Surinder Ji’s Chole-Bhature
By Anubhav Sapra
Hudson lane, the most iconic lane for all college students, is the food hub for Delhi University attendees. During my time at Ramjas College, for all celebrations however big or small everyone would crowd at the renowned Zee Chicken (for those who lived in the north campus) or the famous Pehalwan Dhaba to remind oneself of home.
When one closed the other opened, ACP dhaba and Friends Dhaba are the best examples. Here you were served a never ending tower of chapattis and the traditional Indian sabzi, which was an amalgamation of the season’s fresh produce.
With the ongoing food buzz, where customers want to explore new cuisine fusions in a lounge like atmosphere, Hudson Lane too is now jam-packed with cafes. Despite being exposed to the changing food scene a handful of restaurants are still true to their roots. Charan Singh’s food van is not only known for it’s shahi paneer chawal but also for the chef’s amicable personality and a smile that no one can wipe off. His piping hot rajma chawal and aromatic kadi chawal are not only relished by the campus students but also all the near by office employees with whom he indulges in friendly banter.
Recently, I had the pleasure of trying Surinder ji’s ‘Chole-Bhature’. What makes his dish different from others is the unconventional flat bhatura. He makes the preparation quite interactive which is a sight for sore eyes. He grins from ear to ear while preparing a dish he seems to love; not even dicing an onion could make him frown. The Chola and Bhatura are served with chutney, a garnish of coriander and a side of a cornucopia of pickles.
For 16 years he has been plating this delectable delight and is an affordable treat for all DU students.
Address- Police line, Vijay nagar, next to Bakar café.
Cost for 2- Rs. 50
Sanjay Chur Chur Naan – Moolchand
– Ayushi Mathur
I will admit I am not a Delhiite. Despite being new to this city, one thing I can already say is that Delhi is magical. This city has so much to offer to every single person and especially a lot to a foodie like myself. I have made it my goal to explore Delhi to its smallest nook and cranny and in my initial search for food joints around the city; I found a true gem in Moolchand. Located right next to Moolchand metro station, Sanjay Chur Chur Naan offers extraordinarily scrumptious stuffed naans to its customers. Even though this joint faces a lot of competition from its neighbouring restaurants, it still attracts a very large number of customers every day because of its unique concept.
Why is it that when we order stuffed naan or paratha we need a vegetable curry to eat it with? What is the point of the stuffing then? This is exactly what Mr. Sanjay thought before he decided to create naans with ample stuffing to forego the need of vegetable gravy. For over 35 years, Sanjay Chur Chur Naan has served delicious stuffed naans at an affordable price to its numerous patrons. Each plate, priced at Rs. 130, serves two huge naans with Dal Makhani, buttermilk and yogurt. The naans are cooked in Tandoor and are offered with a variety of stuffing ranging from potatoes to mushrooms. The naans are made fresh and are served within a few minutes of placing an order.
The naans, a perfect balance of soft and crispy, served hot with creamy dal makhani and chilled buttermilk, make for a great breakfast or a lunch meal. They are very well stuffed and it is usually difficult for one person to have both the naans. But not to worry, according to Mr. Sanjay, the buttermilk helps digest the heavy meal of naans and regulates one’s metabolism as well. Apart from the naans, the joint also serves a variety of flavours of lassis, ranging from anjeer ki lassi to chocolate lassi, each so delicious that picking one is a tricky task.
Despite being an all vegetarian eatery, with no seating arrangements, the demand for Chur Chur naan is ever increasing. Mr. Sanjay has now decided to start another branch in Delhi but before that, Sanjay Chur Chur Naan is opening an outlet in Mumbai, specifically in the Ghatkopar area. So, any Mumbaikars reading this keep a look out for this joint and do give it a try.
