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Kanshi Ram and Dinesh ke Chole Kulche

Kanshi Ram and Dinesh ke Chole Kulche

By Anubhav Sapra

Every Dellhite’s favourite street food is Chhole Kulche! It is one of the most celebrated go-to food of Delhi and everyone has a favourite local joint. Recently, on the recommendation of my foodie friend, Karan, I tried a very different kind of Kulche chole in Azadpur.

The name of the Chhole Kulche joint is Dinesh ke chole kulcha va garam pulav. Located next to Akash Cinema, Azadupur, it is easy to spot, because of the hordes of people surrounding his cart. The cart is owned by Dinesh and managed by his two brothers Kuldip and Raju. The family hails from Bareily in Uttar Pradesh and they have been into this business for the past 25 years.

image1-4This joint has a distinctive and exciting way of making kulchas. The kulchas are fried in butter with a red curry- a mixture of tomato, onion, garlic, ginger and capsicum. First, a generous amount of oil is put on a big pan and the red puree is added with a bunch of different spices. The kulchas are then fried over the spice mixture on the pan. A big spoon of butter is then spread over all the kulchas.

The kulchas are spicy and delicious, with a unique spicy punch that adds to the flavour. I ate few of them with out the chole. Infact, I asked him for double masala fry to make it more spicy. The kulchas are not for the weak hearted because of the amount of butter and spices that are added to the kulcha. However to soothe it down, a glass of boondi raita is  served at Dinesh’s stall.

After the initial conversation, Kuldip and Raju shared that the frying of kulcha is inspired from Pav bhaji where the buns are fried in a thick gravy with butter.  The joint is extremely inexpensive at only 30 rupees a plate.

After relishing the kulchas at Dinesh’s stall in Azadpur, I headed to his Uncle’s Chole Kulcha shop in Naraina. I was warned by Kuldip that it would be over by the time I reached. Keeping my fingers crossed I drove straight to his place, asking the security guards in the residential colony of E block, Naraina for his shop. The complete address is E-195, Naraina Vihar, Near Gyan Mandir Public School, Mobile number- 9211863472. By the time, I reached, the chhole at his stall were already over but on request I got a small portion of Chhole and a few kulchas.

image1-2Kanshi ram, who owns the shop, migrated to Delhi from Bareily at the age of 7 . When I visited his shop, he was listening to folk songs through his headphone, and sitting relaxed savouring tamatar pyaaz chutney with roti. I spoke to him at great length. His eyes were glistening with pride while he shared his story of hard work towards success that began from being a small street vendor to owning a ig shop.

Kanshi ram, also, has a similar way of making the kulchas. He puts butter over a big pan, fries the kulchas, spread a spoon of red coloured chutney, a mixture of garlic red chillies and tomatoes, and garnish it with grated paneer. However, it lacked the spicy punch that was evident in kulchas at  Dinesh’s stall. This is because of the butter and paneer that makes it less spicy compared to Dinesh’s kulche. Nonetheless, if you like your kulcha to be more spicy, you can ask for more chutney separately. A plate of Kulche Chhole costs Rs 40 at Kanshi Rams stall.

After having my fill, I bid adieu to Kanshi Ram and got the invitation at the same time to try the mutton he prepares, which he is going to cook sometime specially for me. I really liked the two joints and I hope they are able to expand across Delhi!

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Lallan Kulche Wala

Lallan Kulche Wala

By Kshitij Rathore

IMG_20160729_122839Darya Ganj has been a representative of lip smacking street cuisine since time immemorial. However, in the recent time, it has lost its lustre due to the popularity of places like Hauz Khas Village and Greater Kailash market. This is the reason I decided to explore Darya Ganj ­ to rediscover its lost sheen and to explore the scrumptious food that this place offers.

I was walking around Hindu Park when I found a small cart named ‘Lallan special Chole Kulche’. Intrigued, I went up to the guy and ordered a plate of Chhole Kulche. He had 6 different kinds of Kulche to offer which, honestly, was astonishing because you rarely find more than one type of kulcha, let alone 6. So, I sat on the wooden bench he’d set aside for customers as he prepared a plate of Sooji ke kulche and chhole sprinkled with lemon on top. A glassful of raita to mellow down the spiciness of the chhole worked in my favour.

IMG_20160729_123106Originally from Bareily, UP, Lallan bhai has been working in this area for the past 25 years. The fact that this has been his family business for the past three generations really reflects in his preparation of the food. Despite having a plethora of customers swarming around his shop, he wasn’t annoyed with my enquiries. In fact, he was very cooperative.

I also tried the Jeera Kulcha which I found very staiating. The variety of kulche included Aloo Kulcha, Paneer Kulcha, Carom seed (ajwaain) Kulcha and coriander(dhaniya) Kulcha. If you’re famished after all the book shopping, you can make a pit stop here to gorge on a flavoursome plate of Chhole Kulche. I highly recommend the Jeera Kulcha as its effervescent aroma will make your mouth water. It won’t cost you a whole lot as the prices ranges from Rs. 40 to Rs. 90 per plate.

