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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.

ANUBHAV SAPRA

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.

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Bakar – the cafe

BAKAR – The Cafe

By Prakriti Bhat

Bakar. One word that encompasses many emotions. On word that can be used in different situations. In a Kashmiri household, it changes to “bakhar” when someone wants to say, “You guys have so much capacity for talking nonsense.” That’s what Bakar stands for. The universal right to talk utter nonsense and not be judged for it. GTB Nagar is an area full of cafes frequently thronged by students who are forever looking for a spot to chat and have good food. Bakar- The Café stands true to its name giving you a homely environment where you can just plonk down and bakar around with your friends over some fine food.

The owners Anubhav Sapra, Swati Singh and Rahul Bhardwaj have made every effort to give the café a homely vibe. Moda Stools, small cane and wooden tables, funky wall art and beautiful lanterns beautify the place. It isn’t as big as the other cafes in its vicinity but that’s where its beauty lies. Bakar is a ‘chhota packet bada dhamaka’! Don’t judge the place by its area. The menu consists of several varieties of Momos, Maggi, Shakes and egg dishes. It also has a few breakfast options like Pancakes and Crepes and soon they plan to introduce a full-fledged breakfast menu.

The co-owner, Mr. Anubhav Sapra is himself an avid foodie and has curated a menu keeping in mind the college crowd which prefers meals that are easy on the pocket. The Alfredo Maggi is good but adding a few veggies could make it even better. Butter Chicken Maggi was undoubtedly my favourite dish here. Butter Chicken and Maggi are two dishes that you can seldom go wrong with. And when such dishes come together there is bound to be a culinary explosion in your mouth. Thankfully, the pieces of chicken were quite abundant, thereby, not making you feel cheated. The typical aroma and flavor of Butter Chicken ensnares your senses making you ask for more. The bowls in which they are served are adorable!

IMG_20160708_145913468Bakar serves a wide array of momos.  Amongst the vegetarian ones, my favourites were the Spinach Momos and Potato Momos. The Spinach momos are extremely delicious and surprise you with their novelty. The Aloo Momos were a clear winner in this category. This is perhaps the first café in Delhi that serves Aloo Momos. Smooth and delectable, the filling takes you by surprise and tastes best when paired with mayonnaise instead of the traditional spicy chutney. Mushroom Momos were again something I hadn’t heard of before. Finely chopped mushrooms are used as the filling and believe me, it is something you do not wanna miss!

Let’s admit it; Paneer Momos is for days when your mood lies between veg and non veg. And the chef at Bakar does it really well with tiny dices of savory Paneer filled in the momos. The Veg Momos is a classic and you can never go wrong with it. The Chicken and Mutton Momos were extremely well made but the latter took the trophy home. I am a chicken lover but those juicy pieces of mutton stuffed in the dumplings tasted way better than its chicken counterpart. My only complaint is that the covering of most of the momos was a bit dry and hard.

2016-07-08-15-51-33To wash it all down, try their cold coffee with strawberry ice cream. It is the weirdest combo I’ve ever heard of. I utterly dislike strawberry ice cream and when this was brought to me I cringed from within and had half a mind to send it back. But the Cadbury Gems and colourful sprinklers prodded me to gather courage and take a sip. After that there was no stopping me. The coffee prevented the strawberry from taking the front seat and created the perfect blend of flavours. At the end, you are rewarded with a fortune of gems!

Kudos to Chef Kapil who brings a plethora of flavors to your plate and palate. Bakar also employs a differently abled staff which brings your order to your table. A jovial man, his laughter is infectious and is sure to make you smile even on a bad day. It is heartening to see that humanity still exists.

Cost for two- Rs. 350 (approx)

Address- G-24, Vijay Nagar

Contact No.- 9811359806

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Niche, Lounge and Bistro

Niche, Lounge and Bistro

A friend of mine recently hosted a Chef’s table named Messa at Niche lounge and bistro, which is located in M block, Connaught Place overlooking the Statesman house. With over 19 years of HR background, blogging came as a hobby to him and he started Mystic Foodie Mantra a few years back. For this event, he curated a special menu for food bloggers in Delhi.

