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12 Chittaranjan Park Eateries To Try This Durga Puja

12 Chittaranjan Park Eateries To Try This Durga Puja

With Durga Puja kicking off, there is no better time to visit this mini-Kolkata of South Delhi, where you can pay homage to the goddess as well as to Bengali cuisine. And if you think that all you’ll find are sandesh and fish dishes, you are very mistaken. Delhi Food Walks decided to take a little trip down the gallis of Chittaranjan Park (named after the patriot or deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das) to bust this myth and to guide you to the best places for delicious Bengali specialities. Most eateries in Market 1 are located in a single file; you can stop and sample as you walk down the lane and breathe in tantalising whiffs of mustard and fish.

Nearest metro station:Nehru Place from the Violet line and then auto ride to Market 2.

When to visit: After 6pm, for an evening of merriment!

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Raju Puchka Wala

Location: Near Canara Bank, Market 1

We started off with puchkas (the Bengali iteration of golgappas) sold by Raju who hails from Bihar’s Kishanganj district. For the last 20 years, Raju has been delighting customers with fried wheat puchkas filled with a spicy mixture of jeera, coriander, black pepper, green chillies, potatoes and black chana (most golgappas in Delhi are filled with saunth and made of suji rather than wheat). He also sells a Bengali variant of the ubiquitous aloo chaat – aloo kabli is made of boiled potatoes, tamarind water, chickpeas, green chillies, onions, masala, and salt. Chaat lovers should also try the churmur, which is rather like a hybrid of puchkas and aloo kabli. It’s a tangy, crunchy and sweet concoction featuring chickpeas, tamarind water, boiled potatoes, crushed puchkas, green chillies, cilantro and black chana.

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Ghughnee Wala

Location: Opposite Kolkata Biryani House, Market 1

At Shyamal Barua’s stall, the signboard advertises both momos and ghughnee, but it’s the latter that you’re really here for. Mr Barua proudly exclaims that his mother is the master chef behind the finger-licking ghughnee which he has been serving since 2003. An extremely popular snack in Bengal and in parts of Bihar and Orissa, ghughnee is a curry made of chickpeas (motor in Bengali) that are soaked in water overnight. There’s a veg version as well as one with minced mutton.

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Kolkata Hot Kathi Roll

Location: Shop No 8, Market 1

We can forgive the owners for misspelling “kati rolls” as “kathi rolls”, a mistake made by most people outside of Kolkata where the dish originated at Nizam Restaurant; the word kati means skewers in Bengali and was applied to kebabs and then to kebabs wrapped in paranthas. You’ll find a wide range of mutton, chicken and paneer rolls here, but it also serves up prawn cutlets, veg chops, Mughlai paranthas, barbecued meats, shawarma and even a small selection of Chinese dishes among a host of other preparations. Don’t get too distracted, though – the rolls are what stand out, livened up by different sauces, including the mustard-and-raw-mango kashundi, a secret masala and chopped onions. Perfect.

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Roll ‘N’ Roast

Location: Shop No 7, Market 1

This place is right next to Kolkata Hot Kathi Roll and provides head to head competition to its neighbour, serving many of the same dishes. Their menu claims “Delicious Start Right Here” and they aren’t far off the mark. They are famous for their Chinese specialities (let’s not forget that Kolkata is considered to be the birthplace of Indian-Chinese cuisine) as well as their chops and kobirajicutlets. We highly recommend the Chinese chat which comes with a variety of toppings and a choice of either noodles or rice. For just Rs 200, a non-veg platter will allow you to sample Schezwan chicken (our fave), lemon chicken, chilly chicken, garlic chicken, chicken wings, chicken Manchurian and sweet ‘n’ sour chicken. The veg platter, on the other hand, costs Rs 120 and includes veg Manchurian, chilli paneer, crispy chilli potato, crispy honey potato, and mix veg salt ‘n’ pepper.

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Mad About Momos

Location: Near Evergreen Properties, Market 1

You’ll be spoiled for choice with the myriad types of momos served here — chicken, veg, paneer, soya, steamed, fried or tandoori. The beautiful little stall is made from bamboo sticks and also uses a traditional bamboo basket for steaming the momos – not a common sight in Delhi. It also differs from most other purveyors of momos in the city in that the dumplings are made of whole-wheat rather than white flour. Besides, have you ever seen momos shaped like a fish or a samosa? The fresh, hot momos are served with mayonnaise and a drool-worthy sauce made from butter, sugar, red chillies, tomatoes and onions. There are three other branches of Mad About Momos in Amar Colony, Central Market and Pocket 8 Vasant Kunj.

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A N R Chakraburti’s Pakora Stall

Location: Near Kendra Bhandar, Market 1

The shop traces its origin to 1971, the time when Chittaranjan Park was just a piece of land allotted to displaced people from East Pakistan. For lunch, they serve rice served with either egg (Rs 40) or fish (Rs 60).

