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Karim’s

A ROYAL AFFAIR

By Prakriti Bhat

karimsWalking through the serpentine lanes of Old Delhi, one comes across the hustle and bustle of life with people setting up their shops and getting ready for the day. Butchers, hardware shops, stationary stores, etc open their shutters to the world keeping up their promises of quality products at wholesale prices. Cars, rickshaws, autos, scooters, e-rickshaws, all try to squeeze their way through the narrow streets. The shouts of shopkeepers, the jingling of rickshaw bells, the chatter of people; they all have a music of their own and add to the charm of Old Delhi. But a trip to the walled city is simply incomplete without a visit to the famous Karim’s. Known worldwide for its Mughlai food and amiable service, Karim’s boasts of a rich cultural and culinary history.

Rewind to the Mughal era. The Mughal emperors would constantly go out on wars to secure their position in the sultanate. Since years, the royal cook would prepare meals under the aegis of the Mughal queens and kings but with the onset of British rule, the Mughal Empire came to an end. When the last emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar was exiled, the royal cook (whose descendants are now running Karim’s) had to leave the durbar and look elsewhere for a job. In 1911, at the time of coronation of King George V, Haji Karimuddin moved to Delhi with an idea to open a small dhaba to cater to the guests coming from all over the world. He set up a little stall outside the towering Jama Masjid and his menu only consisted of a humble combination of aloo ghosht and daal served with roti. In 1913, Haji Karimuddin set up the Karim’s Hotel in Gali Kababian, right opposite to Jama Masjid and today it is a prominent eatery in the capital city.

Bringing royal food to the common man’s plate at a nominal rate has been the main objective of Karim’s. The family continues to conjure up delectable dishes, each with a closely guarded secret. It is a 5 minute rickshaw ride from the Chawri Bazaar Metro Station. The rickshaw drops you right in front of Jama Masjid from where you have to enter one of the many alleyways. Meandering through the narrow lane, a whole new world opens up in the form of Karim’s. It’s hard to imagine how such a big place can exist at the end of such a constricted gali. They have 3-4 sections to serve the heavy crowd that starts pouring in from morning itself. The staff is dedicated and affable and the service is quite efficient. Going against the popular notion of Old Delhi being an unhygienic place, the restaurant also scores high on hygiene.

1395857_546954232055129_791945401_nI went to this place with some NRI relatives who had heard a lot about its culinary delights and rich history. The place works at its own rhythm as the cook stirs the steel pots at a steady pace over burning coal and not fire. We ordered Chicken Burra, Mutton Burrah, Chicken Biryani, Mutton Biryani, Mutton Kebabs, Sheermal and Mutton Korma. The Chicken and Mutton Burrah were well marinated and slightly charred on the surface. The Biryani was cooked in a typical Mughlai manner with less spice which worked well for my relatives. The meat was succulent. Mutton Korma was a dish of mutton served with a red curry which satiated our taste buds. This we ate with a flatbread called Sheermal which is a specialty here. The Mutton Kebabs were my favourites. Juicy and delicious, they took ‘yummy’ to another level altogether. Other popular dishes here are Badam Pasanda, Chicken Mughlai and an exclusive entrée called Tandoori Bakra which has to be ordered 24 hours in advance.

Zaeemuddin Ahmed is the restaurant’s director and a representative of the family to have worked here. Numerous generations have come and gone but the standard of their food remains unchanged. Karim’s may have opened numerous branches all over Delhi like Gurgaon, Noida, Nizamuddin and Saket, placed in swanky malls and modern markets. But for the most genuine, best and truest experience one must visit its original branch near Jama Masjid, where the saga began. It has definitely put Old Delhi on the world map by offering a satisfying meal to people from all across the globe. People can experience the richness of Mughal Durbar by digging into their food. At the end of Gali Kababian awaits a magical world of gastronomic delights.

Location- 16, Gali Kababian, Jama Masjid

Cost for two- 850 (approx)

Contact no. – 01123264981

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 TOKRI

CRISPY TOKRI

By Shreya Chowdhury

 “Dillwalo ki Dilli” is often used to describe Delhi and Delhiites, and the one thing very close to their Dil (heart) is food, especially street food. To cater to this love for street food, a small outlet named Crispy Tokri has opened in PVR Anupam Complex, Saket.

tokri chaatTheir most famous is the Tokri Chaat, from which it derives its name. It was truly a delight for the taste buds. The dahi was sweet and fresh. The bhalla, anar (pomegranate), aloo bhujia, paneer, the tokri, mixture of balanced spices create a very interesting and flavourful mouthful. The Tokri chaat makes a great snack, nice and light, perhaps after a movie at the Cineplex.

