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Annapurna Bhandar

Annapurna Bhandar – Chandni Chowk

–          Ayushi Mathur

Bengal is known for its numerous ambrosial delicacies and when it comes to desserts, Bengalis surely make some of the finest. The well-known sweets from Bengal are easily available around the city but to indulge in the most authentic form of Bengali dessert, one has to travel to Chandni Chowk market. In the ever so crowded streets of the market, lies a small and peaceful shop, known for its delicious sweet treats, called Annapurna Bhandar.

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In 1920 Late Mr. Mohinimohan Mukherjee moved to the city of Delhi as a railway employee but unfortunately ended up losing one of his legs in an accident in the following year. Unable to continue as a railway operator, he decided to open a small sweet shop in the city in the year of 1922 to cater to the small Bengali community that resided in the area. Within seven years it grew in popularity and the final version of the shop was ready in the main market. The shop, then, had similar interiors to that of a railway coach. However in order to keep up with the wear and tear, the interiors had to be changed to its present form. The shop, Annapurna Bhandar, today is owned by the third generation in Mr. Mukherjee’s family and still retains its former glory despite its modern design.

Mishti Doi
Mishti Doi

The shop offers a wide-ranging menu right from the traditional spongy Rasgullas to the lesser known yet exquisite desserts like Kadambari. As I entered the shop, seeming perplexed by the umpteen choices available, Mr. Mukherjee asked me if I was looking for an extra sweet dessert or one that wasn’t too sweet. I decided to go with lightly sweetened and was suggested to try Rasomadhuri and Mishti Doi. I have to agree, I was hearing the name Rasomadhuri for the very first time and this made me even more excited to try it. Rasomadhuri has a very lightly saccharine taste and feels granular while chewing. It leaves an aftertaste of fresh pistachio in the mouth. Mishti Doi is velvety and flavorsome. The sugar in both the desserts was well blended and did not taste like extra sweeteners had been added.

All the sweets in the shop are made with cow milk and prepared fresh every day. Even with the immense popularity of the shop, Mr. Mukherjee remains uncertain of the future as the following generations are not keen on maintaining the family business. Despite the uncertainties, I am sure Annapurna Bhandar will continue serving delectable sweets for years to come as it is not just any family business, it is a legacy.

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

THE INEXPENSIVE WEALTHY CHAAT

By Prakriti Bhat

As Delhi’s winters give way to the scorching summer heat, we are all left to reminisce about the chilly months that went by. Dilli ki sardi is quite popular for its spine chilling (literally) dip in the temperature that forces you to snuggle inside a cosy blanket with a cup of tea or coffee. However, come winters and Delhites venture out of their homes to gorge on seasonal delicacies like Kadhai ka Doodh, piping hot Jalebis and Gajar Ka Halwa.

But what I, as a foodie, want Delhi to be famous for is Daulat Ki Chaat. A lesser known delicacy available only in winters, Daulat ki Chaat will make you fall in love with it instantly. Available exclusively in old Delhi, it is nothing like your regular chaat that tickles your palate with its spicy and tangy flavor. This one is sweet. Yes, Daulat ki Chaat is a dessert whose job is not to tease but to please! It is extremely light and can be eaten after a heavy meal. Unlike other Chaat items, this one soothes your senses.

Literally translating to ‘The wealthy chaat/snack’, Daulat ki Chaat is a product of hours of toil. The process is quite cumbersome as it takes several hours of manual labour. Milk and cream are churned together for 3-4 hours continuously. This causes a thick layer of foam to accumulate on the top which is carefully removed and collected in a separate dish. To a few parts, saffron is added which lends a yellow colour to it. This large dish (like a gigantic thali) is placed on a wooden stand as customers drop by to devour it.

daulat ki chaat
Daulat ki Chaat

In a plate this foam is taken, both the plain white and the saffron one, which are topped with Khoya and powdered sugar. After trying for 2 months, I finally got to taste this dish. All it took was a spoonful and I instantly knew that I had Nirvana on my plate! The texture is extremely soft. In fact, soft would be an understatement. The frothy texture melts in your mouth and the khoya and sugar make it a sweet and toothsome delight.

