Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chatpati Batein


Delhizen is the typical Punjabi kurhi from the city of Chandigarh.  Fearless, passionate, she speaks her mind and writes from her heart.  A busy career woman who has now shifted her loyalties to Delhi, she lives to eat and in this post lets her taste buds do the talking.....
 
There are few things Purba and I  have in common; our names start with the letter ‘P’, we are Virgos, we can ‘talk’ and most of you who know her would know what I mean. We also share our love for writing, (though I am not half as good as her) Delhi and of course FOOD!  

Since no celebration is complete without good food and to keep up with the spicy content of A-Musing, my post is dedicated to ‘Street Food of Dillli’.  I read this ode, a 55er actually written by someone who is a foodie by heart & soul and thought it’s the right recipe to start my post which being with food and ends with it too.

“People eat out for various reasons: hunger pangs or for a change,
Some want to try what’s new while for a few it’s about taste,
There are also God’s chosen ones ‘who eat because it makes them happy’,
Food to live or food for mind; I chose the latter which adds zing to my life!”

Google Images
First draft of this post was trashed, so was the second and third. I realized its time to bunk the gym and instead walk down to Sriram Sweets, Malviya Nagar (btw they have the best Gol Gappas or GGs in South Delhi) for some inspiration.

Six gol guppas, 2 deep fried aloo tikkis and a plate of shakarkandi ki chat later I was ready to write about the second love of my life, food!

Just like a wine connoisseur can differentiate between a Sula and a Vintage. A gg Gulper can tell a good guppa from a regular one… Take the whole filled-up to the brim guppa to your mouth, bite into it, did you hear the pucchak sound? A burst of flavors, sweet followed by tangy and then the teekha-pan tingles the throat and you have just sampled a perfect gg, go on don’t stop at one!


There was time way back in 1960s and 70s when street food vendors would come wandering to residential colonies offering all sort of grub from peeled and bite size sugarcane, to jalebis, bhel, chaat. Times have changed and vendors don't come knocking at your doors now but every locality at least has one chaat wala of its own.  But momos, noodles with lots of tomato ketchup is not my idea of Delhi special grub. 

What is Delhi's street food then? It’s a treasure to be discovered, for this you have to be a slave to your taste buds, leave your concerns for ' hygiene' behind and step out!  I say, Delhizens have the toughest immunity and it takes a lot to knock them out.  It grows from strength to strength from their culinary adventures of the thela types - no one knows or gives two hoots to how it’s prepared.

Delhi's street food has a multi cultural influence some of my personal top favorites are:
  • Gol guppas, pani-puri, pani batasha, puchhka
  • Dahi Bhalla
  • Pappri chaat
  • Bhelpuri
  • kullas (scooped potatoes or tomatoes with a tangy stuffing)
  • Moong dal ki pakodi
  • Kebabs with roomali
  • Kathi- double chicken/mutton with egg,
  • Paranthas with a variety of stuffing from pappad to peas
  • Khurchan (scrapping of the sides of the kadai in which rabri is made)
  • Kulfi faluda
  • naan kathai ( biscuits)
  • samosa
  • kachori with aloo ki subzi  you can also try this combo with bedmi puri
  • Choley bhature or with kulcha

Mouth-watering is it? Already thinking, yes! I am going to eat all this and add more to the list? Well here is what I suggest….

Walk through Chandni Chowk from Ghanta Ghar to the tightly squeezed lanes, stop where you see a crowd that would of course mean the eatery is popular and will have fresh food. Just before you enter the Paranthe- wali gali there is a small shack which dishes out soft-crunchy moong pakodi served with pudina chutney.  Next bite? Obviously khasta paranthas. Try unusual combinations like dry fruits stuffing, rabri and banana, served with tamarind chutney, potato curry, and sitaphal ki subzi. Wash it down with a glass of refreshing nimbu masala or bunta as it’s more popularly known.