You’ll find his cart in the lane adjacent to the Darya Ganj police station facing Hindu Park.

Cost for two: Rs. 180 (approx)

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Surinder Ji’s Chole-Bhature

Surinder Ji’s Chole-Bhature

By Anubhav Sapra

Hudson lane, the most iconic lane for all college students, is the food hub for Delhi University attendees. During my time at Ramjas College, for all celebrations however big or small everyone would crowd at the renowned Zee Chicken (for those who lived in the north campus) or the famous Pehalwan Dhaba to remind oneself of home.

When one closed the other opened, ACP dhaba and Friends Dhaba are the best examples. Here you were served a never ending tower of chapattis and the traditional Indian sabzi, which was an amalgamation of the season’s fresh produce.

With the ongoing food buzz, where customers want to explore new cuisine fusions in a lounge like atmosphere, Hudson Lane too is now jam-packed with cafes. Despite being exposed to the changing food scene a handful of restaurants are still true to their roots. Charan Singh’s food van is not only known for it’s shahi paneer chawal but also for the chef’s amicable personality and a smile that no one can wipe off.  His piping hot rajma chawal and aromatic kadi chawal are not only relished by the campus students but also all the near by office employees with whom he indulges in friendly banter.

IMG_4015Recently, I had the pleasure of trying Surinder ji’s ‘Chole-Bhature’. What makes his dish different from others is the unconventional flat bhatura. He makes the preparation quite interactive which is a sight for sore eyes. He grins from ear to ear while preparing a dish he seems to love; not even dicing an onion could make him frown. The Chola and Bhatura are served with chutney, a garnish of coriander and a side of a cornucopia of pickles.

For 16 years he has been plating this delectable delight and is an affordable treat for all DU students.

Address- Police line, Vijay nagar, next to Bakar café.

Cost for 2- Rs. 50

          IMG_5446                     IMG_4006

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Siyaram Chhole Kulche

 

Siyaram Chhole Kulche – Lajpat Nagar Market

 Ayushi Mathur

The number of malls in the city is ever increasing and so is the mall culture with sophisticated outlets providing all sorts of fancy assistance. But ask anyone here and they would have shopped in the streets of Lajpat Nagar at least once.  Lajpat Nagar Market is almost always included in our top suggestions for anyone visiting Delhi for the first time, and why not? It is one of the oldest markets in Delhi that offers a variety of products from clothes to kitchenware. So after shopping to their hearts content, what do the visitors seek? A plate of rewarding food to satisfy their hunger and this market has that covered too. Yes, Lajpat Nagar Market has some excellent choice of street food to gorge into. One of the numerous options of street food found in the market area is a group of Chhole Kulche vendors called Siyaram Chhole Kulche. Located in Lajpat Nagar II, near the main market area, these vendors sit next to the park and serve over 300 people in a single day.

12767664_10208673860107343_1805310672_nEven though, this does not look like an establishment, Siyaram Chhole Kulche has been selling delicious food for over sixty years in the same area; which is a true testament to the quality and flavour of their food. Despite the fact that they only offer one item, they sell enough Chhole Kulche each day to support 4-5 families. Yes, you read it right, this joint alone provides for the families of all the owners.

At just Rs. 35, the Siyaram Chhole Kulche are an absolute delight to both the tongue and the tummy. The best part is that 4 Kulchas are served with a bowl full of delicious Chhole which are spicy as well as tangy. The Chhole are topped with a generous amount of onions, ginger and coriander and the Kulchas are soft and fresh. This proves to be a very gratifying meal after a day of tiresome shopping.

So the next time you are in Lajpat Nagar Market, don’t miss out on these incredibly yummy Chhole Kulche. And don’t worry you’ll find them there every day of the week from morning till late in the evening.

  Cost for two – Rs. 70 Location –  Lajpat Nagar Market, Lajpat Nagar II [The garden near Button gali]

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Gole Hatti

CHHOLE-KULCHE

 Akshita Todi

IMG_20150527_110251
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.

 

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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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Raju ke Himachali Chhole

Raju ke Himachali Chhole

By Anubhav Sapra

The first week of January has passed. I have eaten only vegetarian food and extreme vegetarian at it – saatvik food – without onion and garlic. Many food joints or restaurants serve saatvik food without onion and garlic. There is Savarna Bhawan in Connaught Place that serves Jain sambar and at the other end there are eateries in Kamla Nagar – Brijwasi Rasgule Wala and Trishul Chaat Bhandar, all dishes cooked without onion and garlic. Last week, I had two classic Delhi dishes – chhole kulche of Raju in Kamla Nagar and chhole bhature of Nand Di Hatti in Sadar Bazar that makes chhole without onion and garlic. They both were delectable in taste.