Location: 6,7 Moolchand Metro Station near Defence Colony
Cost for two: INR 250
Poori Sabzi at Rewari Wale and Jindal Refreshment Corner
By Anubhav Sapra
Once upon a time, my friend, Ayush, and I met for a get together. Being great foodies, the discussion soon swung to the direction of food. Starting from Fateh ki Kachori in Civil Lines (that Ayush is quite fond of), we discussed food items with enthusiasm. Then slowly we moved to the quintessential breakfast dishes- poori and bhatura, whereupon he mentioned a poori shop in Shakti Nagar, that makes kofte, but only on Sundays. As the clouds gathered in the sky last Sunday, I gave him a call and in a few minutes, we were inside the shop savouring the pooris.
The name of the shop is Rewari Wale ki Poori Sabzi. Located in Shakti Nagar, it is quite accessible- if you are coming from Roop Nagar, take the first right turn towards Gurudwara Nanak Sahib. After taking the right turn, take the first left turn; keep walking straight and the shop Rewari Lal will be on the left side. The complete address is 24/27, Shakti Nagar, Delhi- 07 ( Mobile- 9999935023). A big cauldron of oil where Halwais are frying the pooris can be spotted easily.
The pooris at Rewari Wale, were simply made of maida. The sabzi was mix of chole, aloo and methi ki chutney. A spoon of dahi is added over it to mellow down the spices, giving it a tangy taste. Gopal Sweets in Kamla Nagar also do the same. What sets it apart from other poori sabzi walas of delhi are the aloo besan ke kofte. The small balls similar to the size of badi are made only on Sundays. Being a bit spicy, it served as the perfect combination with the poori.
The shop was started 50 years back, by Sees Ram Saini, and is presently managed by father-son, Dharam Singh Saini and Vikram Saini. The shop is open till 3 pm and a plate of poori sabzi is priced at Rs 40. Very close to poori sabzi shop, the Sainis own another shop, which is famous for its khoya burfi and gajar pak.
Ayush also introduced me to another popular breakfast joint- Jindal Refreshment Corner, on roshanara road. The shop is right opposite Kunji Lal Jagdish Prasad shop, and is famous for pure milk and lassi. The address is 8438, Roshanara Road, Delhi-07 (Mobile. 9953901089). Jindal refreshment corner is owned by Brajesh Jindal, Kunji Lal’s brother. Established 40 years ago, they specialize in bedmi poori and kachoris.
Unfortunately, by the time we reached Kunji Lal, the lassis were over. The small size bedmi poori is priced at Rs 20 a plate. I found the sabzi to be better than what we get in other places. The sabzi is, again, a mix of aloo, chole, methi ki chutney, kachalu, and kofta, which keeps changing everyday- palak, urad dal, mooli. The distinctive strong taste of heeng in the sabzi makes it simply delicious.
In the evening, they make samosas. Remembering the old days, Ayush recited the story of how he used to eat Jindal’s samosas on his way back home from school days, not in plates but straight from his hands. Long live his love for kachoris and samosas!
Ashwini ji ke Peepey wale Chole Kulche
By Anubhav Sapra
I remember, once while reading the newspaper I came across this article which said that there are almost 250 cafes and restaurants in Connaught Place. Many come and shut down after some time and the shutters remain unnoticed. In midst of that, there are a few street food joints selling amazing dishes uninterruptedly for many years. One of them is Ashwini’s chole kulche (Mob. 9953085746) at the corner of MCD’s Anti Malaria office. The location might not sound attractive but his chole indeed is worth relishing.
It was Ashwini’s father, Late Prakash Sharma who set up this shop in CP. Ashwini ji used to accompany his father every day and assist him. In 1988, while he was pursuing the graduate program from Delhi University, his father passed away and he took over the shop to make both ends meet .From 1988 to 2007, the Committee staff was against him for running this shop. However, he filed a case in court and eventually got the permission to operate his shop.
Interestingly, the chole is cooked in Lahori style, without oil. The chane is boiled in ghee ka kanaster and then homemade spices are mixed into it. It is famously known as Peepee wale (cans of ghee)chole as the chole is boiled for almost 5 hours in empty ghee cans on slow wood fire. The can is changed every 15 days as “the quality of the cans is not up to the mark as it used to be” remarks Ashwini ji.
