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Counter Walon ki Dukaan

Counter Walon ki Dukaan

By Anubhav Sapra

WP_20150121_14_39_14_ProI read an inspiring story in today’s newspaper about a 13 year-old, Shubham, who has recently launched a company to develop low cost machines to print Braille. He is Silicon Valley’s youngest entrepreneur. Coincidentally, I met another 10 year old, Sameer, in Nizamuddin today afternoon with a degh, selling biryani, chicken korma and kheeri. For the first few minutes, I just saw him diligently taking out biryani from the degh, adding red chutney to it and serving it to hungry souls. Every time, he removed the lid from the degh of the biryani, the aroma of the spices and kewra straightaway entered my nostrils. My taste buds could not resist for long and I asked Sameer for a plate of biryani. I sprinkled the masalas lying in a small plate over the biryani, mixed the red hot garlic chutney and had a small spoon of it. The biryani was delightful. I had my second spoon and started the conversation with him.

WP_20150121_14_11_04_ProThere were two deghs lying next to each other. In one of them was chicken korma and the other contained kheeri. The dish kheeri is made from small pieces of a buff’s udder, and was something I heard for the first time. The curry is changed on a rotational basis everyday and ranges from achari chicken, aloo keema, aloo gosht, to matar keema. On Wednesday nights, they make special paaya, and ande ka kofta. On Friday afternoon, biryani is served with haleem. A plate of biryani costs Rs. 50. Most of the curries are in the range of Rs. 40 to Rs. 50 per plate. Sameer briefed me on everything about the menu. He was not very confident about the cooking, though. He was there to take care of the shop while his father was away for some work. I then asked him to introduce me to any elder person of his family.

After a brief interval, his uncle Imran came and shared the journey of his shop from a small cart to counter wali dukaan. Seven years back, Sameer’s father, Shakir Alam and his brother Imran started selling biryani on a small cart outside the Markaz in Nizamuddin. The inhabitants of Nizamuddin appreciated his biryani so much that they set up the small counter and table outside his home, near Qureshi Masjid, Karim Wali Gali. The shop became famous as Counter Walon ki Dukaan. Alam’s wife, Sitara ji cooks these mouth savouring delicacies at home, not once, but twice in a day. Alam sells these dishes during the afternoons (1 p.m to 4 p.m) and evenings (7 p.m. – 11 p.m.). Their mobile numbers are 7503626266 and 9555000489.

Imran informed me that Sameer got admission in another school, the session will start next month in February. Indeed, he is an entrepreneur in the making, a few years down the line, he might open up a restaurant and takes the Counter Wali Dukaan to another new level altogether. Nobody knows!

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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Nizamuddin Food Walk

 

 

Nizamuddin Food Walk

By Anubhav Sapra

Delhi Food Walks organized a food walk in collaboration with Sair-e-Nizamuddin, a Self Help Group formed by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture. Historically known as village Ghiyaspur after the name of the then Delhi Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban, this place was later named Hazrat Nizamuddin after the arrival of Sufi Saint HazratNizamuddin. The community represents a range of interesting cultures, traditions and values which are deeply rooted in its history. From the food practices to the religions and social norms that are followed, everything reflects the history of the community and its people.

The walk started with a visit to the Dargah of Hazrat Nizamuddin, the fourth greatest Sufi saint of Chishtiya order. The dargah is one of the most visited shrines of India and attracts thousands of followers of all religions and cultures.

Kit Care Kebab Corner: (Situated near MCD School)The owner, Ameer Hasan, was inspired by his father who was a chef in the Italian Embassy. Initially, he started with Chicken Soup, Mughlai Dishes, Chicken Tikka, Chicken Changezi, Paneer Tikka and ShahiPaneer. As time went by, new items were added to the list to cater to the needs of the public. Chicken Fry, SeekhKebab/Rolls and Roasted Chicken are a few of the new additions. The owner is planning to open a branch in Connaught Place.

Muradabadi Biryani: (Situated near Baoli gate of DargahHazratNizamuddin)The owner, MohammedMajid, started this restaurant in the year 2000. A resident of Moradabad, Western U.P, Majid got inspired by his father who was a well-known chef of Biryani in Moradabad.  The fame that is father garnered motivated him to start a restaurant here in Delhi. He specialises in both chicken and beef biryani.

Mann PasandNahari or MeekuNahari: (Situated on Ghalib road opposite LalMahal) This place was started in 1990. Mr. Meekuwas a Delhite and he started the restaurant with Beef Nahari and NaliNahari. After the demise of Mr. Meeku, it was renamed ManpasandNahari. Today, Mohd. Akbar is the owner of the restaurant and specialises in the same dishes. Chefs in this restaurant have served the Saudi Foreign Ministry for 12 years.

Hussaini Hotel: (Situated next to the Mann PasandNahari shop)The owner, Mohd. Hussain, started this restaurant in 1957. He came from Meerut, a town in Western UP. Today, his son MohdYameen runs the restaurant. They specialise in dishes such as Paya, Daal, Kofta, Chaanp and Qorma. They are the pioneersof Sheermal in the Basti. Also, every Thursday and Sunday they cook a special Biryani for their customers.

Ghalib Kebab Corner: (Situated next to Hussaini Hotel on Ghalib road)The owner, Mohd. Hanif Qureshi started this restaurant in 1971. He was inspired by his family members who were famous chefs in Old Delhi. He invented a type of Kebab which he named after the famous poet ‘Ghalib’. He has recently introduced other dishes such as Qorma, Mutton and Chicken Seekh Kebab, Paneer Tikka etc.

Al-Rafiqu Restaurant: (Situated next to Ghalib Kebab Corner on Ghalib road)The owner Mohd. Rafique Qureshi started this restaurant in 1974. His family has been in the restaurant business for a long time. He specialises in Achari Chicken in the morning hours, Malai Tikka, Chicken Roasted/Tandoori, Fish Tikka and Mutton Qorma. Mr. Rafique is planning to turn his restaurant into a family restaurant in order to cater to larger groups of people.

Al-Quresh Hotel: (Situated on theMarkazi Market or Attar Street)Mohd. Iliyas Qureshi started this restaurant in 2002. Al-Quresh specialises in Chicken Masala, Handi Chicken, Chicken Qorma Boneless, Chicken Haryali Tikka, Chicken Reshmi Kebab, ChikenQalami Kebab.

Hussain Sweet Corner: (Situated opposite Markaz near HamdardDawakhana)The owner Hussain Ahmed started his confectionary shop in 1971. He learnt the process of baking confectionary from his uncle and when time came, chose it as his profession. He began with GajarKaHalwa, Imarti and GulabJamunall of which continue to be in demand till date.

Shams-ud-Din Paan Corner: (Situated next to Hussain Sweet corner)Mohd. Shams-ud-Din started this betel leaf shop in 1949. He came from Amroah district in Western UP. This was his ancestral business, which he has successfully carried on till date. His son, Shahab and Subair run the shop at present. They specialise in various Paans such as Meetha Special, Tobacco Special, Qimam Special and Sada Special.

We ended the walk on a sweet note with their Meetha Special! We thank Md. Asif and Md. Aamir of Aga Khan Trust for Culture for helping us organize a food walk in Nizamuddin. Delhi Food Walks will be having their second walk in the series of Nizamuddin Food Walks in the month of August. Till then, Happy Walking!

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.