Not being a regular restaurant reviewer, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The food served to us did not just look beautiful, it was simply delectable and I was thoroughly surprised.

image2 (1)The evening began with amusing conversations complimented by an array of unique starters that included Pulled Kathal Tacos and 57 degree duck breast. Kathal, being an excellent substitute to meat, is one of my favourite vegetables, as I like the flavour and texture in it. Served with Salsa and Kasundhi cream, the crisp outer shell of tacos filled with shredded kathal made a perfect combination. The duck was cooked at 57 degrees by a French method named Sous-vide.

Before, I go further about the tasting session, I must admit that the method of cooking involved a bit of food science. The chef revealed that the dishes on the menu are progressive. The cooking techniques involved are dynamic and always evolving. The chef also loves playing with textures, which was evident in the salad he prepared for us. The salad was made of beet and goat cheese. The beet in the salad took on various textures because of the intricate crafting by the chef.

For the main course, we were served Hari Saag along with Polenta crusted fried yoghurt balls, corn bread and jaggery chips with white butter soil. In simple words, dahike kebab were served with the saag. But the imagination of the Chef was incredibly distinctive, which was evident by the preparation and presentation of the dishes made with simple ingredients.

Next was the Lamb Shank Rogan Josh – Rogan josh gravy with ginger air and seasonal vegetables. This was the highlight of the Chefs table for me. It was delicious and I absolutely loved it. I did the most un-niche act at Niche. I slurped the shank and enjoyed the same to the core. Although, it was served as a complete dish in itself, I couldn’t resist myself from ordering assorted breads which went well with the Rogan josh gravy. 

The food journey ended on a sweet note with Cheesecake and raspberry sorbet which turned out to be the cherry on top for such a delightful evening. 

 

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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!

 

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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!

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Kashmiri Kebab Wala

Kashmiri Kebab Wala

By Anubhav Sapra

Where – T-point Phatak Teliya, Turkman Gate

The raging debate on ‘intolerance’ in the country has taken the country by storm. However, far away in foodie land what remains unaffected is the food of Old Delhi. Such  a relief! The buff kebabs are grilled to be savoured by the food lovers of Delhi without any discrimination.

A family from East Pulwama, Kashmir has been selling buff kebabs for the past 74 years in Turkman Gate, at a temporary set up, near the scrap market. Every winter, towards the end of November, this family travels to Delhi to sell kashmiri kebabs, just for four months. The shop which is open between 12 noon to 10 pm is located at the T-point of Phatak Teliya, Turkman Gate.

IMG_20151129_192131Started by Ghulam Mohd, the little shack is now run by the father son duo- Md. Yusuf and Md. Bilal. His other two sons- Mustafa and Sameer sell the same Kashmiri kebabs at Motor Market, opposite Jama Masjid. Md. Yusuf sits besides the scrap of photostat machines with a grill and a small fan to churn the buff kebabs. While Bilal puts the minced meat over the skewer, Yusuf grills it to perfection.

From young to old, Yusuf seems to be everyone’s favourite. The bond is so strong that any localite, if in Kashmir, stays at Yusuf’s place. When I reached there, I saw a kid relishing kebabs straight from the skewers. Within few minutes, another man came who asked this kid to recognize Yusuf bhai. I have captured the joy of this little one relishing kebabs in a video as well (obviously, with his due assent and the guardian’s consent to it). In the words of Yusuf, it is the “mohabbat” of the locals here that acts as a pull for his family to come every year in the winters.

IMG_20151129_191852The kebab is a bit different from the regular ones we get on the streets of Old Delhi. The keema is red in colour, not finely grounded, and contains fewer spices. Md Yusuf brings his own spices from Kashmir; in fact even the garlic and ginger are brought from Kashmir. The kebab is not soft or melt-in-mouth kind, but it is flavoured with finesse. I loved it to the core and for a moment, I could relate myself with the little boy who stood there relishing kebabs straight from the skewer. If I was an Old Delhi child, that would be me! A plate which costs Rs 10 is served with radish and green coriander sauce. One can always ask for Romali roll which is just Rs 13 per roll. A seekh kebab is rolled on a romali roti, doused with chutney and slices of radish to create a bundle of happiness.

There is another Kashmiri Kebab wala who sits at Bulbuli Khana in Jama Masjid. He works as a peon in a school in Kashmir and will be here in Delhi in another week to grill kebabs for the locals. Eagerly awaiting his arrival as I dream of kebabs!