The shop is open from 12 noon to 4 pm. Ashwini ji pedals his cycle for two hours in the morning with a big aluminium can filled with hot Chole from Wazirabad and reaches the spot at 12 noon. A plate of chole with three kulcha’s costs Rs 20/-. You can ask for bhaturas as well.
The chole is mixed with brown pudina ka paani(thick mint water). The mint leaves are sourced from Chintapurni, hometown of Ashwini ji in Himachal Pradesh. They are dried and grounded to powder form so as to later add it in the chole. Finally, the chole is garnished with onion and lemon juice.
The concoction of all these makes the chole a bit spicy, but that’s how the locals like it. The gravy was just perfect to be mopped up with fluffy kulchas. I liked the lahori style chole with thick gravy and a punch of mint water. I relished it to the core!
What intrigued me the most at his shop was that people from different sections of society ranging from homeless citizens and shoe polishers to office guards to college students and office goers, all relishing chole kulche, at one place. It seemed to be a perfect example of the equal world which we all wish to see.
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.
The 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.
This 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
By Anubhav Sapra
There are very few restaurants in Delhi which have a “pull” factor. Desi Roots seems to be one of them. It is delightful how the dishes are experimented with and yet have their “desipan” intact. Its ambience which has already been talked about a lot is worth mentioning here for its creativity and how it instills a re-learning of the childhood days. It does make you observe how things have changed since then.
Here, you will be greeted with the relaxing sound of a bell. The ambience reminds you of your past especially if you were born in the late ’70s or the ’80s. The wall is painted beautifully with children’s games – which today seem to have been lost somewhere – like lattu, kancha, stapu and many others. I can associate with this very well; I remember how I used to play lattu the whole day under the scorching sun outside my house. Another corner of this place has a trunk that consists of comics like Champak and Chacha Choudhary. Reminding me of my early days again, it gives me immense pleasure to share it here that I had a large number of comics which I used to lend to my friends. I acted like a little librarian, keeping records in a notebook. On the other side of the café, are big milk cans, a sewing table, a coal iron, a headlight of “Humara Bajaj” scooter- all bound to make one nostalgic.
Coming to food, Desi Roots has an interesting desi menu with a modern twist. The guests are treated to a complimentary medu-vada, which is a dal pakoda served with coconut and mint chutney. It is important to mention here that the staff was very welcoming. Personally, what matters to me more than the food is the warmth with which it is served. On the recommendation of the chef, I started with lamb galauti paate with ulte tawe ka parantha. The galauti kebabs are grounded in to a spreadable paste. Galauti which means ‘melt-in-mouth’ comes with a twist where you relish a ‘bite-sized ulte tawe ka parantha’ with its pate and mint chutney, topping it with some spiced onions for an extra edge.
After this I had chipotle chicken tikka with avocado raita. The dish was served over a smoldering bed of iron. This was simply delicious; succulent pieces of chicken were perfectly marinated. This was served with thick avocado raita. I was amazed to see ‘kulle ki chaat’ on their menu. This chaat is an Old Delhi specialty and you get it only at a couple of places in Chawri Bazaar, the most famous ones being Hira Lal Chaat Corner and Jugal Kishore Ram ji Chaat Corner. I had the kulles of cucumber and watermelon which were no less than the ones you get in Old Delhi. The kullas were filled with masaledaar chickpeas; the tinge of lemon juice to it was just perfect. I also had deconstructed samosa with aam papad chutney, served with a golgappa. It had four layers of papdi filled with cooked potatoes, dry mango sauce, sev, yoghurt and pomegranate seeds. However, I did not like this dish much.
In the main course, came a mini toy truck loaded with Ambala Cantt. mutton curry accompanied with tikona parantha, mukka pyaaz with lemon and kumquat achar. I was disappointed with the quality of the mutton since it was a bit chewy for me. However, the curry was flavorful and the paranthas were amazing with their apparent soft and triangular layers. In the vegetarian section, the chef served four different varieties of khichdi – classic, juvar, quinoa, and bajra, in small clay pots and mini pressure cookers. All of them were mild in flavor and tasted more like ghar ka khaana. It was delicious!
