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Street food tour- VV Puram Bangalore

We explored Bangalore’s famous street food area- VV Puram. The food street specialises in a lot of different cuisines with the street filled to the brim with various stalls.

We begin with Chandra chaat centre and try their special bread cutlet. A dish which has bread infused with loads of Indian spices and butter served along with onions and potatoes. The next on our list was tomato slice. Seems plain right? But, no it is served with chaat sprinkled heavily on the top along with puffed rice. Next, we go to VB Bakery and try their congress bun, a bun infused with butter and peanut masala. The butter enhances the flavour and the peanuts give you a nutty crunchy flavour. Great, isn’t it? We also tried their famous dumroat, this is pumpkin halwa served in old Bangalore style.

From a local stall, we try the Avrekayi vade. Avrekayi or Hyacinth seeds mixed with vadas are served. We then move on to Arya vysa restaurant and try paddu, dosa batter served with onions and chutney. We also tried nitrogen wafers, these are nitrogen infused wafers. So when one eats them smoke comes out of their mouth!

We also had the akki roti and ragi roti. This is rotti made with rice flour, a great Karnataka style old food served with chutney and Sāmbhar. While the ragi roti is made up from ragi or millets and is quite soft but extremely healthy! We also tried the Chitrana, or the classic lemon rice served with coconut chutney. Next, we filled ourselves with banana bhajji, raw bananas fried to bajjis filled with chilli powder, onions and carrots. We also tried, a dish called triveni. A sweet dish served with ice-cream, home-made butter fruits and gulkand. The taste is spot on and bursts with flavours!

It is a must visit if one ever heads to Bangalore. VV Puram has an electric atmosphere! The food and the vibe is bound to mesmerise you and leave you wanting for more.

 

Places visited:

Chandra chaat centre

No.63, Sajjan Rao Circle, V V Puram, Bangalore – 560004, Opposite To Park

 

Arya vysa restaurant

No.12/1, Old Market Road, V V Puram, Bangalore – 560004, Near Sajan Rao Circle & V B Bakery

 

VB Bakery

No.20, Sajjan Rao Circle, V V Puram, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560004

 

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Bangalore Food Tour- Floating PaaniPuri and Thate Idly

VV Puram is one place in Bangalore which is probably everyone’s favourite only because of the variety and choices it provides you when it comes to satiating your tastes. A sheer heaven for foodies we head out to explore the food street today.

Our food tour begins with sri sai chaat and here we try their floating pani puri, a dish overflowing with mild paani which originated in Bangarpet, Karnataka. Next we tried Nippat masala, a south Indian savoury, nipattu is infused with masala puri.

Our next destination was Namma brahmins idli and here we tried benne thate idli, an idli which is the size of a plate and is sprinkled generously with gun powder. These soft, moist idlis are soaked in butter which enhances the flavour and is served with 2 different types of chutney, mint chutney and groundnut with chill chutney. We then moved to Raja gobi, a mobile shop and tried their Gobi Manchurian. A perfect indo-Chinese cuisine. These are fried pieces of cauliflower made into Manchurian.

Head to VV Puram if you want to make bold choices when it comes to food. We are sure you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Places visited:

Sri Sai Chaat

Besides A2B, 5th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore, Karnataka

 

Namma Brahmins Idli

8th B Main Road, 4th Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore, Karnataka

 

Raja Gobi

17th C Cross, Jayanagar, Bangalore, Karnataka

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Bangalore Food Tour- The Rice Delicacies

Today, in this vibrant city Bangalore we with Kunal Bysani, a food content writer we explore some of the famous, mouth-watering dishes.

We first headed to Mudanna hotel and tried their famous mudanna pulao served in a cone made out of banana leaves. It is undoubtedly Bangalore’s favourite pulao and they like to call it as palav. It is truly flavourful and mild in its texture and taste. Also, their triangle idli is out of this world. These are special soft idlis in the shape of triangle served with spicy sagu. Our next destination was SGS non veg- gundu palav. We try their chicken palav, a dish which has rice and chicken cooked separately but, best tastes with black pepper and salt.