Their aloo chop (pronounced alloor chop in Bangla), bread pakoras, beguni , chop pakora, mirchi pakora and onion pakora make for perfect evening telebhajas (fried snacks), best enjoyed with a cup of hot tea.

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Kamala Sweet Shop

Location: K-1/101, Market 1

Prabir Kumar Mukherji, the proud owner of Kamla Sweets, has been successfully operating for past 30 years. Here you can sample the quintessential misti doi (sweetened curd), available in traditional mud pots of different sizes (100gm to 1kg), as well as Bengal’s most famous dessert, sandesh (the “a” is pronounced as “o”) in different shapes, sizes and colours. Their conch- and fish-shaped sandesh are masterpieces and the steamed version (bhapa sandesh) guarantees love at first bite to the sweet-toothed. Other specialities on the menu include chum chum, dudh pulisita bhog, chandrapuli, rosogolla, bundi laddoo and lobongo lotika. You can also try chhena poda (Rs 500 for a kg), a caramelised cheese sweet that actually originated in Orissa. I you visit around breakfast you can also try savouries like khasta kachori, matar kachori and radhaballabhi (urad daal stuffed in a puri); they also make beetroot chops, a rare delicacy in this part of the country.

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Vivek Tea Stall

Location: Behind Mother Dairy, Market 1

Don’t be deceived by the name. This game-changer of a stall not only serves tea or “cha” but also cold coffee with ice-cream and dry fruits, hot coffee (pick from Nescafe, Bru and Davidoff), hot chocolate Bournvita and a variety of teas — lemon, tulsi (green), Arabian, jasmine, among others.

The best part about this ‘cha’ stall is that you can have your tea customised to your taste. His lemon cha was the highlight for us – it contains a flavourful medley of amla, black salt, black pepper, jeera syrup and Hajmola that will cause an explosion of flavours in your mouth.

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Vikas Bishwas — Jhaal Muri Waala

Location: Market 2

His fame speaks for itself as crowds throng his stall. With a genial smile on his face he tells us that he been known as the jhaal muri wala of CR park for the past 12 years. Hailing from Krishnanagar in Kolkata, Vikas started off as a shopkeeper at Annapurna Sweets, but now specialises in all things tangy and spicy. He reels off his specialities in a breathless monotone: ghugni, ankur chaat, aloo kabli, bhel puriand, of course, jhaal muri which he sells for Rs 20 only. Do try his mouthwatering mutton ghugni – a hot chickpea curry with minced mutton served with a garnish of onion, tomato and cucumber.

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Annapurna Sweet House

Location: Shop No 38, Market 2

A former accountant at Shaw Wallace, Mr Benoy Majumdar, has been running this place since 1984. Their star dishes include chhena jalebi(a jalebi made of cottage cheese instead of flour and with a taste quite similar to a gulab jamun; Rs 140/kg); the enticing jal bhara sandesh(a sandesh with a liquid centre); kheer puli (a doughy sweet dish made predominantly of kheer that melts in your mouth like a soufflé; Rs160/kg).
They also serve every Bengali’s favourite breakfast dish – radhaballabhi, a puri stuffed with dal and veggies.
Want further proof of their popularity? They often stay open well past the closing time of 10pm because the orders just don’t stop coming.

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Dadu Cutlet Shop

Location: Shop No 9, Market 2

Opened by Narender Mistri, affectionately called Dadu, in 1992, the shop is now managed by his son Shyam Mistri. Their fried bhetki fish is fried to crisp perfection (the audible crunch as bite in is evidence) and their famous egg devil chop is sin on a plate: hardboiled egg filled with cooked egg yolk and potato all wrapped up in crispy bread crumbs. The Mughlai paranthas are yummy too, and their samosas (calledsingharas) contain a unique filling dominated by coconut and chickpeas.

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Maa Tara Restaurant

Location: Shop No 45, 46, 47, Market 2

Located in the back alley of the market, this small restaurant specialises in authentic Bengali cuisine. Subhrojit, the son of the owners — Manju and SR Dutta, who are originally from Kolkata — proudly narrates the story of how his parents set up the restaurant about 19 years ago. The Maa Tara Special Thali consists of an assortment of dishes, out of which the mutton kasha shines out. Paired with luchi (puffy flour bread), the tender meat with just the right balance of spices will leave you asking for more. The mustard fish curry stands out too. Fish lovers can choose from pomfret, ilish, chitol, rehu and more — all for under Rs 400. Vegetarians must try the postor bada – a pakora with poppy seeds.

Image Courtesy: Mehak Dhawan and Sabhyata Badhwar

(With inputs from Neha Chandra and Kawal Chandhok)

“A collaborative project of Delhi Food Walks and Spoon University on Delhi Street Food Series that brings you the best of both worlds- expertise and love for food.”

