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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
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
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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Delicacies at CRPF Mela

 

Delicacies at CRPF Mela

By Anubhav Sapra

CRPF, the world’s largest armed police force and the proud sentinel of India’s internal security is all set to commemorate its Diamond Jubilee Year with the CRPF Mela 2014 from the 17th to the 19th of October. The three day extravaganza, organized by the CRPF family Welfare Association (CWA) is held at SDG headquarters, ISTM Grounds, Old JNU campus, New Delhi from 9 a.m. onwards. Reflective of real unity in diversity, the CRPF Mela presents scores of cultural shows, foot-tapping concerts, a delightful food festival which includes food stalls highlighting regional cuisine and a lot more.

The three day event is a confluence of craft and culture and will be based on three themes: family welfare, women empowerment, and youth well-being apart from the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the force.

Mrs. Suneeta Trivedi, President CWA said, “The annual CRPF Mela held on a central and zonal level alternatively, opens a window of opportunity to showcase CWA’s activities. It offers a platform for our homegrown talents and products to display their skills and rightful value. It also connects separated families and soldiers under one roof and gives them the scope to unwind and rejuvenate themselves before they resume their duties.”

The programme will feature CRPF’s 75 year long journey in the form of a short film. CWA members will be honoured and CRPF personnel will be recognized for their bravery and valour.

The CRPF family Welfare Association, a soul associate of the Force establishes firm support for the Force through the welfare and social domain. It works towards domestic empowerment, skill generation in the field of art and craft for families of the force and providing recreational avenues for the soldiers. The CRPF Mela is a conglomerated product of these efforts.

20141017_161730Now coming to food, one can indulge themselves in a wide array of delicious Kashmiri, Gujarati, Punjabi, South Indian, and Rajasthani delicacies at the regional food stalls. Having a sweet tooth, I started my food journey with GC Durgapur food stall and tasted some of the best sweets of West Bengal, my favourite sweet being a burfi with the stuffing of aam papad. In the same food court, Aye 1 Café, Safdarjung enclave has a food stall selling – Awadhi style biryani, roganjosh, chicken curry, and chicken satay. The satay is a must try. It was soft and juicy, covered with a layer of peanut sauce and coconut milk.

20141017_170207I was delighted to meet Prabhu Dayal, the supervisor of the J&K stall. He graciously introduced me to the J&K cuisine. I started with my all time favorite dish – Badarwa rajma and chawal. The beans were bright red in colour and delicious in taste. I also had Goshtaba, Yakhni, roganjosh, Rista, pulao and a delicacy of the streets of Jammu and Kashmir – Kalari Kulcha. Kalari is traditionally a ripened cheese product indigenous to Jammu and Kashmir. It is a very dense cheese that is usually fried in its own fat and salted prior to being eaten. After frying, it ends with a brownish crispy layer outside and soft, creamy, gooey cheese inside.  The taste is similar to melted mozzarella cheese. Kalari, onion rings, and tomato slices are filled between the two kulchas with a topping of anardana ki chutney and served hot. The taste of Kalari Kulcha was heavenly. This is another must try in the CRPF Mela.

20141017_170917Next, I visited GC Jalandhar food stall which has a nice welcoming name – “Bibiyan da Chulha”. The beautiful interior has been designed by Team Jalandhar GC led by DIG Mr. Sunil Thorb and Deputy Commandant Parvinder Kaur. The CRPF Jawans, in traditional Punjabi dress are serving food with warmth. I had Amritsari Kulcha with chole, Amritsari fish, chicken tikka, tandoori chicken, keema naan, sarson da saag te make di roti. The dishes must try in Punjab food court is fish and Amritsari Kulcha.

The other food stalls are of Rajasthani, Gujarati, South Indian and Uttar Pradesh. I could not try much at these stalls. However, I am sure the food would be decent.

My food journey ended with a cup of coffee at RAF 1 BN. Apart from the food stalls, folk dances, puppet shows and magic shows promise to add colour, vibrancy and fanfare to the event. So plan a visit to the CRPF Mela this weekend to taste the regional delicacies and experience the culture of different states at one place.

Anubhav Sapra
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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Roller Kulfi

Roller Kulfi

By Anubhav Sapra

Jugaad’ is the word that comes to my mind whenever I see ‘roller kulfi’ during Ramnavmi celebrations in Old Delhi. It is the only time in a year where one can savour the roller kulfi or disco fruit kulfi, called by many.