We then move to KR market also known as Krishna Rajendra market is a retail market. The market was constructed by the king of mysuru himself. It has one of Asia’s larget flower market and also incorporates, the butti market. Butti is basket in kannada and the vegatbles here are sold in an old school style per basket. We head to, Rangana military hotel and begin with kaal soup, a leg soup which is really healthy to drink and then moved on to having dose- keema gojju, a dish which consists of dosa and mutton keema having a slight turmeric flavour to it.

Next, we go to shivaji military hotel. We began with chicken dry, a chicken marinated really nicely with yoghurt and spicy black pepper and then tried their amazing Donne biryani which originated here. Last but not the least, we went to the Shree idly corner and tried their soft idlis with coconut and red chilli chutney served with homemade butter. Not to forget, we tried their savage bhaat too. This is rice made into noodles incorporated with spicy tadka and served in a classic settee style or shavige called shastralu among Bangalore settys.

 

Places visited:

Mudanna hotel

Dharmaraya Swamy Temple Rd, Dodpete, Nagarathpete, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560002

 

KR market

Huriopet, Chickpet, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560053

 

Rangana military hotel

61, 1st floor, opp to Indian oil petroleum, KR Rd, 7th Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560070

 

shiva military hotel

No. 718, 1st C Main, 45th Cross, 8th Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560082

 

Shree idly corner

Veera Pillai St, Bharati Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001

 

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Bangalore food tour- best donne biryani, butter idlis and much more…

Bangalore food tour- best donne biryani, butter idlis and much more…

Today, in this vibrant city Bangalore we with Kunal Bysani, a food content writer we explore some of the famous, mouth-watering dishes.

We first headed to Mudanna hotel and tried their famous mudanna pulao served in a cone made out of banana leaves. It is undoubtedly Bangalore’s favorite pulao and they like to call it as palav. It is truly flavourful and mild in its texture and taste. Also, their triangle idli is out of this world. These are special soft idlis in the shape of triangle served with spicy sagu. Our next destination was SGS non veg- gundu palav. We try their chicken palav, a dish which has rice and chicken cooked separately but, best tastes with black pepper and salt.

We then move to KR market also known as Krishna Rajendra market is a retail market. The market was constructed by the king of mysuru himself. It has one of Asia’s largest flower market and also incorporates the butti market. Butti is a basket in Kannada and the vegetables here are sold in an old school style per basket. We head to, Rangana military hotel and begin with kaal soup, a leg soup which is really healthy to drink and then moved on to having dose- keema gojju, a dish which consists of dosa and mutton keema having a slight turmeric flavor to it.

Next, we go to shiva military hotel. We began with chicken dry, a chicken marinated really nicely with yogurt and spicy black pepper and then tried their amazing Donne biryani which originated here. Last but not least, we went to the Shree idly corner and tried their soft idlis with coconut and red chili chutney served with homemade butter. Not to forget, we tried their savage bhaat too. This is rice made into noodles incorporated with spicy tadka and served in a classic settee style or shavige called shastralu among Bangalore settys.

 

Places visited:

Mudanna hotel

Dharmaraya Swamy Temple Rd, Dodpete, Nagarathpete, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560002

 

KR market

Huriopet, Chickpet, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560053

 

Rangana military hotel

61, 1st floor, opp to Indian oil petroleum, KR Rd, 7th Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560070

 

shiva military hotel

No. 718, 1st C Main, 45th Cross, 8th Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560082

 

Shree idly corner

Veera Pillai St, Bharati Nagar, Shivaji Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001

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Bangalore breakfast tour!

Today, with Anamika, a part-time food blogger we explore breakfast options in one of the urban cities of India, Bangalore or as people like to call it with love, Bengaluru.

We begin with Maleshwaram, apparently claimed to be one of the best places in Bangalore and has quite a few iconic legendary places to have breakfast. We begin with Veena stores which serve mouth melting idlis. The best part of this place is that the food is served in very eco-friendly measures! We tried their idli, vada, and Bisi bele bhaat. The vadas and idlis are served in an ocean of coconut and gram chutney! The bisi bele bhaat is all about chopped vegetables boiled with bele or dal in Kannada. Next on our list was Sri Raghavendra stores. We tried their Shavige bhaat, these are rice noodles in typical old Bangalore style. Also, their Kesari bhaat is a must try. It is made up of semolina or sooji and has a sweet hint of saffron or kesar to it.