This article was published in Huffington Post India- http://www.huffingtonpost.in/delhi-food-walks/12-chittaranjan-park-eate_b_8318836.html

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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11 Old Delhi Eateries You Must Not Miss This Ramzan

11 Old Delhi Eateries You Must Not Miss This Ramzan

By Anubhav Sapra, Founder, Delhi Food Walks

Published in Huffington Post. Here is the link to the post- http://www.huffingtonpost.in/anubhav-sapra/11-musttry-iftar-eateries_1_b_7685156.html

In the holy month of Ramzan, Muslims from all over the world fast from dawn to dusk to come closer to God. Abstaining from food and drink during the day, the faithful Muslim may eat two meals a day – the pre-dawn suhoor and iftar at dusk.

During iftar, Old Delhi becomes a paradise for food connoisseurs. The lane opposite Jama Masjid – Bazar Matia Mahal – is filled with heady aromas from big heaps of keema samosas, vats of buffalo biryani, grilling botis and kebabs and hot paneer jalebi. To cool down, there are drums filled with Rooh Afza sherbet and dishes of dahi vada.

But with so many choices, where will you find the best feast? Here are 11 of my favourite iftar joints (some essentially nameless and known only by their specialities) in Bazar Matia Mahal.

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1. Kallan Sweets
Studded with framed newspaper cuttings of visits from India’s biggest chefs, Kallan Sweets overlooks one of the gates of Jama Masjid. Started by Mohd. Shaan in 1939, its doors stay open from 7am until midnight, with a break at 2pm to prepare a fresh batch of sweets and snacks for the evening. One of their specialties is the bright orange and thick paneer ki jalebi, which uses a cottage cheese paste in lieu of much of the flour that goes into the more common jalebi. It is extremely popular in Ramzan, along with other festive delicacies such askhoya samosakeema samosa (shaped like gujiya and stuffed with minced meat) and paneer ke pakode.

Address: Shop no. 4-5, Jama Masjid, Gate no. 1, Matia Mahal.

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2. Haji Mohd. Hussain Fried Chicken
Established 40 years ago, this shop has been dishing out fried chicken in Delhi far longer than KFC. I call it JFC – Jama Masjid Fried Chicken. The chicken is first marinated in different spices and chickpea batter, and then half-fried. For maximum crispness, the chicken is cut into small pieces to be fried in huge pan of boiling oil. The end result is crunchy outside, moist and tender inside. It comes served withrumali roti, onions and special tangy masala chutney.

During Ramzan, Haji sa’ab also sells keema goli, which are small balls made out of minced meat, and served with onion and chutney.

Address: 113, Bazar Matia Mahal, Jama Masjid.

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3. Aslam Chicken Corner
This eatery is famed for its unique interpretation of the butter chicken, and has been a Walled City favourite for 18 years. The cooking technique includes a stint in the tandoor for the chicken before it is bathed in creamy gravy. The chicken pieces are first marinated in a special (and top secret!) combination of spices. A separate chulhas is used to heat large blocks of Amul butter which is then combined with curd and poured generously over the scrumptious chicken pieces. The melted butter seeps into the chicken thereby softening it and the curd lends a tangy taste to the dish and cuts through the butter. The chicken is served in a steel container with a basket of rumali roti.

This Ramzan, Aslam Chicken Corner has also started offering chicken seekh kebabs, with a nice flavour of green chillies and Amul butter.

Address: 540, Bazaar Matia Mahal, Jama Masjid.

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4. Kebabs at Qureshi, Lallu Kebabi, Bhaijaan And Kale Baba
The iftar feast is incomplete without kebabs. Right opposite Gate No. 1 Jama Masjid are two well known kebabchis famous for seekh andboti kebabs – Qureshi Kebab Corner and Lalu Kebabe. Both of them make excellent kebabs of buff smeared with Nutralite, onions, and spicy chutney.

The new entrant, Bhaijaan Kebabs in Chitli Qabar sells fibrous shammi kebabs deep fried in oil. Another kebab shop in Sui Walan, Kale Baba ke Kebabs, is popular for their sutli kebabs – these are so soft, they have to be held together with a twine of thread. You actually have to hold the thread tied over the kebab from one end, and it spreads on your plate, when unfolded. Sutli kebabs are served on a green leaf, with radish and mint chutney.

Addresses: Qureshi Kebab Corner and Lalu Kebabe, Opposite Gate No. 1, Jama Masjid; Bhaijaan Kebabs, Shop No. 2202, Bazar Chitli Qabar, Opp. Flora Bakery; Kale Baba ke Kebab, Sui Walan, Chitli Qabar.