 

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12 Chittaranjan Park Eateries To Try This Durga Puja

12 Chittaranjan Park Eateries To Try This Durga Puja

With Durga Puja kicking off, there is no better time to visit this mini-Kolkata of South Delhi, where you can pay homage to the goddess as well as to Bengali cuisine. And if you think that all you’ll find are sandesh and fish dishes, you are very mistaken. Delhi Food Walks decided to take a little trip down the gallis of Chittaranjan Park (named after the patriot or deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das) to bust this myth and to guide you to the best places for delicious Bengali specialities. Most eateries in Market 1 are located in a single file; you can stop and sample as you walk down the lane and breathe in tantalising whiffs of mustard and fish.

Nearest metro station:Nehru Place from the Violet line and then auto ride to Market 2.

When to visit: After 6pm, for an evening of merriment!

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Raju Puchka Wala

Location: Near Canara Bank, Market 1

We started off with puchkas (the Bengali iteration of golgappas) sold by Raju who hails from Bihar’s Kishanganj district. For the last 20 years, Raju has been delighting customers with fried wheat puchkas filled with a spicy mixture of jeera, coriander, black pepper, green chillies, potatoes and black chana (most golgappas in Delhi are filled with saunth and made of suji rather than wheat). He also sells a Bengali variant of the ubiquitous aloo chaat – aloo kabli is made of boiled potatoes, tamarind water, chickpeas, green chillies, onions, masala, and salt. Chaat lovers should also try the churmur, which is rather like a hybrid of puchkas and aloo kabli. It’s a tangy, crunchy and sweet concoction featuring chickpeas, tamarind water, boiled potatoes, crushed puchkas, green chillies, cilantro and black chana.

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Ghughnee Wala

Location: Opposite Kolkata Biryani House, Market 1

At Shyamal Barua’s stall, the signboard advertises both momos and ghughnee, but it’s the latter that you’re really here for. Mr Barua proudly exclaims that his mother is the master chef behind the finger-licking ghughnee which he has been serving since 2003. An extremely popular snack in Bengal and in parts of Bihar and Orissa, ghughnee is a curry made of chickpeas (motor in Bengali) that are soaked in water overnight. There’s a veg version as well as one with minced mutton.

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Kolkata Hot Kathi Roll

Location: Shop No 8, Market 1

We can forgive the owners for misspelling “kati rolls” as “kathi rolls”, a mistake made by most people outside of Kolkata where the dish originated at Nizam Restaurant; the word kati means skewers in Bengali and was applied to kebabs and then to kebabs wrapped in paranthas. You’ll find a wide range of mutton, chicken and paneer rolls here, but it also serves up prawn cutlets, veg chops, Mughlai paranthas, barbecued meats, shawarma and even a small selection of Chinese dishes among a host of other preparations. Don’t get too distracted, though – the rolls are what stand out, livened up by different sauces, including the mustard-and-raw-mango kashundi, a secret masala and chopped onions. Perfect.

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Roll ‘N’ Roast

Location: Shop No 7, Market 1

This place is right next to Kolkata Hot Kathi Roll and provides head to head competition to its neighbour, serving many of the same dishes. Their menu claims “Delicious Start Right Here” and they aren’t far off the mark. They are famous for their Chinese specialities (let’s not forget that Kolkata is considered to be the birthplace of Indian-Chinese cuisine) as well as their chops and kobirajicutlets. We highly recommend the Chinese chat which comes with a variety of toppings and a choice of either noodles or rice. For just Rs 200, a non-veg platter will allow you to sample Schezwan chicken (our fave), lemon chicken, chilly chicken, garlic chicken, chicken wings, chicken Manchurian and sweet ‘n’ sour chicken. The veg platter, on the other hand, costs Rs 120 and includes veg Manchurian, chilli paneer, crispy chilli potato, crispy honey potato, and mix veg salt ‘n’ pepper.

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Mad About Momos

Location: Near Evergreen Properties, Market 1

You’ll be spoiled for choice with the myriad types of momos served here — chicken, veg, paneer, soya, steamed, fried or tandoori. The beautiful little stall is made from bamboo sticks and also uses a traditional bamboo basket for steaming the momos – not a common sight in Delhi. It also differs from most other purveyors of momos in the city in that the dumplings are made of whole-wheat rather than white flour. Besides, have you ever seen momos shaped like a fish or a samosa? The fresh, hot momos are served with mayonnaise and a drool-worthy sauce made from butter, sugar, red chillies, tomatoes and onions. There are three other branches of Mad About Momos in Amar Colony, Central Market and Pocket 8 Vasant Kunj.