Next was New Krishna Bhavan and here we try the unusual but, sure to soothe our food palette! We had their green idlis. These are mini-idlis known as button or bullet idli mixed with tadka, spinach, and Indian spices. Then, we went to Central tiffin room, another legendary place which was established in 1930. Certainly a place you can’t miss when in Bangalore! Here we tried their Benne masala dosa. An amazing thick and crispy dosa which has beaten rice added to it with huge dollops of butter served with groundnut and coconut chutney. We ended our meal with a strong cup of filter coffee. It is a must try when in Karnataka. Our next destination was Janatha hotel. We tried their Uddine vade, also known as medu vada served with their quintessential coconut chutney. It is made up of urad dal and the hotel is especially known for the crispy vadas it serves.

We headed towards Hassan Veg restaurant and tried their benne kali dosa served with loads of butter! Next, we covered the Chikkanna tiffin room. We tried their kali dosa and bhaat masala dosa. Bhaat masala dosa is all about the lethal combination of rice/bhaat topped on dosa with lots of ghee. While Kali dosa was served with sagu and soaked in ghee.

Our breakfast trail ended with Holige mane. We tried their, holige. Dal holige is possibly one of the best desserts in Karnataka and is surely a must try! They served with a wide variety of holiges. One of them was the badam holige consisting of filling of almonds.

 

Places visited:

Sri Raghevendra stores

11th Main Road, next to Malleshwaram Railway station, Malleshwaram, Malleshwaram West, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560003

 

New Krishna Bhavan

Opposite Sampige theater, Sampige Road, 33/39, S End Rd, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560020

 

Janatha hotel

27, 8th Cross, Malleshwaram, Bangalore

 

Hassan Veg restaurant

1761, Mahakavi Kuvempu Rd, Mariappanapalya, Rajaji Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560010

 

Chikkanna tiffin room

#32, 30th Cross Rd, Kanchan Nagar, Cubbonpete, Nagarathpete, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560002

 

Holige mane

No 57, 6th Cross Road, Sampige Road, Malleshwaram West, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560003

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Bangalore food tour- ghee roast, dosa, dairy milk sandwich and much more!

Along with Dr. Hema, an avid food blogger we go through the beautiful streets of Bangalore as we explore their cuisine and culture.

We first head to Siddappa hotel which is attached to a temple. We try the idli chutney sagu, a dish which consists of soft fluffy idlis served with vegetable sagu, ghee and coconut chutney and Chitrana also known as lemon rice. The hotel is known for the authenticity of the food it serves, especially Chitrana. In times, when there’s a huge influx of crowd in to the place the famous siddappa dosa evolves into a half masala dosa which is equally loved by people across the city.

Next we move on to one of Bangalore’s famous breakfast places, Vidyarthi Bhavan. We begin with chow chow bhaath, a sweet savory consisting of khara bhaath and kesari bhaath. It is served with coconut chutney and vegetable sagu. We also try the crisp masala dosa which has been a part of the legacy for 75 years. The recipe hasn’t hanged till date and is a favourite amongst the localities’.

Our next stop is, Brahmin’s coffee bar where we try the cult favourite idli vada served with crispy vadas and coconut chutney and their strong filter coffee. They serve Bengaluru’s best filter coffee. Thus, it’s a must go!  We then head to Puliyogare point and try their Puliyogare, a dish which consists of rice infused with tamarind chutney or gojju and served with sweet Pongal or as we like to call it, the humble khichdi.

Next we visit Meghna foods where we try the Meghna special 555, a dish which is flavoursome and spicy, filled with cashew taste and prominent pepper flavour. The speciality of this place is the Meghna special chicken biryani. We head towards, MTR (Mavalli tiffin room) where we are served with a main thali which consists of coconut and pudina chutney. This unique chutney has been originated here with the base as coconut and pudina adding the extra flavour to it. The next in the thali was beans palya, these are shallow fried beans with tadka and served with grated coconut and vegetable sagu, the sagu is a dish that has vegetables cut in small pieces and coconut which is served as a curry. The thali also has, kosambari, a dish made up of urad dal with fresh cucumber and green chillis. We also have the masala vada made up of two types of dal, crunchy puri and masala dosa. Last but not the least, the thali ends with a desert called as rava payasam.  We also tried the bisi bele bhaath which consists of chopped vegetables boiled with bele or dal in Kannada. This is served with Mussur bhajji, a south Indian version of the north Indian raita. All of this is topped with fruit salad served with ice cream. Our sweet tooth isn’t put to rest as we also try Chandrahara! A special desert only available in MTR, nowhere else.

