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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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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.