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Mohd. Sageer Nahari Wale

                                                   Mohd. Sageer Nahari Wale

By Anubhav Sapra

The temperature of Delhi has further plummeted to a five year low at 4.2 degrees. There are expectations that the record of coldest December in 50 years might broke soon. Sometimes I wonder that the current generation is going to witness all the records. To keep warm, some prefer sipping a hot cup of tea with Samosa and few like me find solace in a plate of hot Nehari or haleem.

Although Nehari is traditionally cooked overnight and eaten as a breakfast, it is now easily available in the evenings as well. Infact, both the famous Nahari walas in Ballimaran – Manzoor Hotel and Mohd. Sageer Nahari wale sells the delicacy in the evenings.

WP_20141117_112Mohd. Sageer Nahari Wale, a 67 years old shop, located in Baradari, Ballimaran, shop number 2461 and 2462. A half plate buff nahari costs Rs 60. A plate of Bheja is Rs 50 and Nalli is Rs 30. Typically Nahari is made of trotters or knuckles or goat’s head, and known as Paye ki Nehari. However, to cater to the modern taste, different varieties are available. Many still prefer mixing a proportionate quantity of Nalli and bheja in Nahari.

The preparations for Nahari at Mohd Sageer’s shop starts everyday at 8 am in the morning and by 6 pm , Nahari is ready to be served. In the day time, between 12 noon to 3 pm, korma and kofta is available at Rs 20 a plate. I straightaway ordered a half plate of Nahari. I got it fried in yellow Amul butter, garnished it with finely cut ginger slices and green chillies. And on the top of thick gravy, evenly squeezed the lemon juice. The meat was tender after hours of cooking and the aroma of spices was intact. The yellow butter with a tinge of lemon mellowed down the spices but added a nice flavor to the nahari and made it simply delicious.

I cleaned up the plate of Sageer’s Nahari without worrying about the forecast made by IMD about the cold spell that is likely to continue over the week as it is believed the remedy for cold.

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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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Yahya Tea Stall

Yahya Tea Stall

Everyone always ignores the small tea stall on the side of the road or at the corner of a street. No one knows the history behind a small tea stall. Even Shah Rukh Khan’s father had a tea stall and served tea at a very well known drama company in Delhi, and if it was not for the star, we would probably never have known that such a tea stall existed.

WP_20141117_037Likewise, there is an old tea stall in the lane of Gali Qasmijan, right at the entrance of Phatak Luharu in Ballimaran. This tea stall was started by the late Haji Mohammed Farooq in 1969, carried on by his son the late Mohammed Yahya. It has been forty-five years since the pouring and serving of tea has been going on here. Now, the grandchildren, Mr. Farhan and Mr. Faizan, who are reporters with a newspaper, are still taking care of their family business. Their father, the late Mohammed Yahya, also owned a dairy shop named after his wife, Sabra and a hotel where the tea famously known as “Haji ki Chai” was served. Since the grandchildren did not have the same aspirations as their father, they gave up the place for rent and but have still kept the touch and name of their father through the tea stall.

When I looked at the boys preparing the tea, I was completely amazed at how it was being prepared. It was nothing like the way we prepare it at home.

WP_20141117_049The tea leaves are boiled in water in an aluminum kettle for a long time and on the other side, the milk is kept boiling, letting it form a layer of cream, commonly known as malai. The first step is to put a spoonful of sugar, a teaspoon of milk and boiled tea, and a spoon of malai. It is then stirred well and served hot. If you desire for a strong cup of tea, they add a spoon of fresh tea leaves, while pouring the boiled tea, in the strainer to give it that dark look and a strong kick. Mostly it would look like filtered tea that is served at a fancy tea shop.

There is a lively history behind this tea stall. Believe it or not a hundred and fifty cups of tea were made and served at a time which impressed me so much since there are so many different steps to get a perfect cup of tea. It definitely did not taste like the regular tea that one drinks every morning.

Nearby the tea stall, there was once a college named Tibbia College which has been shifted to Karol Bagh. This college offers education in medicine, and therefore, numerous and frequent doctors, professors, and students would be attending this college. Now a morning without a tea would not be complete and Yahya Tea Stall completed the mornings of a lot of people in the college and around. Tibbia College ordered six hundred teas almost every day, and without fail they were served with the same quality and standard.

WP_20141117_041For a couple of days, the tea stall had been shut down but by popular demand of the people living there and expressing their love for the tea and the family, the stall was back with a bang, serving tea with as much as dedication as it did when it first started.

The grandchildren besides being modernized and familiar with the media profession did not leave their ancestral house and believed that living there would keep the culture and history of the place alive. Surprisingly, the haveli that they reside in was once the haveli of Ghalib Mirza’s second wife. It definitely must be exciting to live in a house with intricate Mughal style designed pillars, doors, windows, and houses. Farhan Yahya said that the love and the respect of the people could not make him leave the place where he spent his childhood.

A must visit if you want to have a perfectly made hot cup of tea.

