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Bishan Swaroop Chaat Corner

Bishan Swaroop Chaat Corner

By Anubhav Sapra

I remember vividly, the must visit place in Chandni Chowk for fruit chaat where my mother used to take me during my childhood to was Bishan Swaroop Chaat Corner. Sitting on the stairs of Jain Library and slurping the leftover juices of fruits in a dona mixed with khatta meetha (sweet and sour) masala (spices) are some fond memories of those days. I visited Bishan Swaroop Chaat Corner yesterday afternoon to grab a dona of mixed fruit chaat and was saddened to hear that Bishan Swaroop had passed away one and half months back due to paralysis.

Bishan Swaroop Chaat corner has been serving fruit chaat since 1923. Started by Lallu Ram, the father of Bishan Swaroop, the shop is now run by his nephews, Jitender and Nand Kishore (contact no.: 9899648131). The address is 1421, near Mahavir Jain Library, Chandni Chowk, and it is open from 12 noon to 8 p.m.

WP_20141107_15_40_06_ProI had mixed fruit chaat (Rs. 40 per dona) which contains tomato, star fruit, guava, watermelon, cucumber, beetroot, apple, orange, papaya, freshly fried potato and chickpeas, all mixed together.  Spices such as roasted cinnamon, black pepper and chaat masala are sprinkled along with lemon juice and tossed with coriander chutney. The fruits get coated in different flavours and taste delicious but unfamiliar. Interestingly, Ashok who was doing this magical mixing of lemon juice, masalas and chutney, serves the mix fruit chaat in a dona with a toothpick to eat the fruits and a small spoon to slurp the leftover juice with the chickpeas.

WP_20141107_15_43_28_ProI slurped the leftover juice to the last drop and ate chickpeas soaked in sweet and sour juice. Other kinds of chaat to try at the Chaat Corner are aloo chaat (Rs. 50 per dona), sweet potato mixed with fried potatoes (Rs. 50), fried aloo and chhole (Rs. 30), and aloo kachalu (Rs. 50).

I am sure Bishan Swaroop’s soul would rest in peace as this wonderful task of making such delicious chaat is being continued by his talented nephews.

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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Daulat ki Chaat

Guess what Old Delhi is back with?

By Anubhav Sapra

I am delighted to announce that Babu Ram and his family members are back from the villages of Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh to the by-lanes of Old Delhi- Sitaram Bazar. Guess what he is back with? He is back with the ‘Daulat ki Chaat’, a delicacy of winter. It seems winters are just here!

I spotted Babu Lal, a Daulat ki chaat hawker, at the Chhata Shah ji lane, near Barsha bulla chowk where the famous lotan Chole Kulche sells his scrumptious meal. Till 10 am, you can find Babu Lal at Chhata Shah ji, and from 11 am to 7 pm at Maliwara in Chandni Chowk.

Pamela Timms in her book ‘Korma, Kheer and Kismet’ has beautifully summarized this winter delight. She mentioned,

1012776_558971730853379_1164812161_n“Daulat ki chaat (meaning ‘snack of wealth’) is probably Old Delhi’s most surprising street food. Anyone expecting the punchy, spicy flavours usually suggested by the word ‘chaat’ will be disappointed. It resembles uncooked meringue and the taste is shocking in its subtlety, more molecular gastronomy than raunchy street food, a light foam that disappears instantly on the tongue, leaving behind the merest hint of sweetness, cream, saffron, sugar and nuts; tantalizing, almost not there. I’ve often wondered if daulat ki chaat is a preview of what might be on the menu should we make it as far as the pearly gates. The means by which a pail of milk is transformed into the food of the gods, though, is the stuff of Old Delhi legend rather than of the food lab. First, so the story goes, milk and cream have to be whisked by hand before dawn ( preferably under the light of a full moon) in to a delicate froth, then left out on grass to set by the ‘tears of shabnam’ (morning dew) – but not too many, nor too few. At daybreak, the surface of the froth is touched with saffron and silver leaf and served with nuts and bura (unrefined sugar). Daulat ki chaat is only made in the coolest months because at the first ray of sunshine, it starts to collapse. It doesn’t travel well either- to enjoy this very local specialty, a winter pilgrimage to the shady gullies of Old Delhi has to be made.”(p. 147-148)

A dona of Daulat ki chaat costs Rs 40. Babu Ram’s family members (kinari bazaar- Khemchand, Gali Paranthe Wali- Rakesh, Dariba Kalan- Babu Ram and Maliwara- Babu Lal) are there in the alleys of Old Delhi with their khomchas selling Daulat ki Chaat. The winter delight is available until Holi. So, it is the time for a winter pilgrimage, in the words of Pamela Timms, to the gullies of Old Delhi to savour the delicate dessert.

Reference: Timms, P. (2014). Korma, Kheer and Kismet. New Delhi: Aleph

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.