20141014_194446I was delighted, also amazed to see the two roller kulfiwalas in Kamla Nagar, namely, Bablu Kulfi and B.K. Variety Kulfi. You will be able to find them both at Chota Gol Chakkar, near Geeta Mandir. Let me tell you first about the equipment that is used to make roller kulfi. A huge iron cylinder is filled with crushed ice. This cylinder is then put in a stand that has a pedal on one side. It is important to roll the cylinder using a pedal; otherwise the same will melt away. This is taken care of by the two men every time: one who does not lose a single minute to roll the cylinder; and the other who prepares the layers of kulfi by crushing fruits and pouring rabri and milk. All different kinds of fruits – mango, banana, papaya, orange, pomegranate, etc. are added one after the other and interspersed with rabri. The ice inside the roller freezes the juices and with a knife, layers of frozen kulfi are collected in a ‘dona’. The kulfi is fresh and ready to eat before it melts.

20141014_194555Besides the fruit juices, B.K. Variety kulfi pours khus and roohafza syrup too. Thus out of the two, I would recommend Bablu’s( 9810246203) as the flavours are completely natural. The freshness of fruit juices with rabri, without added flavour makes the kulfi truly delectable.

I believe it should be named as ‘Galaouti Kulfi’ as ‘Galaouti’ means ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ and roller kulfis simply disappear in your mouth. The only thing it will leave you with would be its fresh taste.

For all those who missed it during Ramnavmi, this is a last chance to savour the same in Kamla Nagar till Diwali between 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., for only Rs. 50.

Anubhav Sapra
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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Crispy Kachoris of Janpath

Crispy Kachoris of Janpath

By Anubhav Sapra

I received a tweet yesterday –“the nip is in the air and the nuts are back”, with a picture of a huge mound of groundnuts with a clay pot kept at the centre. The clay pot is filled with the small pieces of wooden sticks.  These are lit so to keep the surrounding nuts warm. It also rained in some parts of North Delhi and the mercury dipped further. To celebrate the pleasant weather, I headed out to Janpath to grab a plate of Crispy kachoris, bread pakodas and samosa.

20141013_165609Ranjeet is the man who sells delicious mouth-watering kachoris on the pavement of Janpath. One can easily find him in the morning (9:30 – 12:00) and evening (4:00 to 7:30), sitting opposite Midland Book Shop with a blue box containing kachoris, samosas and bread pakodas, a huge bucket filled with  Potato and Chickpeas curry and a half-litre sprite bottle filled with green spicy chutney.

All the three dishes are priced at Rs 10 each. I tried each one of them, starting with Kachoris, then samosas and finally bread pakodas. Ranjeet serves kachori in a dona and adds aloo chane ki sabzi to it. He squeezes the sprite bottle to pour some green chutney over it. The kachoris with the filling of lentils were great in taste, crispy and fresh. The samosas and bread pakodas were equally delectable.

It’s a good start to celebrate the onset of pleasant winter weather with light crispy kachoris. My next stop is Old Delhi’s Khemchand, Gali Paranthewali, who is back with his Daulat ki Chaat, a delicacy of winter!

Anubhav Sapra
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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GIANI’S

 

GIANI’S

ADDRESS: Church Mission Road, FatehPuri, Delhi- 110006

CONTACT NO: 9210318644

For all the figure conscious people, let me tell you Old Delhi is not the place for you. Why so? Let me tell you!

An abode of the heavenly gods of taste, delicacy and food!This is what Old Delhi is all about.Simply after every 5-6 shops in the area, you will find an eating joint. Your shopping can never be complete without munching some or the other street food here. You will walk for a metre or two and you will find chaat- waalas, kachoris, jalebis and so much more all around the place.

Chandni Chowk shopping area is one such place where you can’t help but dig in some great food. From sweets to snack, it has it all. Giani’s food corner is a small eatery en route Fatehpuri. One has to turn right from the T-point at Shahi Majid, Fatehpuri. This outlet is the original Giani’s and it has many branches all across Delhi. Giani’s originally started as an ice cream corner, but now they have extended their menu to Chole Bhature, Chole Chawal, Lassi and a few more things. Not a very long menu to choose from though, but whatever the joint offers, it is worth it.

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The most popular thing offered her is the rabri falooda, which is actually vermicelli floating in rabri and a lot of crushed ice in a large glass.

I started my meal with a plate of lip-smacking chole bhature and with a glass of lassi. The bhature were crispy outside and soft inside. They were stuffed with little paneer(cheese) and that certainly added to the taste. The chole were not very good, they were a little undercooked. Lassi was served in a kulad, i.e. a container made of mud. The lassiwas outstanding, with the thick layer of cream on it and the smooth texture. It was cold with the perfect amount of sweetness.

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For those who have a sweet tooth, there is more that Giani’s offer. You can choose to have ice cream or Rabri Falooda or both for that matter! I preferred the much talked about rabri falooda, which was nothing less than heavenly. They give a big glass full of rabri. Rabri “is a sweet, condensed milk based dish made by boiling the milk on low heat for a long time until it becomes dense and changes its colour to pinkish. Sugar, spices and nuts are added to it to give it flavour. It is chilled and served as dessert”.