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A N R Chakraburti’s Pakora Stall

Location: Near Kendra Bhandar, Market 1

The shop traces its origin to 1971, the time when Chittaranjan Park was just a piece of land allotted to displaced people from East Pakistan. For lunch, they serve rice served with either egg (Rs 40) or fish (Rs 60).

Their aloo chop (pronounced alloor chop in Bangla), bread pakoras, beguni , chop pakora, mirchi pakora and onion pakora make for perfect evening telebhajas (fried snacks), best enjoyed with a cup of hot tea.

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Kamala Sweet Shop

Location: K-1/101, Market 1

Prabir Kumar Mukherji, the proud owner of Kamla Sweets, has been successfully operating for past 30 years. Here you can sample the quintessential misti doi (sweetened curd), available in traditional mud pots of different sizes (100gm to 1kg), as well as Bengal’s most famous dessert, sandesh (the “a” is pronounced as “o”) in different shapes, sizes and colours. Their conch- and fish-shaped sandesh are masterpieces and the steamed version (bhapa sandesh) guarantees love at first bite to the sweet-toothed. Other specialities on the menu include chum chum, dudh pulisita bhog, chandrapuli, rosogolla, bundi laddoo and lobongo lotika. You can also try chhena poda (Rs 500 for a kg), a caramelised cheese sweet that actually originated in Orissa. I you visit around breakfast you can also try savouries like khasta kachori, matar kachori and radhaballabhi (urad daal stuffed in a puri); they also make beetroot chops, a rare delicacy in this part of the country.

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Vivek Tea Stall

Location: Behind Mother Dairy, Market 1

Don’t be deceived by the name. This game-changer of a stall not only serves tea or “cha” but also cold coffee with ice-cream and dry fruits, hot coffee (pick from Nescafe, Bru and Davidoff), hot chocolate Bournvita and a variety of teas — lemon, tulsi (green), Arabian, jasmine, among others.

The best part about this ‘cha’ stall is that you can have your tea customised to your taste. His lemon cha was the highlight for us – it contains a flavourful medley of amla, black salt, black pepper, jeera syrup and Hajmola that will cause an explosion of flavours in your mouth.

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Vikas Bishwas — Jhaal Muri Waala

Location: Market 2

His fame speaks for itself as crowds throng his stall. With a genial smile on his face he tells us that he been known as the jhaal muri wala of CR park for the past 12 years. Hailing from Krishnanagar in Kolkata, Vikas started off as a shopkeeper at Annapurna Sweets, but now specialises in all things tangy and spicy. He reels off his specialities in a breathless monotone: ghugni, ankur chaat, aloo kabli, bhel puriand, of course, jhaal muri which he sells for Rs 20 only. Do try his mouthwatering mutton ghugni – a hot chickpea curry with minced mutton served with a garnish of onion, tomato and cucumber.

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Annapurna Sweet House

Location: Shop No 38, Market 2

A former accountant at Shaw Wallace, Mr Benoy Majumdar, has been running this place since 1984. Their star dishes include chhena jalebi(a jalebi made of cottage cheese instead of flour and with a taste quite similar to a gulab jamun; Rs 140/kg); the enticing jal bhara sandesh(a sandesh with a liquid centre); kheer puli (a doughy sweet dish made predominantly of kheer that melts in your mouth like a soufflé; Rs160/kg).
They also serve every Bengali’s favourite breakfast dish – radhaballabhi, a puri stuffed with dal and veggies.
Want further proof of their popularity? They often stay open well past the closing time of 10pm because the orders just don’t stop coming.

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Dadu Cutlet Shop

Location: Shop No 9, Market 2

Opened by Narender Mistri, affectionately called Dadu, in 1992, the shop is now managed by his son Shyam Mistri. Their fried bhetki fish is fried to crisp perfection (the audible crunch as bite in is evidence) and their famous egg devil chop is sin on a plate: hardboiled egg filled with cooked egg yolk and potato all wrapped up in crispy bread crumbs. The Mughlai paranthas are yummy too, and their samosas (calledsingharas) contain a unique filling dominated by coconut and chickpeas.