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5. Changezi Chicken
Originally established as Hotel Maidah in 1986, the name of the shop was changed to Changezi Chicken in 1990 after their signature dish. Changezi chicken is served in a tangy gravy of yogurt, tomatoes and onion. The chicken is roasted separately in a roast machine by l-Halabi, a brand established in Dubai, and then shredded into boneless pieces by hand before it is put in the gravy. This dish is the brainchild of the founder of the shop, Mohd. Fazil, the Mr Delhi of 1971! You can also have beef biryani, payanahari and a multitude of chicken preparations at the many branches of Changezi Chicken. The restaurant occupies a long stretch on Churi Walan Gali and buzzes with customers during Ramzan as it remains open from 6pm-midnight.

Address: 2614, Churi Walan Jama Masjid, Delhi-06 and 3614, Netaji Subhash Marg, Daryaganj.

6. Laung Churey Kebab
A small stall outside the Hamdard shop in Chitli Qabar sells something that vegetarians are delighted by: laung churey kebab, made from besan, aata and onion. There are three varieties – fried, kebabs which are soaked in water after frying and long vegetarian seekhs, all of which are made in a small shop nearby. These kebabs are served with chutney of red chillies, amchur, salt and garam masala. The shop was run for 15 years by Mujahid and his son Mohd. Nurshid took over six years ago. For Rs 20 a plate, this is one deal vegetarians cannot pass on.

Address: Outside Hamdard shop in Chitli Qabar, Jama Masjid.

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7. Cool Point
Established 25 years ago by Muhammad Zahid, the place is currently managed by his son, Zohaib. Cool Point is mainly famous for its shahi tukda (bread deep fried in pure ghee and then dipped in thick cream and sugar syrup) and phirni (a mouthwatering dessert of milk and crushed rice served in clay containers). Cool Point is also known for its kesar milk, badam milk, lassi and mango and vanilla ice cream.

Address: 973, Bazar Matia Mahal, Jama Masjid.

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8. Nawab Qureshi’s watermelon shake
A much frequented food cart or thela belongs to Nawab Qureshi, originally from Uttar Pradesh, who sells a refreshing drink during the hot summer months (he sells fruit in winter). Fondly called “Pyaar Mohabbat Mazaa” (affection, love, fun), this drink costs just ₹ 10 per glass, and is indeed filled with love and fun. The pink concoction is made from fresh Amul milk (cartons of which are stacked on top of each other in his cart) and Rooh Afza, a typical drink of the summers. Qureshi adds a twist to this by adding freshly cut watermelon cubes for crunch and a fresh taste.

Address: Pyaar Mohabbat Mazaa is available all summer long at Nawab Qureshi’s stall in front of 1149, Matia Mahal, near Jama Masjid, Delhi-110006.

9. Ameer Sweet House
Ameer Sweet House, decorated with pictures and framed articles about its founder, has been selling sweet and savoury food for about 100 years. Managed by Haji Zafruddin, the shop sells special dishes like keema and khoya samosa during Ramzan, from 4-7pm. You will find mouthwatering sweets like balushahibesan ke ladduchamcham and gulaab jamun , as well as chhole bhature and pakoras.

Address: 957, Haveli Azam Khan, Bazar Chitli Qabar, Jama Masjid.

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10. Pehalwaan Biryaniwale
Pehalwaan Biryaniwale, also known as Biryani Mirch Masala, is right opposite Ameer Sweet House in Haveli Azam Khan. The owner, Haji Mohd. Anwar, opens up at 5pm and sells biryani right until 2am. He also sits outside in Chitli Qabar Chowk for an hour in the night. The meat, marinated in salt and chillies, is cooked separately and added to the rice. After adding masala, the dish is cooked on low heat (on dum) in a big tub covered with cloth. This type of biryani does not need complementary dishes like raita and the smell itself is enough to make your stomach growl.

Address: Shop no. 701, Haveli Azam Khan, Chitli Qabar, Jama Masjid.

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11. Gur ka Sharbat at Pahadi Imli
A small shop in the corner of Moholla Pahadi Imli sells a novel and refreshing drink: gur ka sharbat. The jaggery is brought from Ajmeri Gate Market and is kept soaked in water in a big container. The brass spoon used to mix the two is as old as the shop itself, which was established in 1947. Akhil Ahmed, the son of a watch-seller in front of Fatehpuri Masjid, has seen the price of this drink go up from 1 paisa to ₹ 5 a glass. The shop opens at 8am and serves the drink until stocks last.

Address: Corner of Pahadi Imli, Chitli Qabar, Bazar Matia Mahal.

Pictures by: Yatin Arora, Kusha Saini

Delhi Food Walks organizes food expeditions to relish the food culture of Delhi and interact with the fellow food enthusiasts. For details, visit our Facebook page. And if you wish to join DFW’s Ramzan (Iftar/Sehri) Walk, e-mail us at delhifoodwalks@gmail.com.

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 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.