The most popular dish is their Chole Bhature. It is a delight for health-conscious people, as the bhatura is fried in olive oil. They are nice and fluffy and very importantly, non-greasy. It tastes amazing! It has some spices which enhances the taste. The Chole was cooked to perfection, and the taste was authentic Delhi style. The chole, bhature, green chutney, onion and achaar make a great combination. It tastes good and is very filling.

Their other famous dishes are aloo tikki, raj kachori and golgappas. For foreign tourists, aloo tikki is suggested. It is comparatively less spicy, also cooked in olive oil. The golgappa is fresh and crispy, with a good balance of sweet and sour.

In today’s world, people avoid street food because of hygiene reasons. In that premise, Crispy Tokri is very hygienic and is one of the reasons why people love the place. Also, the people serving are very hospitable. Overall, it was a good experience. The price is also reasonable and doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket. The maintenance of hygiene, the use of olive oil and RO water for the golgappas just adds to the fact that they do have great street food.  They also have home delivery and take away. So, if you cannot go out but are craving for tasty, hygienic street food, Crispy Tokri is a good choice.

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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OLD DELHI- A FOODIE’S HEAVEN

OLD DELHI- A FOODIE’S HEAVEN

It’s not just about the crowded narrow lanes, the old havelis, nor the Red Fort, but it is so much more than all this. Old Delhi appeals many not only because of the above stated reasons among others, but because of the old world charm it still manages to hold. Purani Dilli is like a crowd-puller which calls people even from far off places. It is a hub of so many cultures, traditions, cuisines and has something for each one.

It is most famous for its street food and welcomes everyone who wants to taste the traditional Indian food in desi style! Where else will it be considered a disgrace to have Pani Puri with mineral water and in an air- conditioned restaurant but in Old Delhi? It knows that Pani Puri tastes the best on roadside!

One of the best things about Old Delhi is its flavour. If you really want to taste was an actual plate of Dahi Bhalla or sewaiyyon ka halwa tastes like, Purani Dilli is the place. It has handled the flavours very well and still manages to keep them intact in the dish. I recommend you treat your taste buds here at least once! There is a lot that Old Delhi offers.

After one hectic day, even I set out to satisfy my hunger along with a friend of mine who had never been to the ever glorified Chandni Chowk. We preferred to stroll in the lanes so we could explore more and after quiet a long walk, we landed ourselves in one of the most popular restaurants in Old Delhi, Shiv Mishthan Bhandar. If you go from Red Fort towards Fatehpuri, it’s located in the end at the right side, near Bikanerwala. We went through the menu after being warmly welcomed by the owner, Raja Bhai. Since he told us that Bedmi Puri is the most popular dish, we ordered the same. We also ordered Chole Bhature. The service was pretty good and the food was served hot and in very little time.

DSC04686Jalebi

Hungry as we always are, we smacked the food. Honestly speaking, the puri was a hit. It was hot, crispy and perfectly fried. This hearty dish is fried puffed bread with a mix of lentils and spices. Urad Dal is the main addition to the puri which also makes the texture a little granulated. It is crispier than the normal puri. Some people also add ‘hing’ to the puri for flavour. The red chilli added to the pitthi of Urad dal makes the puri spicy. I would give 8/10 to the puri but only 6/10 to the subzi, since it wasn’t that scrumptious. Salt was in excess in the subzi and it was not even prepared very well. Overall I would rate the dish at 7/10.

After finishing the puri subzi, we dipped our fingers in the chole bhature, which was a better option than the puri subzi, simply because both the bhature and the chole were perfectly made. The bhature were golden brown and and the chole were aptly spiced. The mango pickle with the chole was a great addition. Chole Bhature would get 8/10 from me.

After the enjoyable lunch, we ordered imartis. They are quite similar to jalebis but not totally. Imarti  is made from a variety of urad flour and deep fried in a circular shape. Saffron is also added for colour and afterwards it is dipped in sugar syrup. They are usually yellow- orange in colour due to the saffron.

Perfectly crisp and sweetened imartis put an end to our foodelicious journey.

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Shiv Mishthan offers a fairly large variety of Indian snacks and dishes at quite reasonable prices. The owner, Raja Bhai told us that they cater around 500 people daily and Bedmi Puri is a favourite with all. Hope you grab of the same too!

Meal for two- Rs. 150-200

For further information you can contact

Raja Bhai- 8376825232

Address- 375, Kucha Ghasi Ram, Chandni Chowk, Delhi- 110006.

By Kashish (Foodie Correspondent)

Photo Credit- Piyush Nagpal

 

 

 

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.