Despite the crude line of political tension that divides the nations of India and Pakistan, it is impossible to negate the centuries-old shared culture that constitutes the throbbing centre of the societies that thrive in both the nations. The chhole-kulche that is served in traditional North-Indian and Pakistani style allows the youth to get a taste of the times when the subcontinent was united. The chhole are cooked in a special mix of spices which are prepared by the chefs in their own kitchens by grinding the raw materials into fine powder. The smell of garlic and onions, while they are sautéed in huge frying pans in liberal quantities, is sure to tease the passerby’s nostrils and invite one to get just a taste of this North-Indian specialty. The chhole are served with slices of carrot and tamarind chutney which has a sweet and sour flavour. The gravy is cooked without any oil, rendering it healthy while being delicious at the same time. It has a subtle taste tinged with the smell of bay leaves, cloves, black pepper, cumin seeds and cinnamon. Unlike the popular renditions of this dish, the chhole are not very spicy and the gravy is delightfully light and flavoursome. The kulche that are served with the chhole are light, fluffy white breads made of flour dough with baking powder. They are baked in large quantities in traditional ovens which are unwieldy in their sizes. A food-lover can well imagine the delight of tearing into the soft pieces of the kulcha and dipping it into the scrumptious gravy of the tender chhole.
Along with chhole-kulche, other popular Lahori-Amritsari dishes include Chhole-palak-chawal, Palak-paneer-chawal and dahi-bhalla. The chawal is not just plain rice. It is an aromatic dish whereby the rice is drenched in pure ghee and then flavoured with bay leaves, cloves, pepper, cinnamon and dry fruits. It is tossed with vegetables like peas and carrots and also with fried cubes of cottage cheese. This pulao is then served with varying combinations of gravy and side-dishes to suit the preferences of the diners. The dahi bhalla is soft and has a perfect blend of tangy and sweet flavours.
That the partition of the nation could never bring about a divide in the lifestyle preferences of those living on either side of the border, is exemplified marvelously by the Lahori-Amritsari dishes that are lovingly prepared in food joints established by Pakistani immigrants in Old Delhi.
Gole Hatti, which was established in 1954 by Shri Nathuram Kamboj, is once such food joint. They pack their dishes in clay containers for home delivery as they believe that the plastic containers are unable to preserve the authentic taste and smell of the food. The shop sticks close to tradition, to the point that the managers continue to use the ancient model of the telephone with the ring-dialer. The menu is small and the chefs prepare the food in an open kitchen. The shop earns its name from the circular shape of its structure due to its location at the turn of the main road. It is currently managed by J.P. Kamboj and Karthik Kamboj.
Address- 2, 3, 4 Church Mission Road, Fatehpuri, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi- 110006
Phone number- 011 2252 0321
Timings- 11:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.