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Trivandrum Food Journey

 

Trivandrum/Thiruvanthapuram Food Journey

By Anubhav Sapra

YouTube Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABCkNfCU5UE&t=2s

 

Trivandrum or Thiruvananthapuram is an old city located on the west coast of the state of Kerala. This grand city is the capital as well as the largest urban metropolis of Kerala.

In Trivandrum, we started with Mani Mess, a vegetarian restaurant in Manakkadu, near Sreevaraham temple. Since its inception, 37 years ago, this restaurant is run by Krishnamoorthy and his sister Thankam. As you enter the restaurant, there is a waiting area lined up with chairs for seating. Tokens are issued and the guests are asked to sit and wait for their table. The popularity of the restaurant can be gauged from the fact that the customers are generally asked, albeit politely, to finish their meals in fifteen minutes. Just like all other places in Kerala, this too is adorned with a sign outside saying ‘Meals Ready’ (or in some cases ‘Biryani Ready’, which is promptly removed the moment the offering gets over.

Their standard lip-smacking meal comprises of rice, Sambhar, Thoran (stir fry vegetables ), Avial (vegetables and shredded coconut), Pachadi, Achaar (pickles), Olan (pumpkin and grams cooked in a gravy of coconut milk) Rasam (soup made with tamarind, pepper and other spices), More (spiced buttermilk) , Parippuvada (lentil fritters) and Papad. The meal is served with red coloured padumugam powder and lukewarm water. The homely food along with a variety of delicacies in one plate is sure to tickle your taste buds.

After a perfect start to our foodie expedition, in the state of spices-Kerala,our next stop was Kochanan Sahib’s restaurant, a peculiar place without a nameplate. Standing tall since 1964, Kochanan Sahib is located at Karamana Junction near ICICI bank’s ATM. This place serves the best mutton curry, mutton roast and mutton biryani in Trivandrum. The mutton roast was cooked in thick gravy to be eaten with Parottas. The meals are served on the traditional banana leaf. Alongside is the typical Kerala accompaniments with the Biryani, onion Raita and lemon pickles.

For evening tea, we went to a popular tea shop nearby, Chaithanya Tea Shop, located in Sasthamangalam. This little tea-snack shop has a large variety of delicacies to die for- cakes, Pazham Puri, Bhaji and many others. We had a cup of tea with banana fry commonly known as Pazham Puri.  Horlicks and Bournvita have also gained immense popularity as a beverage here, and in all of Kerala.

Zam Zam restaurant, opposite MLA hostel in Palayam was our quick stop for Al Faham (Arabian grilled chicken) and Shawaya (whole grilled chicken).

As you head forward, Buhari hotel in Attakulhangara is another renowned food joint known for their mutton chops, mutton roast and mutton brain roast. The restaurant was started in 1956 and caters to its customers till midnight. The chops were cooked in thick gravy with lightly flavored spices and served with crispy parottas. Buhari Hotel also runs a delicious juice and shakes parlour, which has turned out to be a popular hangout place for youngsters. One can relish khammam and Sharjah milk shakes here. The tender coconut malai is crushed in coconut water and mixed with dry fruits- almond, figs, cashews with frozen milk to give it a thick consistency, making it an immensely refreshing drink. Another popular joint for shakes is Chithra shakes near Law college junction. Their herbal drinks are a must-try!

The hotel manager guided us to a local eatery named Hotel Krishna, a bit far away from the main city at Kattachalkuzhi in Balarampuram, close to Coconut Research Centre. The restaurant started by Krishan Kutty, 22 years back is now managed by his son Shahji. The place is known for its Chicken Perattu and Chicken Thoran. As you enter the shop, you notice a group of ladies cutting and chopping ‘Nadan’ chicken; which is equivalent to desi or country chicken. It is further marinated in local spices. The pieces are then fried in coconut oil with local flavours and spice mixes. A dry preparation, the chicken is served with meals that has tapioca, rice or puttu.

After having our fill at Hotel Krishna, we moved on to Hotel Rehmaniya (Kethel’s) in Chalai market road. The restaurant since its inception in 1949 is known for a single signature dish- fried chicken. The small sized chicken pieces are fried in coconut oil along with red chillies. The seeds of dried red chillies add a crunchy taste and texture to the chicken making it lip smackingly delicious. Fried chicken is served with Chapathi and the left over chicken pieces are converted into curry and lemon pickles. They also serve fresh lime water with the meals.

The two day food-journey in Trivandrum ended at Kovalam beach with the classic beach snack- Uppil Ettath – mango and gooseberry slices in salt water and green chillies. A joyous day, indeed!

 

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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Raju Idli Wala, A Gem in Noida’s Sector 34

An internet search about South Indian food stalls in and around Delhi will give you a multitude of options to choose from. One can find a thela serving a range of South Indian dishes in almost every neighbourhood of Delhi or NCR. However, no amount of Google searches will help you find this place. But once in this neighbourhood, this food stall is hard to miss.

Angel South Indian Food better known as Raju Idli Wala, is a small food vendor located in Noida’s Sector 34 who is quite popular in the neighbourhood for making delectable dosas at an affordable cost. As the name indicates, he sells wonderful, light as air idlis. However, refusing to confine himself to just this, he also makes a range of South Indian food like Uttapam and Vadas and serves them with sambhar and delicious nariyal chutney, all at an affordable cost ranging from rupees 40-50.

Raju, the owner and the head chef, sets up his thela at 6 in the evening and closes only when every one of his last customers has been served. He has a team of two who help him with the cleaning and the management of his affairs.

Raju’s story goes as follows. Before being a small business owner, he used to work at an office canteen, making the very same things, until the company was shut down and he was out of a job. This was probably his wake-up call to do greater tastier things. He named the food stall after his daughter Angel, but the shop is synonymous with his name.

As soon as this place opens, it starts humming with activity, witnessing a line of hungry people all eagerly waiting for their order. Raju makes the best of what he has in order to accommodate them. The thela serves as a cooking station and also doubles up as a table. Everything, from the cooking to watching people indulge in the food is a visual treat. The option of “Take Away” is also available. But the locals say the food is more enjoyable and seems tastier when you eat it there, surrounded by fellow foodies.

Raju Idli Wala’s thela is easy to spot, located opposite the B12 Market, next to a huge park, and close to the Wave City Centre metro station. This is a must try for the locals, and worth hopping onto a metro and travelling the distance, just to gorge on some delicious Vadas and Uttapams.

So the next time you are in town, do not forget to grab a plate of your preferred South Indian dish at Raju Idli Wala.

Location- Opposite B12 Market, Captain Shashi Kant Marg, Sector 34, Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Timings- 6 pm onwards, except Friday
Contact Number- +917503611520

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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.