Courtesy- Google Images
Then comes Jama Masjid, a food lovers delight and there is so much more than just one world famous Karim’s. Take a stroll and you will discover enough options on either side to tempt you. The bakeries there may look like dingy holes but bake the freshest rusks (round in shape). Close to Motia Mahal there is an exclusive shop for Afghani Rotis same in size as that of a plate made with a mix of wheat flour, maida and milk.  And that’s not all there is an interesting story behind them too. Everyone works hard to earn their daily bread and should get the exact or more for what they pay so the dough for each roti is weighed. You can even ask them to make sheermal (sweetened roti) and these can be kept for a few days, warm them before you want to eat and they will soft again.

Oh! How can I not mention the lunch of almost everyone in Daryaganj and around- choley kulchey, sweet lassi and karari kachori with aloo- tamatar ki tarkari.  Nah, they are not like what you get at the fancy sweet shops.  DG has a few who make the best of this lot and mind you after 3 pm you won’t even get a small helping.

I do step out of the ‘old-city charm’ only when the taste buds crave for a fluffy dosa, soft idlis and crispy vadas. 5 minutes from Jantar Mantar are these row of shops, each one offering a specialty from rajma-chawal to kadi-chawal. Don’t get tempted, you get better preparation of these at home.  Instead stop by at the South Indian self-service dhaba dishing out 50 dosas in 15 minutes served with piping hot sambar. The choice of dosas is the same as you would get at Sarvana Bhavan or Sagar Ratna but at less than half the price. Just don’t look at the way they wash the dishes.

I can go on and on about what and whereabouts of street food and my mind is already set to ditch the dinner at home tonight and head to the lanes laden with happiness! 

Statutory warning: Discovering best places to eat out can’t be done with a guidebook in hand. After many trials you will find a place which offers a special something to come-by again.




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38 comments:

  1. So that is how the tagline 'a little sweet, a little tangy and very very spicy....' came to be!

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  2. You already know the comment Pal. Do I really need to type it here :)

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  3. I am in Delhi for the weekend...maybe I should try some street food afters years of restraint!

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  4. I miss all these delicacy. Have to make do with Gits :-/

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  5. You really must not do this to people. Specially people sitting in Bangalore where we very rarely venture out for street food. Here people prefer heading straight for a drink or a steak-house. I'd be killed of temptation.

    This post is killing me. Mouth watering stuff Pallavi!

    -Pzes

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  6. YOU FORGOT AL BAKE :|

    A place that supplied me with the awesome tongue-blasting god-level shawarmas that were my staple pre-party diet. Situated in a non-descript corner in New Friends Colony, this is the ultimate thing that I could ever want.

    And, Delhizen, I would NOT like to thank you for this post. How is one supposed to behave normally after reading about sooo many mouth-watering thingmies? Ugh!

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  7. @mazing .. let's show them what WE've got!

    ..

    Erm ..

    Umm ..

    ...

    What do we have to show-off, by the way?

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  8. I soo want something spicy right now.... Ek dum tikha and chatpatta.... :D

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  9. Hey! Purba , just wanted to inform you about a blogger's contest at indusladies.com. I have tagged you.you can get the details from the site or my blog.All the best!

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  10. That was something right after Purba's heart and so a fitting anniversary tribute!

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  11. I by mistake again read it in morning. Images are awesome and I'm hungry. *Puppy Face*

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  12. yummylicious post!
    specially loved your sensuous description of eating ggs!!

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  13. @ Uma: Ah! finally you revealed the secret behind the Chatpatah conversations

    @Cub: yep you really need to type it out here ;)

    @ Siddhartha: did I read ‘maybe’… its high time you have some!!

    @ Giribala: you are right they are indeed delicacies :)

    @ Piyu: Another reason for you to plan a trip to Delhi at the earliest! Maybe this post is part of my hidden agenda to entice you to our city ;)

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  14. @ Kartikay: I have to thank you for adding the scrumptious shawarmas to the list… me going there tomorrow to have some :). Want me to send you a pic? I can do this much for a friend :)

    @ Tanishka: What are you waiting for then? Go and have some right away!