We head to Hari super sandwich, one of the most college hubs well known for its sandwiches. We try the chocolate sandwich, a favourite among college students with loads of oozing chocolate from the sandwich! The next is their Hari special sandwich with mushroom, grated cheese and mayonnaise filling inside. The most selling item is the American sweet corn sandwich served with sweet corn cheese and their patent chutney. Lastly, we head to Maiyas for a cup of frothy freshly brewed coffee.

Places visited:

Siddappa hotel

Ashwath Nagar, 7th Block, Sampangi Rama Nagara, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560027

 

Vidyarthi Bhavan

32, Gandhi Bazaar Main Rd, Gandhi Bazaar, Basavanagudi, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560004

 

Brahmin’s coffee bar

Near Shankar Mutt, Ranga Rao Rd, Shankarapura, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560004

 

Meghna foods

Above Sony Centre, Opposite Park Plaza, Outer Ring Road, Marathahalli 080-41738999
Bengaluru
8880609609, 08041738999

 

MTR (Mavalli tiffin room)

Samvit, Next to Art of Living Ashram, Kanakapura Rd, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560082

 

Hari super sandwich

177/A-44, 22nd Cross, 3rd Block, Jayanagar, Bangalore

 

Maiyas

459, 30, 30th Cross Rd, IV Block, Jayanagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560004

 

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Mysore food tour part 2

As we further explore the culture and the cuisine of the city, Mysore we begin with the local markets. Firstly, we visit the Devraj market. Built by Chamraj Vodeyar, it is apparently believed to be the first planned market of India. A beautiful, vibrant and a colourful market, it happens to be 120 years old. Filled with shopkeepers selling variety of vegetables and fruits, you are bound to explore the intricacies of the Mangalorean culture.

We briefly stopped at the Raja Coffee works to understand the different mix of coffee and then headed towards Gayatri tiffin room to try green dosa and their amazing filter coffee. Green dosa, is certainly one of its kind and healthy too. The green dosa is stuffed with coriander, spinach and fenugreek leaves and it is served with bhonda sambhar and coconut chutney. We then ended our meal with a glass of strong filter coffee.

Keerthana introduced us to a sweet delight known as dil khush for the evening snacks served at VB bakery. A puff pastry stuffed with a lot of sugar and everything sweet! Basically, it’s stuffed with sugar, coconut and cherry. Certainly, quite a catch for kids. We also, tried the badam milk which was being sold right beside the bakery. Mysore is incomplete without its Mysore dosa found at Dosa point. A crispy dosa topped with red chutney and stuffed with delicious aloo masala.

Last stop of the day was the food street at lalit mahal palace road. It is known for its tasty chaat and 99 whooping varieties of dosa! A unique blend of western with the Indian culture, it is a must try!

A great day filled with food exploration and exploring various blends and fusion of food and dishes! Mangalore is a must visit if you’re a foodie!

 

Places visited:

Devraj market

Sayyaji Rao Rd, Devaraja Mohalla, Shivarampet, Mysuru- 570001

Raja Coffee works

Bhavathi, Bunder, Mangaluru, Karnataka 575001

 

Gayatri tiffin room

Chamundipuram Main Road | Narayan Shasthri Road, Mysuru (Mysore) 570004, India (Formerly Gayatri Tiffanis)

 

VB Bakery

No.20, Sajjan Rao Circle, V V Puram, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560004

 

Dosa point

Thokkattu, Thokottu, Karnataka 575020

 

Food Street

Near Mangalore One, Bawtagudda, Light House Hill Rd, Mangaluru, Karn

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Jodhpur Food Tour

Jodhpur Food Tour

Also known as the blue city and the sun city, Jodhpur is the foodie city of Rajasthan.

In the sweltering heat of June, when the average temperature is above 42 degree Celsius, we visited Jodhpur to explore the local food. We had no contact in the city but with the firm determination and passion for food exploration, we asked a few locals about the places to eat and we must say, all the recommended places were amazing.