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Maa Tara Restaurant

Location: Shop No 45, 46, 47, Market 2

Located in the back alley of the market, this small restaurant specialises in authentic Bengali cuisine. Subhrojit, the son of the owners — Manju and SR Dutta, who are originally from Kolkata — proudly narrates the story of how his parents set up the restaurant about 19 years ago. The Maa Tara Special Thali consists of an assortment of dishes, out of which the mutton kasha shines out. Paired with luchi (puffy flour bread), the tender meat with just the right balance of spices will leave you asking for more. The mustard fish curry stands out too. Fish lovers can choose from pomfret, ilish, chitol, rehu and more — all for under Rs 400. Vegetarians must try the postor bada – a pakora with poppy seeds.

Image Courtesy: Mehak Dhawan and Sabhyata Badhwar

(With inputs from Neha Chandra and Kawal Chandhok)

“A collaborative project of Delhi Food Walks and Spoon University on Delhi Street Food Series that brings you the best of both worlds- expertise and love for food.”

This article was published in Huffington Post India- http://www.huffingtonpost.in/delhi-food-walks/12-chittaranjan-park-eate_b_8318836.html

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Shri Banke Bihari Brijwasi Rasgulle wala

Shri Banke Bihari Brijwasi Rasgulle wala
Find it here: D-128, Kamla Nagar
Ring it here: 011-23842116

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With a menu ranging from snack bites to a full-course meal- this is a heaven for travellers wishing to try outlandish traditional cuisines in their authentic temperament.

The shop traces its origin to the decade of independence, around the year 1957. Rajiv Brijwasi, one of the three brothers in the third generation of owners, proudly proclaims, “Vrindavan’s authentic taste cannot be found anywhere else, our ingredients are all pure and original.”

It is fascinating how this now-famous shop was initially operated out of a shack at the corner of the street for six years by his grandfather Shri Lala Ram Prasad. Then it graduated to a shop where the magic of cooking took place when his father, late Shri Lala Shyam Lal was incharge, eventually establishing itself at its current location. To the people here, the shop has been here forever- and they keep visiting it time and again.

What sets this place apart is the fact that the recipes have stayed true to tradition, and none of the delicacies use onion or garlic, two household ingredients, in their preparation. They end up tasting better than they could ever have tasted with onion. This could partly be because of their other USP i.e. the use of only and only pure desi ghee in cooking.

A tasty Indian meal is said to have a balance of six flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, spicy and astringent. And this place harbours the accurate balance in its decades-old walls.

For breakfast, they prepare Puri Bedmi and Kachori that make up for two of the most irresistible and filling breakfasts. For lunch, we recommend having a thali consisting of Paneer, Dal, Raita and 2 paranthas.

A very quirky and interesting fact to note is that the best known food that they sell are desserts (they practically owe their fame and name, literally, to sweets), and while Rasgulla has been a specialty for as long as its existence, the enticingly creamy Rasmalai, Raj Bhog and Gulab Jamun have been relatively recent additions. These desserts reek of authenticity and you cannot help but savor them through and through.

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Verdict: Visit this place as much for their spongy Rasgulla as for the unalloyed, divine experience of Vrindavan in Delhi.

Must Try: While all the items are such glorious relics of authentic street food, you have to try the desserts, especially Rasgulla and Rasmalai.

 

A collaborative Project of Delhi Food Walks and Spoon University on Delhi Street Food Series that brings you the best of both worlds- expertise and love for food.

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Ashwini ji ke Peepey wale Chole Kulche

Ashwini ji ke Peepey wale Chole Kulche

By Anubhav Sapra

IMG_20150730_141726I remember, once while reading the newspaper I came across this article which said that there are almost 250 cafes and restaurants in Connaught Place. Many come and shut down after some time and the shutters remain unnoticed. In midst of that, there are a few street food joints selling amazing dishes uninterruptedly for many years. One of them is Ashwini’s chole kulche (Mob. 9953085746) at the corner of MCD’s Anti Malaria office. The location might not sound attractive but his chole indeed is worth relishing.

