punjab food festival at Punjab Grill

By Anubhav Sapra 

Punjab Grill is hosting a special food festival called ‘Rangla Punjab’ to celebrate ‘Punjab’ at its Select Citywalk outlet, from 10th February to 24th February. I was recently invited to taste the delicacies on offer and was amazed to see the efforts put in by the Head Chef Gurpreet Singh to take you to the journey of Punjabi food beyond butter chicken and dal makhni.

image1We were greeted with a popular Punjabi drink Kanji which is also a regular feat at my home, during winters. ‘Kaali gajar’ mixed with mustard seeds and heeng, along with the water is kept in a glass martaban under the sun and allowed to ferment for a couple of days. The result is a tangy and richly flavoured drink.

At Punjab Grill, the Kaanji was served in a clay cup garnished with carrots. I relished every sip of it, intermittently eating the kaali gajar.

In the starters, I had ‘Macchi de Pakode’, river sole coated with ajwain mixed gram flour batter and later, deep fried. The accompaniments with the starters were Gobhi Shalgam da achaar, meat da achaar – both lamb and chicken. The meat pickles were rightfully chewy, that helped us juice out the real flavors of the meat and the spices that coat them. Oh, I wish I could bottle up some of that pickle and savour it day and night!

The highlight of the Rangla Punjab food fest is ‘Kotkapure da atta chicken’, a dish inspired from a small city in Punjab. First, the chicken is marinated in almonds, black pepper and other light flavoured spices. Second, the marinated chicken is put inside a tightly knotted muslin cloth. Third, the chicken is sealed with the wheat dough and placed in tandoor for a couple of hours.

Instagram Video Link- Kotkapure da Atta Chicken

I pine to find the same treat on the streets of Delhi. Aromas simply bust into the rook as the muslin cloth was unknotted. The flavor of the spices, apparently, was compact in the chicken thus making the dish richly delightful. It was interesting to watch the chef, adorning hand gloves, holding a fork and knife, artfully slicing the wheat dough.

image2Another outstanding dish, though in the vegetarian menu, is makke di roti and sarson da saag. It was simply exotic! It was served in a clay container, giving it an earthy aroma, with ghee floating gleefully on top, and garnished with coriander seeds, whole red chillies, thus adding to the flavour. The saag was accompanied white butter,  for that divine touch. Being a Punjabi, I enjoyed the dish immensely. Another significant dish, in the vegetarian menu is dal. Laden with ghee, the dish looked tempting and was purely delectable.

The feast ended on a sweet note with gud wale chawal, cooked in ghee with dry fruits, and makhane ke kheer. If you wish to spice up your life with some authentic Punjabi tadka, I’d recommend you visit this festival and savour the mouthwatering delicacies at the earliest!

 

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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Baldev Dhaba

Keema Mutton at Baldev Dhaba

By Anubhav Sapra

Where – GTB Nagar Bus Depot

Sweden se aaya mera dost! My foodie friend, who is also a neighbor, runs an Indian food truck in Sweden. Ever year, around Diwali, he visits his family in Delhi. However, more than this, I believe his visit is more about experimenting at newly opened eateries and catching up with the old ones. The other day, we met and discussed the food in Delhi at great length. After a brief question-answer session, he took me to ‘Baldev Dhaba’ at GTB Nagar Bus Depot.

The place is rustic. The dhaba is on the pavement. At one end, stands Baldev and his brother Kishan with a big Patila of keema mutton and at the other, are the benches. It was great to see the hungry souls, majority being bus and auto drivers, sitting and screaming with rejoice, for a plate of keema mutton and tandoori rotis. This place made me recall another eatery that used to be in Ghanta Ghar by the name of ‘Moti Dhaba’ where we used to devour keema gravy with innumerable rotis. Unfortunately, Moti Dhaba is closed but Baldev is running in full force.

The dhaba was started in 1960 by Late Narayan Das Sachdeva and later his two sons Baldev and Kishan took over it and introduced the most popular dish, ‘Keema Mutton’ in 1974.

IMG_20151106_140413The keema mutton is priced at Rs 140- 2 pieces of mutton in a small plate are served with rotis. After gobbling up over 10 rotis, all we had to pay was a meager Rs. 30. Over a plate of mutton, Baldev sprinkles some homemade garam masala and serves it straight to the soul with crispy tandoori rotis. Even though the gravy appears to be very spicy, being bright red in color, the spices were just right. The red colour is just a result of the tomatoes used to make this flavourful dish. The minced mutton gravy with pieces of mutton on bones was excellent.

Baldev dhaba also has vegetarian dishes- chana dal, matar paneer, kadi, rajma – all priced at Rs 20 for half a plate and the rotis are Rs 3 per piece.

I mopped the plate filled with gravy and came home satisfied discussing with my foodie friend about the myriad of new options in the food market. In the coming days, I am sure we are going to explore more! And eat even 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.