Where to eat Poori Chhole in Amritsar? – Food Trippin’

Poori Chhole is something which is very close to my heart, for me they are food for my soul. Last year when we went to Amritsar for our food trip, we ate them at Kanha Sweets and couple of morsels inside me, I proclaimed them the best I have had till date. However life is not always about the best, and I am someone who would appreciate some of the lesser known mortals too and give them a fair chance to compete for my taste buds and very valuable appetite.

 
So when a dear friend and food lover Jaideep Riar from Amritsar suggested that we do a poori and kulcha shootout on our trip to Amritsar this year, I jumped on the offer. The idea of trying 3-4 prominent poori waalas in the famed lanes of Amritsar was way too exciting for me to say no to.


Lead by Aman Kahlon and Jaideep Riar, we started our expedition with New Munim Di Hatti on lawrence road. Which unfortunately was a disappointment as they were not even making them puris that morning. They offered to source them from a shop behind theirs but we decided to give it a pass. Apparently I have been told that these guys have opened up a shop in some mall and that is where they sell their stuff now. Not Interested. Seriously.



Poori, Chhole, Aloo ki Subzi at Kanha, Lawrence Road

 

Fresh Pooris at Kanha

 

Next up was Kanha, where the puris were as good as I remember them to be. Served with Chhole and Aloo ki khatti meethi subzi, he still remains the best that is out there. Besides that his Gur waala Halwa is quite divine. Here I also must mention something called Satpura (sat-pura or seven puras). Many of you would confuse it with ‘Japanese samosa’ from Old Delhi, which is a mystery in itself for me. Its something that would look similar to a Puff or patty, however is nothing like it. Well, I have had it only couple of times, and both times at Kanha itself.


Satpura
Gur (Jaggery) ka Halwa
Gur ka Hawla at New Munim di Hatti, Lawrence Road
Basanti Halwa at New Munim hi Hatti, the name is attributed to Color.

 

Then we went to Kanhaiya which is Kanha’s next door neighbour, and his stuff was quite good as well. And like their names, their Poori-Chhole were quite similar to each other too, but Kanha still manages to take an edge for me.


Chhole Poori and Aloo ki Subi at Kahaiya sweets, Lawrence Road
Satpuras in a stack

 

From there we took the long hop all the way to Old City, right in the heart of action at Telephone Exchange area. Now this is a very interesting area, you can find a number of rehris selling kulche, Bhature, Pooris and other vegetarian stuff in the morning and noon time and as they day progresses the place is taken over by vendors catering to carnivore audience.

This expedition of ours was to Shera Poori Waala who sells his stuff from a cart / rehri near the telephone exchange. There is nothing fancy about him like Kanha or kanhaiya, however fresh, thin and crispy pooris served with very decent Chhole and Aloo ki subzi. If you like your stuff with no frills and zero fanciness quotient, then this is the place to be. Plus I am assuming it is not too far from Golden Temple and hence would be most easy for people visiting the city to reach and savor.
Poori Chhole Aloo at Shera Poori Waala, Near Telephone Exchange
Lassi waala next to shera, serving hand churned Lassis.
Another style of eating it, just add bit of thick curd on your chhole
Giant Poori made specially for us by Shera on request of Aman Paaji
Our last stop was a poori waala next to Laungan Devi temple in Rani Da Bagh area. His pooris came with Kaddu (Pumpkin), alooo and chhole. We all felt that his stuff was quite bland, but then I am biased against Poori and Chhole and cannot really call anything bad.
 
Poori, Chhole, Kaddu and Aloo outside Laungan Devi Temple

Poori, Chhole, Kaddu and Aloo outside Laungan Devi Temple
Waiting to be served
Madhup bhai, getting in the fresh stock
So when it comes to eating Pooris in Amritsar – First choice is Kanha for sure, however if you are bored of him or want to try something other than Kanha or do not want to travel to Lawrence Road, then you should head to Shera Poori Waala in Telephone exchange area.


 

Beyond Murthal – For Paranthas and more

Murthal has been on food scene of Delhi/NCR for quite some time. The Tandoori paranthe served in the area being part of legends and folklore now. For those unaware, its a place near Sonepat, around 40-60 km drive North of Delhi on NH1. The variation in distance depend on where you actually start from in Delhi/NCR. 

Parantha with homemade white from Sukhdev

And going against the popular choice and trend, I have never been a fan of any of the Dhabas famous in the area. I always found the paranthas to be overrated and feel that much better tandoori paranthas can be had at any random highway dhaba in Punjab or any-other highway dhaba in North India for that matter.

 

Paranthas at Gulshan

For me, it was always a place for people who have not had the ‘real’ stuff, and that stand still holds true after numerous visits to those Dhabas for various reasons. In past few months have tried Ahuja No.1, Sukhdev as well as Gulshan.

 

 

Out of the thee only Ahuja No. 1 managed to get any points from me and that too only in Aloo-pyaz paranthas, rest of the fancier sounding paranthas are best avoided. Sukhdev’s Puri-subzi in breakfast was quite nice, also loved their Halwa and Jalebi. Gulshan did not give me any reason to come back to them. 