The Jodhpur food journey started with a famous thali restaurant in Jodhpur- Gypsy restaurant in Sardarpura. I believe thali really captures the essence of ‘Indianness’. With so much of variety in one plate, it changes from one place to another. At Gyspy, the standard thali was a mix of dishes from Rajasthan and Gujarat. There were approximately 35 dishes that were served one by one. The servers talk to each other in sign language. What is unique to jodhpuri thali is mirchi vada chaat, ker sangri, gwar phali, and gatte ki sabzi. Priced at INR 400, this was the best vegetarian thali, I have had in a long time.

After having our fill at Gypsy, it was time for a cup of strong tea. We stopped at Bhati tea stall, the best tea shop in Jodhpur.

In the evening, we headed out to try mirchi vada at Surya Namkeen near Jalori Gate circle. This is one dish that defines the street food of Jodhpur. A big size green chilli is wrapped with spicy mixture of mashed potatoes, then drenched in the batter of chickpea flour, and finally, deep fried in oil. The locals enjoy it with a slice of white bread as it balances the spiciness of the chilli.

Next, we went on a full-on street food tour near Ghantaghar. We started with Arora’s famous dahi gunja. A man with a big moustache, Mr Arora, worked as a school van driver for many years but his passion to cook made him start this shop near Ghantaghar. Dahi Gunja is simply a dahi vada that is stuffed with ginger, and cashews. The chaat is topped with sev, and fried palak patta. It had all the flavours which a perfect chaat should have- sweet, spicy, and tangy.
Just next to Arora chaat bhandar is Shahi Samosa shop. Not my favourite but the locals highly recommended it. It was simply aloo samosa with a small piece of cashew in it. The addition of cashew makes it royal that’s why they are known as shahi samosas.

At the entrance of Ghantaghar is another shop named Mishrilal, famous for its Lassi. The shop was established in 1927 by Late Shri Mishrilal ji Arora at sardar market, Girdikot. It started with a small set up of selling namkeen kachori and kofta. Later from 1960, Radheyshyam Arora and his son Rajendra Arora began making a special lassi and named it ‘Makhaniya lassi’.

I had tried lassi at many places in India but this was quite a unique in flavour. Prepared with highly compressed curd and ingredients like cardamom, kewda and sugar, it tasted more like shrikhand.

Next morning, Dr Navneet, our friend in Jodhpur took us on a food tour in the Old city. Old city is the place where you get the real deal. The first stop was Narayan Mishthan Bhandar near Rakhi house for kachori. I must say this was the best kachori I’ve ever had. Normally, the kachoris are a bit doughy in texture with no filling at all and most of the shops add spicy thick potato curry to enhance the taste. At Narayan’s it was deep fried in ghee. Fried to perfection, it was literally melt -in- mouth or should we say real khasta kachori. It doesn’t require any chutney to eat. All the sweets at Narayan are made in ghee. We also tried fresh malpuas. Those were delicious too!

Meandering the lanes of Jodhpur, out next stop was Chaturbhuj Rameshchandra for Gulab jamun. The shop is in Kandoi bazar. This lane has many shops selling the khoya or mawa for making sweets. And the names of all shops are Chaturbhuj, with all of them selling the same stuff. However, Dr Navneet took us to the right spot for the soft and sweet Gulab jamun. We also tried two other sweets there – mishri goonga (milk solids stuffed with sugar crystals) and mawa chakki (similar to Kalakand in texture).

Kanji vada is another dish popular in Marwar region of Rajasthan. Vadas made up of moong dal are immersed or soaked in mustard water locally known as ‘rai ka paani’ or ‘kanji’. Before being relished, the mixture is fermented for a day. Kanji is the perfect refreshing drink that aids digestion and protects you from the heat. Brijwasi chaat bhandar is the shop to savour kanji bade in Jodhpur.

It was time for sweets after spicy and tangy kanji vadas. We started with Rabri ke laddu. The name itself sounds mouthwatering! Instead of water, thick condensed milk is used to prepare the batter of chickpea flour. Once the boondi is fried, it is soaked in sugar syrup. The result is the thick and sticky texture of laddu. They are given a round shape but it can not be held in the hand. It is so soft that it unfurls. A super delicious delicacy available at Mohanji sweets, Aada Bazar, Inside Jalori Gate.