    @ Zephyr: I am so glad you think it’s a good anniv tribute to Purba’s blog, hard work paid off :)

    @ Prateek: That’s the best part about street food, don’t look at the watch… have you not heard Kachori is an ideal breakfast option ;)

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  15. Seems like today is a foodie paradise for me :D , Just after publishing food recipe , I come over here to get my taste buds tickled, watered and wanting to book the next flight to Delhi. Without doubt, Delhi's street food is a foodies paradise. I relish the couple of visits I made and ransacked the food joints there. Slurrrrrrrrrp!

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  16. Delicious Post.You made me hungry with that.Sigh..My dear pani puris..here I come..

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  17. Surabhi....Can you please leave your link, I have tried and end up reaching just wordpress.com!!!


    I'm already plotting and planning a GG date. Unfortunately for me Gurgaon is mostly thela-free :(

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  18. @ Lakshmi Rajan: Perfect start to the weekend! suuper happie that the post evoked so many reactions in you. Plan an exclusive ‘for food trip’ only!

    @ Blue Lotus: confession; even I want to have some now.. sigh!!

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  19. @ magiceye: Imagine if reading this is so yummylicious, how writing it would have been for me! Relishing GGs is an art- I pity those who I can’t gulp it down in one go ;) :)

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  20. A truly lip smacking post which evoked mouthwatering memories

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  21. after a sumptuous office lunch of crispy fresh pooris,
    spicy channa curry,
    dry spicy baingan subji,
    fresh curd raita with chopped carrot onion n loads of corainder,
    vinegar soaked small onion and fresh mooli n carrot salad..

    I read this.

    and am dead already with cravings!
    Evil You!!

    btw! am a foodie and vegetarian so Delhi is where I was born/would live and die!!

    FANTASTIC!!

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  22. for me tooo please and LOTS of it ... :)

    Bikram's

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  23. http://www.indusladies.com/forums/blogs/induslady/indusladies-2nd-annual-international-womens-4493/

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  24. That is quite a well written ode to the food of Delhi. You were able to bring out the flavors in your writing.
    Too bad for the Bangalore crowd :P

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  25. and this is one reason why I love my country so bloody much!

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  26. Raksha...Come to Delhi baby, we"ll have fun and diet some other day.

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  27. Haha...if am there we shall definitely go...you gotta take me around!;)

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  28. @ Vikram: Go indulge yourself and relish every bite

    @Mepretentious: once a Delhizen always a foodie :). Btw the description of your lunch itself is so appetizing.

    @ Mr. Mann: Time to make a trip to Southall?

    @ Cub and now a leopard: Wouldn’t have been possible if you were not after my life and of course all the grub I had in the name of inspiration ;).
    Yeah I too feel for the friends in dosa-land :)… sigh!!!

    @ Raam Pyaari- well this is ‘one of the reasons’ why we all love India so much!

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  29. Mouth watering!!! Chatpati post:)

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  30. delhi can never match the golguppa's of kolkata.
    you can visit kaake di hatti near laxminarayan dharmshala old delhi,fatehpuri, for vegitarian tandoor dishes, u'll forget all the 5 stars.
    this the oldest in delhi i think. my fav.
    one naan cannot be finished by 2 people.

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  31. I loved this post!

    I remember the first time I had khurchan....just like it was yesterday....

    The only thing I haven't tried is Moong dal ki pakodi.

    I'm planning to do a "Dilli Darshan" after my exams anyway. Just me, a camera and a friend or two.

    Needless to say I'll need the assistance of digestive enzymes!

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  32. Quite a,well,'tangy' post-almost made me long to go out and have some GGs..only,it's 6 AM in the morning out here and the only thing I'd get is tea.:)

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  33. @ deepazartz: Thank you, I’m glad you relished reading the post

    @ Pramod: thanks for the leads.. shall make it point to visit these eats

    @ Amit; so did you have GGs later in the day?

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  34. LOL-Delhizen,no!!It was only at that moment that I longed for GGs..afterwards,thoughts of diet and not moving away from it took over and I didn't have GGs..ah well..maybe I'll read the post one of these evenings,again.haha.

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  35. How I wish I could taste these delicacies. I love food and I especially want to try what's new to taste. Other's eat when they're upset. I eat to fulfill my curiosity and feed my mind.
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  36. I have read anything along these lines recently. You absolutely come with awesome stories. With thanks for revealing your blog.

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