Chatpati Batein

February 25, 2011 at 3:07 pm 18 comments

As part of Purba\’s blog anniversary celebrations I wrote about the ‘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!”

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
  • Sharwama ( Thanks Kartikay for this addition)

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.

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.



Entry filed under: Delhi-ghtfully Yours!. Tags: , , , .

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18 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sapna  |  February 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Did anybody tell you yet. It is a sin to post such things! Esp not when you know people might be sitting in their offices and not have access to any of these….

    • 2. Sapna  |  February 25, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      And yes not to forget. your blog is on its way to be officially the Delhi Food Guide…

      • 3. delhizen  |  February 26, 2011 at 12:39 pm

        I could hear your voice ringing in my ears!! How should I seek forgiveness now that the sin is committed ? 😉

        Don’t know about becoming a Delhi food guide but for sure my love for food is becoming evident!

  • 4. snowleopard  |  February 26, 2011 at 12:24 am

    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 😛

    • 5. delhizen  |  February 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm

      Pats how about starting a cafe in Bangalore and we will call it
      ‘ the Delhi Street’.. We already have clients 🙂 :), what say?

  • 6. tangyorangesour  |  February 26, 2011 at 12:53 am

    what the bloddy f**k!
    oh! please you want dosa’s come down here – i will treat you to peanut dosa, yes you heard me right!

    btw – did i read ‘tangy’ somewhere – hehe..

    • 7. delhizen  |  February 26, 2011 at 12:43 pm

      A peanut dosa sounds innovative, but not good enuf to tempt to Bangalore… more suggestions please!!

      Yeah, thought of you when I wrote ‘tangy’ 😉

      PS: if it weren’t for the k as the last alphabet I would have assumed you meant What the bloody food 🙂

      • 8. tangyorangesour  |  February 27, 2011 at 9:39 am

        very funny..grrrr 😛

  • 9. Karan Agrawal  |  February 26, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    First reaction – I am damn hungry now! lol

    Being a foodie, it was very delicious post…had been to Delhi once just for two days…when I back and checked my pics…the Delhi pics had only food in it…BTW tikki…3 types of stuff parathas…chandni chowk dahi baade…Faloooda…and yes goool gappss! 🙂

    • 10. delhizen  |  February 28, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      and Karan is Back!! missed you 🙂

      I know every time I read the comments and type a reply, I too feel hungry 😉

  • 11. Deboshree  |  February 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    How so very mean. 😦
    I cant have any of those today and its so very sad…. I want my faluda and my moong dal ke pakore now!

    • 12. delhizen  |  February 28, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      and why can’t you?? Pune has so many options? Coming to Delhi? have as much as you like

  • 13. IRFANUDDIN  |  February 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    “Delhi food guide”…. very true said above in one of the comments..

    next time whenever i go there i will carry all this info with me….

    • 14. delhizen  |  February 28, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      I am glad you find the info useful enuf to carry around. do share if you discover a new must eat at place in Delhi

      and yes, welcome to taxfreethoughts

  • 15. Vee  |  March 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    😦 every time i see a food post i only become sad! as Sapna was saying, its a sin to post such things. 😛

    • 16. delhizen  |  March 9, 2011 at 4:53 pm

      Pardon me Vee for the sin I have already committed ;). As a punishment I shall eat a plate of dahi bhalla [?]

  • 17. Siddarth  |  March 22, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Must have read this post bfore visitng Delhi. Very well written. All those streets filled with the most awesome food have made my gastric juices go bonkers!!

    • 18. delhizen  |  March 22, 2011 at 9:31 am

      yeah yeah and then you can do a A to Z on Delhi food, what say? 😉 🙂


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