It was Ashwini’s father, Late Prakash Sharma who set up this shop in CP. Ashwini ji used to accompany his father every day and assist him. In 1988, while he was pursuing the graduate program from Delhi University, his father passed away and he took over the shop to make both ends meet .From 1988 to 2007, the Committee staff was against him for running this shop. However, he filed a case in court and eventually got the permission to operate his shop.

IMG_20150730_135357Interestingly, the chole is cooked in Lahori style, without oil. The chane is boiled in ghee ka kanaster and then homemade spices are mixed into it. It is famously known as Peepee wale (cans of ghee)chole as the chole is boiled for almost 5 hours  in empty ghee cans on slow wood fire. The can is changed every 15 days as “the quality of the cans is not up to the mark as it used to be” remarks Ashwini ji.

The shop is open from 12 noon to 4 pm. Ashwini ji pedals his cycle for two hours in the morning with a big aluminium can filled with hot Chole from Wazirabad and reaches the spot at 12 noon. A plate of chole with three kulcha’s costs Rs 20/-. You can ask for bhaturas as well.

The chole is mixed with brown pudina ka paani(thick mint water). The mint leaves are sourced from Chintapurni, hometown of Ashwini ji in Himachal Pradesh. They are dried and grounded to powder form so as to later add it in the chole. Finally, the chole is garnished with onion and lemon juice.

The concoction of all these makes the chole a bit spicy, but that’s how the locals like it. The gravy was just perfect to be mopped up with fluffy kulchas. I liked the lahori style chole with thick gravy and a punch of mint water. I relished it to the core!

What intrigued me the most at his shop was that people from different sections of society ranging from homeless citizens and shoe polishers to office guards to college students and office goers, all relishing chole kulche, at one place. It seemed to be a perfect example of the equal world which we all wish to see.

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Kebab Garh Festival @ Barbeque Nation

Kebab Garh Festival @ Barbeque Nation

By Anubhav Sapra

Being a kebab freak, I dare not miss any opportunity to be at any of the kebab festivals happening anywhere in Delhi. And this time it is Barbeque Nation hosting a Kebab Garh festival in all its outlets in Delhi till 8th March, where kebab lovers can savour a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian kebabs.

Bharwan Murg TangariBarbeque Nation has never disappointed me. I was there a few months back when they hosted Pat Chapman Grills, the world festival featuring amazing grills at their outlet in Noida. And this time, I was more than just overwhelmed to taste every kebab being served in the Kebab Garh festival. I started with the Bharwan Tangri – the leg of chicken stuffed with cheese, jalapeno, salt, and pepper. It was grilled to perfection. Next was Teen Mirchi Prawns – prawns with green chillies, black pepper, and red chilli flakes. This dish was simply delectable. Having three different kinds of chillies, it was not that hot and spicy and went well with the garlic mayonnaise. Another kebab, although named the Mughlai Tali Machi, was similar to Amritsari fish and had a nice flavor of ajwain in it.

In the vegetarian section, I tried the Hariyali Kebab – a mixture of all that was green – spinach, coriander, mint, green chillies. However, the best kebab in the vegetarian section was the karela kebab – small pieces of karela stuffed with cottage cheese, lentils, and cheese. This was just cooked the right way, peeled first, then boiled, and later kept in cold water. Before I could take out the karela kebab from the skewer, the chef warned saying, “It has a bitter taste.” Keeping aside the Chef’s warning, I ate them all straight from the skewers. It was delicious without much bitterness, crisp from the outside and soft on the inside. To cater to the momos eating generation, the festival also has tandoori momos with cheese balls, named Naye Nawab ki Pasand and is served with mint chutney.

The Diwan-e-Shakahari main course for vegetarians has Akbari Paneer, the Badshahi Baingan, and the Shahi Mattar Mushroom, etc. The Diwan-e-Mansahari main course for non-vegetarians consists of dishes like Murg Lababdaar, Mutton Shah Pasanda, Nizam Fish curry, etc.

BBQN 7th Nov14162Barbeque Nation has also launched Kulfi Nation. With a basic mix of six variants – four with sticks – figs, strawberry, mangoes, and paan, and two without sticks – malai, and kesar pista, one can create their favourite toppings. As the summer is approaching, it is indeed going to be a big relief for kebab lovers to savour the succulent kebabs on the table and end the meal with kulfi.

Meal for two: Rs 1600

Outlets: Janakpuri, Connaught Place and Jangpura