The staple food or the comfort food of Rajasthan is Daal baati. We had always tried it in thali restaurants but this was the first time I tried it at a specialised restaurant known for daal baati and churma laddu. More common in the countryside of Rajasthan, baati is simply a dumpling made up of whole wheat flour, baked in coal. They are served with mixed lentils, spicy garlic red chilli chutney and green chilli pickles. We tried Dal baati at Bhawani Daal Baati shop near Nasrani Cinema hall, Chopasni road. We also visited the kitchen where baatis are made. Hygienically prepared, the baatis are baked in an electrical oven. It was interesting to see the electrical baati crusher. Instead of using the hands to crush the baati, they are put inside a crusher and you get finely ground baati to be easily mixed with dal and chutney. The churma laddu, again made up of whole wheat flour with sugar, ghee and nuts was to die for.

The highlight of Jodhpur food tour was Malai ki roti, qabuli, gulabjamun ki sabzi. In the evening, we again went to the Old city to a place where one can taste malai ki roti. Malai ki roti is similar to papuri/malai poori in Puri, Odisha or malai gilori of ram ashray in lucknow. But what makes it special? The speciality is that the texture is completely different from other places. Cow milk is used for this preparation. The milk is constantly boiled until you get a thick layer of cream on the top, that’s why, the locals call it roti. Once the roti is prepared they are soaked in sugar syrup and sprinkled with saffron water, cardamom, almonds and pistachios. I must confess, I am a big fan of traditional Indian milk-based sweets ranging from Mathura’s khurchan to malai gilori in Lucknow. With just simple ingredients, we have so much of variety of sweets. India is truly a land of sweets.

Another dish that intrigued me was gulab jamun ki sabzi. At first instance, I couldn’t believe that one can make sabzi out of sweet gulabjamun. Later, I came to know that the gulab jamuns are not soaked in sugar syrup they are simply cooked in curry paste. Most of the sweet shops in Jodhpur sell gulab jamun without adding them to the sugar syrup. If you deconstruct the gulab jamun, it is just khoya that is deep fried. If added in the curry, it gives a bit of malai kofta texture. It was delicious. The sandwich was again made with thick gulabjamun sabzi. In two slices of bread, a generous helping of sabzi is stuffed and then cut into two halves. The last dish we tried here was Jodhpuri kabuli pulav- a rich rice preparation with mix vegetables and dry fruits. The best food cart to savour all of this opposite Kunj Bihari Temple, Katla Bazar.

Finally, it was time for some non-vegetarian food and we visited 2 places recommended by Dr Navneet. Although, the most famous Rajasthani non-veg delicacy is lal maas and junglee maas, we gave it a miss in jodhpur instead tried the street dishes. We tried chicken silly at Al Baik – a deep fried chicken in the batter of corn flour and eggs. And Kashmiri chicken at Jammu and Kashmir hotel near railway reservation counter in Jodhpur. No way related to Kashmiri cuisine, I wonder why named it Kashmiri chicken. It was chicken cooked in mutton keema gravy topped with double fried egg. Spicy but truly delicious, I moped the thick keema gravy with fresh and crispy tandoori rotis.
Jodhpur also has a lively street food culture. Near shastri circle, every evening food carts sell street food from all over India at one place – from paani puri to vada pav, you get them all. I tried the girlfriend chaat- a super spicy cup filled with tamarind sauce, amchur powder and spices. Not my kind of chaat, but a popular amongst the locals. After exploring few of the food stalls, we ended our food journey at Marwar kulfi cart.

Truly a place that steals every foodie’s heart!

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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AGRA BREAKFAST FOOD WALK

AGRA BREAKFAST FOOD WALK

 

The Tajnagari needs no introduction. It is home to perhaps two of the greatest symbols of love. Taj Mahal and hot street food made with love. I came here to give the latter its due attention. The city comes to life in the early hours of the day, and so did I, excited to explore this culinary haven.

My ambrosial journey through the rustic lanes of the city began at Dilli Gate Chai Waala, a small, bustling shop that never closes. And it literally never closes, serving piping hot tea 24×7, this ever-welcoming shop does not even have a shutter! Here I met Tahir, who shared my passion for greasy street-food and was well versed with the nooks and corners of the city, to take me on a breakfast food trail. We started with some Chai with pleasing flavours of ginger, long pepper, and cardamom; and to go along with it some butter lathered elaichi rusk and Bun Maska. The Bun Maska, like all other breads available at this place, was toasted on coals, which is their speciality.