From November to mid March, Chandni Chowk hides several vendors of Daulat Ki Chaat in its sly and narrow alleyways. I tried it in two places in Chandni Chowk. One was in Katra Neel, outside Chanda Fashion. Anil Chand Kumar, the vendor prepares every plate with great care and expertise. Anil claims that 40 years ago his dadaji (grandfather) was the first one to bring Daulat Ki Chaat on the streets of Delhi-6. From November to March, he sells Daulat ki Chaat in Katra Neel and the rest of the year he works at his family’s shop- Baba Chaat Corner in Jogiwara, opposite to the Bhairon Temple. He served one plate for 50 rupees.

Another vendor, Hukum Singh stands bang opposite to Natraj Dahi Bhalle Wala from 9 a.m. every day. Hukum Singh hails from Moradabad, U.P. and learnt the art of making Daulat ki Chaat from his mamaji (maternal uncle) who has been selling it in Kinari Bazaar since the last 25 years. He started selling Daulat ki Chaat about 9 years ago. With a happy and content smile he says, “The process of churning goes on till about 3-3:30 in the morning. After holi, it becomes too hot for Daulat Ki Chaat as the foam begins to disintegrate. So I go back to my hometown where farming keeps me busy till the next October-November.” Here, one plate was for around 35-40 bucks.

Chandni Chowk has many mouth-watering dishes to offer. But things like Daulat ki Chaat go unnoticed. I hope this dessert does not fade away into oblivion, swallowed by the stiff competition from popular restaurants.

Another article on Daulat Ki Chaat – http://www.delhifoodwalks.com/blog/daulat-ki-chaat/

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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Gole Hatti

CHHOLE-KULCHE

 Akshita Todi

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Gole Hatti ke Chole Kulche

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.

 

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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HAZARI LAL JAIN KHURCHAN WALE

HAZARI LAL JAIN KHURCHAN WALE

By Akshita Todi

ADDRESS- 2225, Kinari Bazar, Chandni Chowk, New Delhi,

TIMINGS- 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Sundays half day)

 

As I ventured into the winding streets of Chandni Chowk- Delhi’s throbbing market center which was first established during the Mughal rule, I experienced an overwhelming impact of the old Delhi charm. It was a bright summer morning, and the shops at Kinari Bazaar had not opened up yet, rendering the market quiet and unpeopled- a state which is diametrically opposite to its usual crowded, bustling atmosphere. Sequestered within the quiet narrow streets, a lone sweets’ shop was buzzing with activity, infusing the air with the smell of sweet condensed milk.

555547_337747299642491_1117331318_nThe shop was established in Kinari Bazar by the late Mr. Hazari Lal Jain 76 years ago and is currently managed by his son- Mr. Sunil Jain. It specializes in a variety of traditional milk-sweets like khurchan, malai laddoo, rabri, kalakand and gulab jamun. It also sells samosas with a filling made of a combination of peas, cashew nuts and raisins, as opposed to the usual potato filling for this is considered to be healthier. The shop is tiny and allows space for two stoves where large quantities of milk are boiled and condensed while 3-4 lungi clad men constantly engage themselves in the process of preparing the dishes. One of these men- Mr. Kalyan Singh- who has been working here for the past 26 years volunteered information about the shop freely, taking great interest in telling us about the preparation method for the shop’s speciality- Khurchan (meaning scrapings in hindi).

 IMG_20150527_091000Khurchan is prepared by boiling milk for around 1- 1.5 hours. While the milk is boiling, the men use a thin twig to scrape off the layer of malai from the surface repeatedly. These scrapes are then layered with powdered sugar in a metal container. Khurchan has a very soft texture and the powdered sugar causes it to melt in one’s mouth. 3.5 liters of milk are required to prepare 0.5 kg of khurchan. The shop prides itself on using undiluted buffalo’s milk for making and selling dishes which form an essential part of the country’s traditional cuisine.

In the end, Mr. Singh decided to impart to me a precious few words of wisdom about my responsibility to the nation as an aspiring writer while he skillfully pulled out the malai off the surface of the boiling milk. His words brought home the reality of our country’s cultural condition whereby, men like him who strongly hold on to their tradition and make a living by selling the taste of this beloved tradition are simultaneously capable of an amazing sense of adaptability which allows them to endorse the idea of a strong nation with powerful women writers.

