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.
Making 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.
I tried moong ki dal ke pakode and kalmi vada. Although 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 [email protected]