In the desserts, I was served “Jamaulddin ki kheer” famously known as “Bade Miya ki kheer”. Every morning, kheer is sourced from Jamulddin’s shop in Lal Kuan to Saket and served cold. Another dessert which had a nice twist to it was badam halwa– baklava with shrikhand. Shrikhand was sweet and sour in taste and went well with the badam halwa.
Overall, it is a great place to be at where eating is such a visual treat. Treat yourselves with Ambala Cantt. mutton curry, chicken tikka, and the varieties of dishes along with the ambience which is ought to take you down the memory lane.
Address: G-16, Ras Villas Mall, Saket.
Meal for two: ₹ 1200.
By Anubhav Sapra
It is good to be connected with your old colleagues. Some of them are foodies and may also guide you to new places. I received a call from one of my ex-colleagues, Azad, few days back. He told me about Amritsari Kulcha Joint in Rani Bagh which was started by his colleague’s father. It was Baisakhi and I thought celebrating it with Amritsari kulcha would be a pretty great idea. I called him back for the directions and landed up in the afternoon to savour the Amritsari kulcha. This time, I took my mother along with me.
The name of this place is Shiv Food Point, and it has two outlets in Delhi. The addresses are – shop no.12, Shiv Mandir Market, Sant Nagar Road, Rani Bagh; contact numbers – 9891874446 and 9310199945, and shop no. G-1, Vardhman Crystal Plaza, LSC, CD Block, Pitampura; contact numbers – 9953399357 and 9953399367.
The place is owned by Rajesh Sharma who had a chemical business in Rani Bagh. Due to the government’s new pollution control policy, he had to close down his chemical business. Hailing from Amritsar and a food lover, he started Amritsari Kulcha Joint three and a half years back in Rani Bagh, and later renamed it to Shiv Food Point as it is close to Shiv Mandir in Rani Bagh. Although I am a regular at Kulcha King, Sarojini Nagar, the quest to find out the real Amritsari Kulcha never ends.
Rajesh ji described the making of Amritsari kulcha from the first step of kneading the dough to baking it in tandoor. The dough is made by kneading white flour with milk and ghee. Ajwain, jeera, dhaniya, kasuri methi, kali mirch are added to the dough, more so, in layers. Then the dough is cut with the help of a knife in small pieces, later stuffed with cauliflower or paneer. The same is flattened using both the hands. Ghee is applied to one side and later baked in the tandoor. The owner also explained how ghee makes the kulchas crispier inside and out. They offer a variety of stuffings – Amritsari aloo kulcha (Rs. 80 for 2 pieces); gobhi, aloo pyaaz, and aloo pyaz gobhi mix (Rs. 90 for 2 pieces), veg keema (Rs. 100 for 2 pieces), paneer (Rs. 110 for 2 pieces).
The kulchas are served with chana, spring onions submerged in tangy tamarind chutney, and raita. Chana are cooked without ghee, garlic, and tomatoes. However, even without these, chana had a nice flavour. The masalas used in kneading the dough for kulchas are used in cooking the chana as well. The same is cooked over low flame on the tandoor. The tandoor plays a pretty important role in retaining the flavours, I am sure. The tamarind chutney served with spring onions also had a nice tangy taste. Raita was cold and fresh.
All the kulchas were excellent in taste, and were slightly thick, yet crispy. They were laden with oodles of butter. I did not like the taste of butter, though. I am a big Amul fan. If you are a Amul fan too, do not forget to ask for it. I called my ex-colleague back to thank him for the wonderful recommendation. But, as I said, the quest never ends.
Mohan Lal Bhelpuri Wala
By: Shagun Nayar
We, Delhiites have always had a soft corner for lip-smacking street food. Walking on the roads of this beautiful city, you will encounter numerous stalls serving the best of street food that Delhi has to offer. Tired college students after lectures, Children on Sunday evenings and the Diet cheaters after a tiring walk or a session at the gym are bound to find themselves being drawn to their favourite street food, if it’s even possible to pick one. I, for one can never choose.