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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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Manzoor Hotel

Manzoor Hotel

WP_20141117_029As I strolled around the streets of Ballimaran, relishing the delicious taste of Habshi Halwa, I came across an old restaurant by the name Manzoor Hotel, giving us the feel of a dhabha. This hotel was established by a man named Zahoor Ahmed, who like us fancied about food to such an extreme that he made it his passion to start his own hotel sixty-seven years back. He was a cook by profession before, and his love for food made him start his own little restaurant which is very famous in Ballimaran.

The initial years of Manzoor Hotel saw them serving only nahari, nali and bheja (all buff dishes), but in the last ten years, there has been an assortment in the menu by including chicken, fish, and vegetarian options as well.

The Hotel has opened a branch in the same lane, in fact very much opposite to the main restaurant, serving a range of delectable and appetizing lunch and dinner to the people around.

Manzoor Hotel is now managed by Zahoor Ahmed’s two sons, Saim and Sarim. Sarim has been helping his father and elder brother in the business for the past three years. The restaurant is famously known for all its dishes which are served with khamiri roti, which is made with white flour mixed with yeast and baking soda.

During the day, you will get a wide variety of dishes to choose from, which include: buff korma, chhole keema, bheja, dal fry, egg curry, chicken stew, aloo matar paneer, chicken keema, fish curry, chicken kofta, chicken korma, and chicken rizala (cooked in milk and cream). These are mouth-watering and exquisite dishes that one can order and treat and savor their palate with piquancy, all ranging from Rs. 25 to Rs. 40 per quarter plate. You can easily have a meal within Rs.250.

In the evenings, they serve the most famous dish – nahari, nali, and bheja which can be mixed and fried together in Amul butter on demand. The shop timings are from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Located at the entrance of Gali Qasim Jan, opposite Hamdard Gali, Manzoor hotel is a must-visit place for nahari, nali and bheja.

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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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Asli Habshi Halwa

Asli Habshi Halwa

By Anubhav Sapra

WP_20141117_016I came across something very interesting when I recently roamed around in the streets of Ballimaran. The entrance of Punjabi Phatak in Ballimaran greeted me with a sweetmeat, “Asli habshi halwa”. This sweet is made up with many nutritious ingredients put together such as milk, desi ghee, cashew, nuts, almonds, clove, kewda, wheat flour, and only during winters, saffron. It is recommended in the cold weather as it is a good source of energy and gives strength to our body to prevent weakness.

The name in itself is very intriguing, which got me thinking why a sweet should be named “habshi”. Habshi is the Urdu word for the colour black and also a name commonly used by many Delhiites for people of African descent because of their color and strength. Isn’t that a bit harsh?

Firoz Ahmed, the proud owner of the shop, shared the journey of the sweetmeat since the time of undivided India. The original shop of habshi halwa was in Chandni Chowk, located somewhere in between Kucha Rehman and Kucha Ustad Daag. Abdul Khaliq was the owner of the shop, famously known as Ghantaghar Habshi Halwa Wale. During the Partition, Abdul Khaliq migrated to Pakistan, leaving his shop in the hands of his workers.

After the Partition, Firoz’s father started with a small granary shop, and sold paan and bidi to earn a living. He met a worker from Abdul Khaliq Habshi Halwa Wale and learned the art of making habshi halwa from him. The recipes were passed down from that worker of Abdul Khaliq’s shop to Haneef to Firoz and till date, Firoz Ahmed makes this delicacy at his home.

WP_20141118_038The shop is now looked after by his son, Firoz Ahmed in Punjabi Phatak, Ballimaran. Mohammed Hanif’s brothers have also continued the business of selling habshi halwa but have opened their own stores named after their brother, namely, Hanif Dairy in Gali Qasimjan, near Hamdard Dawakhana, which has been doing brisk business there for more than ten years now. A few shops after that, I found another shop selling the same sweet by the name Ahmed Dairy, which was started by Taqi Ahmed. To differentiate from the others and retain the original identity of Abdul Khaliq’s shop, a picture of Ghanta Ghar (the clock tower in Town Hall) is printed on the box of Firoz Ahmed’s Habshi Halwa.

Habshi halwa is one of Old Delhi’s famous delicacies and is rich in flavour and aroma. It takes nine hours to cook this sweet and it is sold throughout the year, but mostly in the winters from October to March. It is priced at Rs. 430 per kilogram. The shelf life of the sweetmeat is one month. It may become dry after one month but the taste remains the same.

Ghanta Ghar Wala supplies this halwa all around India, mostly to Kanpur and abroad in Pakistan. During the month of December season, they offer yellow carrot halwa which is supposed to be eaten cold and is made without ghee. I found this extremely new and fascinating. I am eagerly waiting for the December to savour this carrot halwa. I wonder how it will taste – halwa without ghee and served cold.

If you have a sweet tooth and ever find yourself in Old Delhi, you must visit these shops located at the following addresses and try the extremely famous and delicious habshi halwa:

1.     Ghanta Ghar Wala – 1368, Punjabi Phatak, Ballimaran.

2.     Hanif Dairy – 1532, Gali Qasimjan, Near Hamdard Dawakhana, Lal Kuan.

3.     Ahmed Dairy – 1538, Gali Qasimjan, Lal Kuan.

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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.