With Chai in our systems and appetites expanded, we were ready to take on our next adventure and have, as Tahir mentioned, some Lashkari food; the food of the Mughal Army. We headed straight to the heart of the walled city, Nai Basti, but don’t let the name confuse you. Nai by name, the entire place was drenched in an old-world charm. Through the tight alleys we reached Mughal Nihari, a place known to have kept the authentic flavours and strong use of masalas intact in its Nihari recipe. The Paaye, meat, and bone marrow are all cooked overnight in the authentic masalas and served with the traditional Khamiri Roti. The fibres of the soft, well-cooked meat break down into the gravy and pleasing my palette with the strong masalas. Be sure to ask them for what among the mutton, Paaye, and bone marrow you want more and they will be more than happy to build your bowl to your preference. For Rs. 80 per plate, this place is sure to leave your pocket and your stomach happy, but make sure you reach here early in the morning as they run out of the preparation by 10 am.

Next on our food trail was Haleem. On a small, road-side stand in Kashmiri Bazaar, awaited us an early morning Haleem, a thick, protein filled gravy made of daal, meat, and an assortment of spices, that is sure to keep your hunger at bay for a few hours. This Haleem was loaded with turmeric and served, dressed with green chilli to add to the heat. The dish is cooked overnight where pressure is applied to the daal and the meat, which makes the fibres of the meat dissolve in the gravy, so you bite into a thick pool of nutrition and powerful flavours.

A walk through Agra’s street food marvels would have been incomplete without some Bedai, so to get our fix, we reached Munna Lal Mithai Waala. The Bedai or Bedami Puri was served with aloo ki sabzi (potato curry), pumpkin gravy, and curd. The puri, stuffed with urad daal and made in desi ghee, was satisfyingly crispy. To go with it we had Moong Daal Halwa that washed my mouth with its overwhelming amounts of ghee.

Kala Mehal and its residing Sindhi community had waiting for us the Sindhi Pakwaan, which is a huge round matthi, served with chickpea gravy loaded with a strong doze of spices and masalas and topped with some fresh green chilli, red onions, and oil.

After our fix of the Sindhi cuisine, we headed to an archaic looking shop that has been serving its delicacy since 1840, Chimman Lal Puri Waale. Tahir called it Agra’s “Museum of Food”, because of how well it preserved the original flavours of the Tajnagari. For a mere amount of Rs. 30, they gave us a plate loaded with two puris, one of them stuffed with a methi or fenugreek filling, and small portions of potato-chickpea sabzi, sweet-tasting white pumpkin sabzi, aloo-matar-paneer sabzi, some chutney and achaar, and to wash everything down, bowls of kheer and raita. Every preparation had a distinct taste, perhaps unique to Agra and Banaras.

To end our breakfast tour, we arrived at Gopaldas Petha in Subhash Bazaar to try the much-coveted Agra ka Petha wrapped in the refreshing flavour of gulabjal. Petha was once known as the “dessert for the poor”, because of the inexpensive ingredients that go into its making, but the end result left me absolutely content. You can get this Petha for Rs. 300/kg at Gopaldas Petha.

 Agra truly served its culmination of communities, cultures, and history on the plate with just the right amount of sweet, spice, and warmth.

Edited By- Arshia Bhutani

 

 

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AJMER FOOD TOUR

Ajmer food tour

By Anubhav Sapra

 It is always fun to interact and explore the city with a local food enthusiast. In Ajmer I met Shikha, a dentist by profession and food instagrammer by passion. She runs an instagram account Ajmerfoodie. Together we explored the lanes of the city, with her being an excellent guide.

We started with Dhanna ki Kachori in Vaishali Nagar– a super spicy dal kachori with kadi. She remarks that this unique combination of Kadi and Kachori was invented in Ajmer and spread to other towns slowly. But the kadi is made in a different style without buttermilk or curd. Having been in existence for 20 years, the shop is run by two brothers Durgesh and Kanahiya. The kachoris are topped with mashed potatoes and coriander. To add a tangy flavour to the kachori, lemon wedges are served along with it.