WP_20150107_15_56_37_ProRaju, a man of innovations, has set up his whole shop in his cycle – rajma, rice, kulche, raita, a pan to heat kulche, dustbin, small pots containing black salt and masalas, green chilli pickles, and boards mentioning the names of the dishes – all on his bicycle. He is from a nearby locality in Kamla Nagar, called Sora Kothi, where he started his career as a salesman in a shop in Kamla Nagar. He got married later and to meet his both ends, he started selling kachoris on his cycle. The kachori business did not do well. But soon he met his guru Kedar from whom he learned the art of cooking a special kind of chhole, in his words Himachali chhole, without oil, onion, and garlic from his guru. The shopkeepers and the salesman, who work in these shops in Kamla Nagar, liked the taste of chhole without onion and garlic garnished with mild spices. Although, chhole is cooked without onion and garlic but he adds fresh onion if anyone asks for it. For last 15 years he has been selling chhole kulche, rajma, and kadi chawal in F Block, Kamla Nagar, opposite Stylish Collection Shop between 12 noon to 3:30 p.m.

It was 3 p.m. when I met him. The rajma rice was over. I could taste the last plate of chhole kulche and leftover gravy of rajma. Both of them were cold, but the taste was amazing. It was made in the Himachali style, where chhole is boiled, the excess water is drained out and then masalas are added to it. He topped the chhole with green pudina chutney, fresh onion and served crisp kulche with butter. I had chhole and kulche without looking for water to cool down the spices. The leftover gravy with a few grains of rajma had great taste. The aroma of the spices was still there. I slurped the gravy with a resolve to visit Raju’s mobile shop again on time to taste rajma and kadi chawal.

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Amritsari Kulcha

October 6, 2014

Amritsari Kulcha

By Anubhav Sapra

There is always something emotional about your first job, your first salary. And then comes a day when one has to take a stand to move on. I left my job few days back after working for an NGO for 4 years. I had to think for days to arrive at this decision to move on and follow my heart’s call.

On the last day at work, I decided to introduce my colleague to the partner organizations with whom I used to coordinate with. After starting from Saket in the morning, we reached another voluntarily-run organization in East of Kailash. The meeting got finished around lunch time. We rushed to a nearby community centre and started exploring the eateries out there. I have always followed a maxim, that if there is a crowd, the food has to be good.

We reached a place where young men in formal attire were having their lunch. I smiled, and told my colleague – this is the place where we are going to eat our lunch. He was a bit disappointed as he wanted to eat comfortably in a restaurant. However, I persuaded him to try the food there and he hesitantly ordered a plate of Amritsari kulcha and chole from a cart, which turned out to be absolutely delicious.

The cart is owned by Ashu Monga (Mobile number 880074901). He hails from Firozpur in Punjab and has been selling Amritsari Kulcha for the last 4 years in the Community Centre, opposite Building no.20 in East of Kailash. He is there from 10 am to 3:30 pm. A plate of two Amritsari kulchas with chole cost Rs 30.

20140930_131239The kulchas were soft and fluffy with the topping of tomato and paneer. I have never before eaten a similar kind of kulcha of this standard anywhere in Delhi. I requested Ashu to share the secret behind the softness of the Kulchas. He happily shared the secret – these kulchas are made up of wheat and semolina and not white flour, and secondly, they come straight every morning from Ballu Bakery in Firozpur, Punjab.  He adds a spoon of chutney over the chole and garnishes it with onion rings and serves these kulchas with green chilly pickles.

I returned to my office with my colleague feeling satiated and thinking about the right decision of leaving the job to pursue my vocation of running Delhi Food Walks full-time.

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Yadav Ji’s Chole Kulche

September 13, 2014

Yadav Ji’s Chole Kulche

By Anubhav Sapra

Saket has some decent eating joints for office goers in J block market. By decent, I mean good quality, reasonably priced food which anyone can eat. One such place in J block Market is Om Prakash Yadav‘s Chole Kulche. What attracted my attention to Yadav’s Chole Kulche cart was the horde of people of all age groups who thronged his stall – school children with empty lunch boxes getting chole kulche packed, office goers eating paranthas with chole and some of them getting packed chole kulche in Aluminium foils for their colleagues back in office.

20140903_150627Om Prakash Yadav hails from Siddharth Nagar in Uttar Pradesh. He has been selling CholeKulche for the past 24 years.  His cart is right opposite Neelu Nursing Home in J Block Market. The interesting part about Yadav ji’s Chole Kulche are the lemons which you can cut and squeeze over the chole yourself, unlike at other places where you need to ask the Kulche man for a few drops of lemon. Also, pickles of green chillies and mangoes are lying in huge quantity in a tray and one can pick as much as they want. I asked for the knife from Yadav ji to cut lemon in to two equal halves and squeezed them over the chole to make the spices a bit mild and savored them with kulchas which were soft and fluffy.

A plate of Chole Kulche and Parantha Kulche is priced for Rs 30 and a glass of boondi raita is for Rs 20. So, next time you are around Saket Market, try Yadav ji’s Chole Kulche. To add that tangy flavor, do not forget to add the lemon juice.