The prices, like most restaurants in Old Delhi are economical. The chole bhature cost around Rs. 60 per plate, the lassi is around Rs.30 and the rabri falooda cost nearly Rs.60. A nice and filling meal for two can be had within Rs.400.

The ambience is not very luxuriant, but a decent one. It can get a 7/10. The chole bhature would certainly get a 7.Lassi was 10/10 for me. The creamy texture is still there in my mouth. And the rabri falooda of course, it would score an 8.5 on my scorecard.

The overall experience was good, but I would highly recommend the rabri falooda for all the sweet lovers.

Happy eating!

 

Foodie Correspondent:Kashish Badar

Photo Credit:PiyushNagpal

 

Anubhav Sapra
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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Ever heard of a Gajar Parantha?

Ever heard of a Gajar Parantha?

By Kashish Badar

Paranthewaligali

It’s a rare site to see a woman managing a restaurant in Old Delhi, but I was lucky enough to witness it myself. Owning one of the most famous shops in Paranthe Wali Gali, Mrs. Sakun Sharma is a middle aged woman handling Babu Ram Devi Dayal Paranthe Wale.

Set amidst the hustling and bustling locality of Chandni Chowk, Paranthe Wali Gali, as the name suggests, is a hub for parantha (Indian flatbread) lovers. There are almost ten shops in the street which specialise in different types of paranthas. Out of these shops, almost half are owned by Mrs. Sharma’s extended family’s members. Not all of these shops serve paranthas though; one of them is a sweets shop having khurchan,lassi (churned curd) and other sweets on their menu.

The shop was established in 1889 according to the board outside, but Mrs. Sharma claims that it is much older than that. The shop belongs to her in-laws and she is the sixth generation handling this work. She feels proud to tell me that!

I had gone there with family, so we ordered a variety of paranthas ranging from the plain parantha to the mixed vegetable parantha.  The shop has a large variety to offer. Banana parantha, lemon parantha, parat parantha, bhindi parantha, kaju parantha,karela parantha and so much more. You just have to name it and they have it. We ordered a paneer parantha and badaam parantha to start with. While two men prepared them for us, one boy served us thalis each. The thali had aloo subzi, sitaphal subzi, aloo matar, pickle and saunth in it. The saunth had slices of banana floating in it. We were served the paranthas a little later. Let me tell you a very interesting thing about these flatbreads. Unlike the usual paranthas which are pan fried on a tava, these paranthas are deep fried in a pan of hot ghee/ oil.

We were served the badaam parantha first which had a filling of chopped almonds, salt and red chilli flakes. It tasted fine with the sweet saunth. But the different elements in the parantha could have blended together better. After the badaam parantha, we had the parat parantha (layered parantha). It had thin layers of wheat inside which could be separated easily. This looked interesting to me. Though it did not have any stuffing, but it tasted well with the rabri that we had ordered. We also had a mixed vegetable parantha. It had chopped cauliflower, chillies, potato and a few other vegetables in the stuffing. Our paneer parantha and plain parantha were served soon. These paranthas tasted well with the aloo subzi (dry) and the pickle. There’s one more thing that always manages to add flavour to the north Indian cuisine and that is lassi.  We north Indians just love this combination of paranthas and lassi.

Aloo parantha was last on our plate and I liked it second to the paneer parantha. The other paranthas had too much salt in them. Though the paranthas were golden brown and crisp but the stuffing in most of them was not up to my expectations. The subzis provided along the paranthas were fine but nothing exceptional, but I really liked the paneer parantha and parat parantha with the rabri. I would certainly recommend you to try it.

I would rate the badaam parantha 5/10, the paneer parantha 7/10, aloo parantha 7/10 and the mixed vegetable parantha would only get 4/10 due to the salt.

The paranthas  cost between Rs. 30- Rs. 60. So it is not an expensive deal. You can try out the other stuffings and probably ask the man who prepares them to add salt according to your taste.

A meal for two can be had within Rs. 200 – Rs. 300 very easily. Mrs. Sakun Sharma also told me that all her paranthas are equally popular.

From my personal experience, I would say that Paranthe Wali Gali  is slightly over rated. The variety they offer is the only attractive factor, but the taste and quality can certainly be made better. I think they can expand the variety by introducing non vegetarian paranthas. This will be a great addition on their menu.

With all the popularity and fame that Paranthe Wali Gali enjoys, it is worth a visit for all those who don’t hesitate in experimenting with their food.

And yes! Don’t dare to ask the recipe of your favourite parantha from Mrs.Sakun Sharma because she is quite secretive about it. She will look at you and say “Kuch cheezein bataane ke liye nahi hoti!”

Photo Credit- Piyush Nagpal

 

 

Anubhav Sapra
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.