From here we reached Akbari Museum. Next to the Akbari museum in Ajmer are two shops facing each other – Shankar chaat and Anant Jain lassi shop. Shankar shop is famous for kachori and saakhe. As we already had the kachori at Dhanna, we ordered saakhe with kadi. Saakhe is just fried maida dough with ajwain. Curly in shape, saakhe is also known as namkeen or matar in different cities of India. I had always enjoyed it with a cup of sweet tea. This was the first time I tried it with kadi and chutney. A great combination indeed- the crispy saakhe went well with the smooth and spicy kadi. Next, we tried lassi at Anant jain lassi shop. The thick and creamy lassi is served in a clay glass topped with malai, rabri and saffron water. In the heat of Ajmer, it was a perfect refreshing drink.

Ajmer is known for Sohan Halwa and karanchi halwa. I am sure there would be some historical relevance to the sweets in Delhi and Ajmer. In Old Delhi, sohan halwa is available in selected sweet shops like Chainaram and kanwarji. I simply love this caramalised crunchy chewy sweet biscuit. It is made up of wheat, ghee, sugar and nuts. One small bite of halwa and the mouth is literally filled with ghee. Slowly you get the flavours of nuts. Moolchand Buddhamal in Purani Mandi is the oldest sweet maker of ajmer. Established in 1870, the shop has the best sohan halwa in the old city of ajmer. The sweet is also available in dargah market at all the sweet shops.

The story of bhutia halwayi (ghost sweet maker) is interesting. One story is that the ghosts used to make sweets whole night and when the owner used to open up the shop next day in the morning, all the sweets were made. Second story is that the sweet shop was in an isolated lane on Alwar gate road. No one used to visit that lane at night because of the rumour of ghosts living in Alwar gate road. But lala ji used to open the shop inspite of rumours of ghosts in that area. That’s why the locals started calling it Bhutiya halwai shop. Whatever the real story, the sweets are really good specially doodh jalebi and gond ke laddu. We tried doodh jalebi. The sweet and sugary jalebi is crushed in a steel jug and then half a glass of thick milk is added. Both of them are mixed properly and served in a clay glass with cream on the top. The mix of soft and crunchy jalebis makes it special.

It is not easy to find authentic homestyle Rajasthani delicacies in restaurants. Mahadev dhaba is one of the local eateries in Ajmer where some of the Rajasthani dishes like gatte ki sabzi, ker sangri, sew tamatar, papad sabzi are on the menu. The dhaba is at Nasirabad road in Ajmer.The owner specially cooked sew tamatar and papad ki sabzi for us and allowed us to oversee the preparations in the kitchen. The recipe of both of the dishes was similar- first, in hot oil, onion is sautéed and garlic water is added to it, then curry gravy, some garam masala and finally sew or roasted papad are added. In my opinion, what makes it special are the two ingredients – garlic water and the curry gravy made up of malai. The malai in the gravy leaves a smooth creamy texture to the sabzi. A bit spicy for me, but It went well with the fresh tandoori roti.

On the way to our last stop for faluda, near madar gate, we spotted probably India’s biggest kachori weighing 650 gms.

In the end we decided to stop for some dessert.  Kesar pista kulfi with kesar pista ice cream, rabri, dry fruits and rose syrup were layered and served in a glass bowl. It was the perfect sweet way to end the Ajmer street food journey.

The evening was spent in the Dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisthi. Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, popularly known as Garib Nawaz (helper of the poor), is a giant figure on the Sufi map of the sub-continent. Situated in the city of Ajmer in Rajasthan, the shrine is open to all faiths. It is an old saying that people who visit Ajmer Sharif and pray with pure faith and loyalty at this Dargah, are granted their heart’s wishes.

In the Dargah there are two huge degs i.e., cauldrons – for cooking Niaz (purely vegetarian food); cooked with rice, ghee, nuts, saffron & sugar. The system of cooking food in cauldron was first introduced by Emperor Akbar. And Ajmer sharif has the world’s largest cauldron with the capacity to cook 4800 kgs of food in it.

I participated in the langar with the locals and the devotees. In a big plate, fresh and delicious biryani and sweet rice were served. People kept sharing the food from the same plate. It was truly an experience of a lifetime!

 

 

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.