 

 

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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Ghaseeta Pehalwan Pakodewala

Ghaseeta Pehalwan Pakodewala

By Anubhav Sapra

It has been my observation that Pehalwans are generally obsessed with food. And due to this inclination, they turn out to be real food entrepreneurs. Majority of them have opened restaurants and food joints across Delhi. I remember, Pehalwan Lassi Wala in Vijay Nagar, who offers their patrons a big glass of lassi with a thick layer of cream on the top, at just Rs 25.  I used to rush to him after examinations at Delhi University. The Lassi was the only respite from the hangover of reading political philosophers day and night. In addition to its cooling effects, it also causes drowsiness and made me sleep for hours after that.

At Churiwalan, in Old Delhi, Pehalwan’s Changezi Chicken is a well known name. The most famous Butter Chicken Shop in Matia Mahal, Aslam Chicken Corner is owned by Aslam Pehalwan. Another shop owned by a pehalwan in Old Delhi – Ghaseeta Pehalwan sells amazing pakodas. Recently, rains became  an excuse for me to visit the pakoda shop to savour some Kalmi Vada Pakoda.

IMG_5390Making one’s way through Paranthewali gali, one can arrive at the junction called Tiraha of Gali Paranthewali, Nai Sadak and Kinari Bazar. There, at the corner of Gali Heeranand is a small shop which tends to attract everyone with the delectable aroma of freshly made pakodas. The shop is famously known as Rajesh Pakodewala where the portrait of Ghaseeta Pehalwan in his traditional attire hangs on its wall. He is the third generation owner of the shop. His grandfather, 70 years ago, was the purana ghaseeta pehalwan. Interestingly, he started a new venture along with his wrestling profession, which was the pakode ki dukaan.

IMG_5389I tried moong ki dal ke pakode and kalmi vadaAlthough the chaat of Kalmi Vada can be found at many chaat joints in Old Delhi, the kalmi vada pakoda is quite rare to find. All the doubts are laid to rest right from the first bite. It is prepared using urad dal, ginger, green chillies, black pepper and other important spices. Kalmi vade ke pakode are made from chana dal. You also get amazing mix pakodas, stuffed with aloo or gobi, at Rs 20 per plate.

The pakodas are served in a dona with dhaniya and amchur chutney and aloo ki sabzi, with a heady aroma of heeng. Heeng is widely used as a substitute for Onion in Old Delhi. So, the ingredients at Ghaseeta Pehalwan’s shop include no onion, no garlic. The pakodas were crisp and fried to perfection. The batter of chickpea flour with spices was a perfect concoction that can be relished at the Pehalwan’s shop.

If you know any food joint owned by a wrestler or a pehalwan, do write to us at delhifoodwalks@gmail.com

 

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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Lala ji’s poori and sabzi

Lala ji’s poori and sabzi

By Anubhav Sapra

Recently the statements by Congress MP Raseed Masood and spokesperson Raj Babbar about the availability of food between Rs. 5-12 made headlines everywhere, from national dailies to news channels. Like all others, I also  found it very hard to believe the claim and decided to check it for myself.

I tried to explore every nook and corner of the famous streets of Purani Dilli, starting from Bara Dari, Ballimaran, Matia Mahal, Lal kuan, Sardar Swarup Chowk, Khari baoli to Chandni Chowk including many kuchas and galis to find out a place where one can have a wholesome meal at Rs 5.

Nothing seemed to put an end to my search. However, on my way to Fathepuri Masjid, I located a small shop at Sardar Swarup Chowk, ‘Lala ji Poori Sabzi Wale’.The shop was crowded, a large number of people were queuing up with money in their hands to grab a plate of Lala ji’s poori and sabzi.

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Here you can get three poori(s) with aloo and chana sabzi for Rs10. The poori(s) are crisp and deep fried in the oil and sabzi is equally good with just the right amount of spices added to it.

I couldn’t help but feel amazed at the simplicity of the place, the warm hospitality, the hurrying customers, the delicious food and the astonishingly low price. Bhai Waah!
Happy Eating! 

 

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.