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3 Of Connaught Place’s Sweetest Secrets

3 Of Connaught Place’s Sweetest Secrets

By: Aradhana Dwivedi-Verma, Anubhav Sapra

The history and origins of the delectable delight that is the rasgulla, has always been a subject for heated debates, but its existence is nothing but a divine blessing for us. And what’s more, eastern India is not the only region that can lay claim to making the best ones. New Delhi’s Connaught Place, an exuberant shopping and eating hub, has a sinful little underbelly that not everyone is aware of. Hidden among the boutiques and swanky restaurants are street stalls selling the most delectable rasgullas and other sweet treats. Sweetening the deal even further are the throwaway prices.

1. Lalji

An amiable gentleman with a kind face, Lalji has occupied his corner of Connaught Place’s H Block for close to 40 years. In the summer months, customers flock to his modest stall to cool down with rasgullas, ice cream and rabdi.

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Originally from Gorakhpur, Lalji lives in Nabi Karin, Paharganj, and earlier sold ice cream in Satyanarayan Katra, Chandni Chowk. Although he makes the ice cream himself, he sources the rabdi from Hathras; it is made by two brothers named Bablu and Mukesh, who also supply it to Haldiram’s, says Lalji with quiet amusement.

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The rasgullas at this stall are sweet and juicy, and the rabdi (Rs 10 for a cup), is sweet, textured and melts in the mouth. It is sold through the year, though the Lalji sets aside the ice cream and succulent rasgullas after Diwali, replacing them with gulab jamuns and gajar ka halwa.

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Find it here: Next to Punjab Sindh Bank, H Block, Connaught Place
Contact: 8800123521

Lalji sets up his stall at noon each day and leaves at 9pm.

2. Sajan Lal

The first thing that strikes you about Sajan Lal’s shop is the array of posters depicting benevolent colourful deities smiling down upon his trays of rasmalai, kulfi, rabdi, faluda and rasgullas.

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Sajan Lal is from Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, but has been living in Delhi since 1982. Like Lalji, he too buys his rabdi from Bablu and Mukesh, but makes his rasgullas and ice cream himself.

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As he makes you a faluda-kulfi (swiftly going through the steps — ice cream, faluda, chashni, rabdi, ice cream again and a deft dash of Rooh Afza) he tells you that he lives in Paharganj, as do many others in his trade.

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When you’re here, do try the rasmalai; it is soft, flavourful and utterly beautiful to behold. If you’re craving something salty, ask for the dhoklas. The dhoklas are a recent addition to the menu (it was his first day of selling dhoklas on the day of the interview); he is looking to add variety

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The best thing he makes is the rasmalai; it is soft, flavourful and utterly beautiful to behold.

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Sajan Lal sets up shop at 10am, and stays till around 8.30pm, which is when his stock usually runs out.

Find it here: Near Bank of Baroda, M Block, Connaught Place
Contact: 9953939342

3. Sanjay Agarwal’s stall

Sanjay Agarwal runs a stall near Barakhamba Road metro station, selling faluda, rabdi, kulfi and rasgullas. It is probably one of the most famous sweet stalls in CP, if not all of Delhi – before Sanjay hopped on board, his father had been running it for 40 years.

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The place is always crowded, with people asking for their favourite desserts.
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Unlike most other vendors, he breaks a rasgulla into half before serving it to you, and when you express surprise upon learning that he too lives in Paharganj and buys his rabdi from Bablu and Mukesh, he tells you that this is no coincidence. Lalji is his brother-in-law and Sajan Lal is his father’s younger brother. In shop number 53, Shankar Market, sits Rampher, Lalji’s brother. He only sells faluda kulfi, says Sanjay Agarwal.

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Agarwal’s most legendary dish is the slightly tangy faluda; he explains that while the others use only mango ice cream, they use mango and vanilla. He also explains that their ice cream is the best because they churn the milk more.
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In the winter months, they sell moong dal ka halwa.

Find it here: Outside Exit 6, Barakhamba Road Metro Station
Contact: 7834897696

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.

Picture Courtesy: Aakanksha Joshi

This article was published in HuffPost India. Here is the link- http://www.huffingtonpost.in/delhi-food-walks/3-of-connaught-places-swe_b_8101412.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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Shri Banke Bihari Brijwasi Rasgulle wala

Shri Banke Bihari Brijwasi Rasgulle wala
Find it here: D-128, Kamla Nagar
Ring it here: 011-23842116

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With a menu ranging from snack bites to a full-course meal- this is a heaven for travellers wishing to try outlandish traditional cuisines in their authentic temperament.

The shop traces its origin to the decade of independence, around the year 1957. Rajiv Brijwasi, one of the three brothers in the third generation of owners, proudly proclaims, “Vrindavan’s authentic taste cannot be found anywhere else, our ingredients are all pure and original.”

It is fascinating how this now-famous shop was initially operated out of a shack at the corner of the street for six years by his grandfather Shri Lala Ram Prasad. Then it graduated to a shop where the magic of cooking took place when his father, late Shri Lala Shyam Lal was incharge, eventually establishing itself at its current location. To the people here, the shop has been here forever- and they keep visiting it time and again.

What sets this place apart is the fact that the recipes have stayed true to tradition, and none of the delicacies use onion or garlic, two household ingredients, in their preparation. They end up tasting better than they could ever have tasted with onion. This could partly be because of their other USP i.e. the use of only and only pure desi ghee in cooking.

A tasty Indian meal is said to have a balance of six flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, spicy and astringent. And this place harbours the accurate balance in its decades-old walls.

For breakfast, they prepare Puri Bedmi and Kachori that make up for two of the most irresistible and filling breakfasts. For lunch, we recommend having a thali consisting of Paneer, Dal, Raita and 2 paranthas.

A very quirky and interesting fact to note is that the best known food that they sell are desserts (they practically owe their fame and name, literally, to sweets), and while Rasgulla has been a specialty for as long as its existence, the enticingly creamy Rasmalai, Raj Bhog and Gulab Jamun have been relatively recent additions. These desserts reek of authenticity and you cannot help but savor them through and through.

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Verdict: Visit this place as much for their spongy Rasgulla as for the unalloyed, divine experience of Vrindavan in Delhi.

Must Try: While all the items are such glorious relics of authentic street food, you have to try the desserts, especially Rasgulla and Rasmalai.

 

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.

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.