However, a good plate of Bhelpuri always finds its way to my top 3 and so, I went on a mini Bhelpuri expedition to find my favourite plate of Bhelpuri in north campus. To my pleasant surprise, the stall/vendor serving the best is situated right in-between Hindu College and the Delhi School of Economics. It has a prime location as it always swamped with college students at any given time of the day. You are bound to bump into students walking in and out of their college gates with a plate of Mohan Bhaiya’s famous Bhelpuri in their hands.
Rumour has it that Mohan Bhaiya used to be lab assistant in one of north campus colleges but after careful consideration and the realisation that with his special green chutney and fresh produce he could serve the best Bhelpuri at campus without question, he decided to part ways with his job as a day assistant and started his own little business venture thereby earning more money and living a more relaxed life.
Situated on the same path as the bus stop stand for Hindu College, Delhi School of Economics and St. Stephan’s, students usually sit on the bus stop bench blabbering about their lectures, crushes & upcoming events while eating this divine mixture of puffed rice, peanuts, papri, green chillies, onions, boiled potatoes, coriander, tomato topped over with the special green chutney that makes Mohan Bhaiya’s Bhelpuri the best in campus. He also caters to the other lot by serving his delicious version of Sevpuri topped over with tiny pieces of red apple and a sweet red chutney which is equally delicious and popular.
Another reason for his popularity among numerous other vendors serving the exact street food item is that he makes it fresh from scratch finishing off his delicious rendition of the same by adding freshly chopped coriander and a squeeze of lemon juice to give it that extra freshness an zing. So, the next time you’re craving a plate of spicy, salty Bhelpuri make sure you look up Mohan Bhaiya for he will not disappoint.
Rate: Rs.20 for a small plate&Rs.25 for a large plate.
Nand di Hatti
By Anubhav Sapra
There are a few landmark eateries in Delhi that continue to sustain their authentic taste, one generation after the other. When it comes to Delhi’s classic Punjabi dish – chole bhature, only few have retained the original taste. Out of these few establishments, one of them is Nand di Hatti in Sadar Bazar. I went there with my parents the other day. My parents had the first bite and proudly gave their verdict, that the taste and quality is still the same even after thirty years.
The complete name of the eatery is Nand di Hatti. The address is 829, Paan Mandi, Sadar Bazar, Delhi – 110006, and their phone numbers are 9582105678, 9958717192, and 9811480566.
The family is originally from Rawalpindi in Pakistan, where they had a chole, kulche and roti shop in Raja Bazar. After partition, they migrated to Delhi in 1947 and started selling chole kulche in Sadar Bazar on a cart. In 1960, Nand Lal ji bought the shop at the corner of Paan Mandi and introduced his chole bhature made in desi ghee. Currently, Om Prakash ji, son of the late Nand Lal ji runs the shop with his two sons. There is one more shop by the name of Nand di Hatti, owned by his brother.
The dough of bhaturas is prepared with suji (semolina), maida (white flour), dahi (yoghurt), namak (salt), cheeni (sugar), hing (asafoetida), baking powder, and yeast. Their addition of suji to the bhatura dough took me by surprise. The bhaturas are soft and even crispy, with no oil dripping out. The chole was a mix of delectable flavours. Owing to the few most important spices used quite commonly in our Indian dishes like hing (asafoetida), jeera (cumin), ajwain (carom), saunf (fennel seeds), and mirch (red and yellow chillies). They also do not add any onion and garlic. The best part is that you will never feel that you are missing out on them. The accompaniments served with the dish include amla ka achaar (gooseberry pickles) and green chillies achar. Spicy, enough! It was a real street treat! A plate of chole and bhature costs Rs. 90.
The bhaturas, chole, and pickles are all made in desi ghee. The dish is certainly not for health conscious and faint-hearted people. My parents without worrying about the cholesterol gobbled the dish. I, too, happily wiped down the plate of chole bhature.