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Sardar ji ke Poori choley

Sardar ji ke Poori choley

By Anubhav Sapra 

Despite the proximity of Daryaganj to Chawri Bazar and Chandni Chowk, the way food is prepared in these areas differ. While the food is mildly spiced in Daryaganj, in Delhi 6 it is hot and high on spices. Delhi Food Walks conducted its Sunday breakfast walks in these three places, and the highlight of the one at Daryaganj was Sardar ji’s Chole poori.

IMG_20150516_110704The shop was started by late Nand Singh ji and is currently being run by his son Kuku Singh. Originally from Rawalpindi, the family migrated to Delhi after the partition and shifted the shop to the current address on Ansari Road, Daryaganj, twelve years back. One can identify the shop by the board outside which reads, “Jeha Caterers” however the shop is well – known as Sardar ji ke poori choley ki dukan in Daryaganj.

At Sardarji’s shop, the menu changes as the day progresses. It starts with Poori Sabzi, offers rajma and kadi chawal in the afternoon and in the evening serves traditional snacks such as – samosa, kachori and jalebi.

IMG_20150516_105015This famous Sardar ji’s shop is proud of serving Punjabi poori. It is different from the regular Bedmi poori available in other places in Old Delhi. The dough of Bedmi poori, is made up of wheat and is coarse in texture. Whereas, the dough of Sardar ji’s punjabi poori is a mixture of wheat flour, white flour, ghee and salt. It is stuffed with urad dal ki pitthi (paste of yellow lentils), saunf (fennel seeds), jeera (cumin seeds), red chilies and the hing ka paani (asafetida water) and is deep fried in oil. The mixture of all the spices especially hing leaves the poori light and crisp and does not have any after effects like heart burn.

The aloo chole sabzi is mild in spices without onion, garlic and tomatoes. The sabzi is cooked in curd with masalas. The gravy of the sabzi is thick in texture and simply outstanding in taste : not too spicy, not too bland.

A plate of poori sabzi is accompanied with sitaphal ka achar (pumpkin pickles), sliced onions and methi ki chutney (fenugreek chutney). In winters, the pickles served are of gobhi and gajar (cauliflower and carrots). The pickles are also mild and light flavoured.

Apart from Poori choley, Sardarji’s shop also offers sweet malai lassi which is served in a kulhad and besan ke laddu. You can wash down the Poori choley with these if you find it spicy.

Cost of one plate Poori choley : Rs 30

Contact number of the shop owner : 9717031008

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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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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Yahya Tea Stall

Yahya Tea Stall

Everyone always ignores the small tea stall on the side of the road or at the corner of a street. No one knows the history behind a small tea stall. Even Shah Rukh Khan’s father had a tea stall and served tea at a very well known drama company in Delhi, and if it was not for the star, we would probably never have known that such a tea stall existed.

WP_20141117_037Likewise, there is an old tea stall in the lane of Gali Qasmijan, right at the entrance of Phatak Luharu in Ballimaran. This tea stall was started by the late Haji Mohammed Farooq in 1969, carried on by his son the late Mohammed Yahya. It has been forty-five years since the pouring and serving of tea has been going on here. Now, the grandchildren, Mr. Farhan and Mr. Faizan, who are reporters with a newspaper, are still taking care of their family business. Their father, the late Mohammed Yahya, also owned a dairy shop named after his wife, Sabra and a hotel where the tea famously known as “Haji ki Chai” was served. Since the grandchildren did not have the same aspirations as their father, they gave up the place for rent and but have still kept the touch and name of their father through the tea stall.

When I looked at the boys preparing the tea, I was completely amazed at how it was being prepared. It was nothing like the way we prepare it at home.

WP_20141117_049The tea leaves are boiled in water in an aluminum kettle for a long time and on the other side, the milk is kept boiling, letting it form a layer of cream, commonly known as malai. The first step is to put a spoonful of sugar, a teaspoon of milk and boiled tea, and a spoon of malai. It is then stirred well and served hot. If you desire for a strong cup of tea, they add a spoon of fresh tea leaves, while pouring the boiled tea, in the strainer to give it that dark look and a strong kick. Mostly it would look like filtered tea that is served at a fancy tea shop.

There is a lively history behind this tea stall. Believe it or not a hundred and fifty cups of tea were made and served at a time which impressed me so much since there are so many different steps to get a perfect cup of tea. It definitely did not taste like the regular tea that one drinks every morning.

Nearby the tea stall, there was once a college named Tibbia College which has been shifted to Karol Bagh. This college offers education in medicine, and therefore, numerous and frequent doctors, professors, and students would be attending this college. Now a morning without a tea would not be complete and Yahya Tea Stall completed the mornings of a lot of people in the college and around. Tibbia College ordered six hundred teas almost every day, and without fail they were served with the same quality and standard.

WP_20141117_041For a couple of days, the tea stall had been shut down but by popular demand of the people living there and expressing their love for the tea and the family, the stall was back with a bang, serving tea with as much as dedication as it did when it first started.

The grandchildren besides being modernized and familiar with the media profession did not leave their ancestral house and believed that living there would keep the culture and history of the place alive. Surprisingly, the haveli that they reside in was once the haveli of Ghalib Mirza’s second wife. It definitely must be exciting to live in a house with intricate Mughal style designed pillars, doors, windows, and houses. Farhan Yahya said that the love and the respect of the people could not make him leave the place where he spent his childhood.

A must visit if you want to have a perfectly made hot cup of tea.

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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 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 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.