Halwa at Sukhdev
Jalebi at Sukhdev
Jalebi at Sukhdev
Kheer at Sukhdev
Puri at Sukhdev
Puri with Chhole at Sukhdev

Murthal being home to some religious site, all Dhabas that operate there are pure vegetarian. You can always see almost a million vehicles parked there. Their USP being stuffed Tandoori paranthas which they serve with generous and sometimes copious (I don’t mind either :P) amount of white butter. Also the dal they serve is not like your usual kali urad ki dal, but is a mix of different dals and comes out greenish in color. I also like the dahi that they serve there, which is thick and tasty.

 

Rajma at Gulshan
White butter and Dahi at Gulshan
Jalebi at Gulshan

But then this post was about going beyond Murthal and trying to discover something other than the mundane (yes! Murthal is mundane for me now). And please do not suggest Haveli.

Taking the first step on this trip to Amritsar, we decided to find a Dhaba where actually trucks were parked rather than all the tourist cars and taxis. And we did stop at a no-name Dhaba few kilometers before Sonepat. At first glance it did not seem much, however the sight of several gruff looking truckers eating there gave me some hope.
On being asked what everyone eats, the waiter suggested dal, which we gladly ordered and was an obvious choice. Besides that we ordered Aloo Pyaz ke paranthe and Sev ki doodh waali subzi. Here I must tell you that I have had that subzi somewhere in Madhya Pradesh, however never in Delhi or surrounding areas. The food was decent enough with parantha costing Rs.30 per piece which seemed expensive for a moment. But then thinking about it, dhabas at Murthal which is not too far from there, charge Rs.30-40 for a single parantha too. 

Dal at the Random Dhaba
Sev ki Doodh waali Subzi

 

Paranthe at the Random Dhaba

 

Salad

 

Ready to Eat

However the real surprise came when we decided to stop at Gulshan Dhaba in Murthal to have another parantha each, as we thought they would be better than this random Dhaba. But to our surprise and disappointment, Dal and Paranthas at Gulshan refused to go down our throats as every morsel was reminding us of the previous Dhaba we ate at, reminding me of my reasons for not liking Murthal and why I always avoided that place in past as well.

Murthal offers a lot for a a family, a decent drive from Delhi, plenty of parking, plenty of options, basically an ideal place for a family long drive. Everything said and done, the food.. well.. its strictly average, and somethings lower than average as well. So whenever someone talks passionately about Paranthas at Murthal, I cannot help but think – Dude! you need to travel and explore more. Go Beyond Murthal.PS : Pictures have been clicked on multiple visits, at multiple outlets and under varied lighting conditions. Do not confuse the quality of picture with quality of food.

Giani Tea Shop – Old School Chai – Amritsar – Food Trippin’

Watching western movies and realizing how strong the cafe and bar culture overseas is, I always try to find places in India which serve tea and provide avenue for locals to ‘hangout’ and enjoy a quick bite. There are not many which I have found yet, however Giani Tea Shop of Amritsar seems to be one such place.The place is on a busy Amritsari road, gets as Old School, Desi and Rustic as it can get. Probably not the cleanest or most well managed place where you would let your foot in, but then some of us are suckers for old world charm and Giani offers that by the truck loads.

 

My first experience with them was when Dr. Aman Kahlon and Jaideep Riar took us there for tea, and as they say fortune favors the brave, at that time of the day the old man of the shop himself was at the helm of the things. And when I say at the helm, I do not mean managing the joint, but the man himself was sitting on the bhatti and making chai.
Special Chai, you can see bits of Pista on top.
A quick word from Aman Paaji to the owner, 5 minutes of waiting, and what we had on our table was probably the best Chai I have ever tasted in my life (and my 4 foodie companions from Delhi also claimed the same). This particular chai was made in Milk only, however still was dark enough to tell us how well it was brewed. Giani ji himself goes to the old part of the town and selects Chai Patti (tea leaves) of few types from tea merchants there and makes his own unique blend. Most of the times when you have tea outside you appreciate a combination of masala, ginger, elaichi, long or dalchini in the chai, however in this cuppa we could appreciate the actual flavors of the tea leaf blend.
Besides that it had some froth over it and was topped with a sprinkling of crushed pista, which was something very unique and new for me and my companions. Not sure if the pista comes from some traditional style of serving tea or Punjabi fixation of making everything rich and grand, but it went surprisingly well with that chai.
Coming to the food on offer, we tried their Omelet with bread, half fried eggs (sunny side up) and Gulab Jamun. Omelet was quite delicious, you cannot go wrong with half fried eggs and Gulab Jamuns were one of the better ones if not the best that we have had. That said, the chutney concoction that they offer with those dishes is what makes them stand out.
Bread Omelet
Their Chutney ‘mix’.
Half fried Eggs (Sunny side up)
We went to the shop again next day and unfortunately it was one of the ‘boys’ making the tea and the owner’s son was sitting at the cash counter barking orders to them boys. We ordered the same tea, which though tasted great by all standards, still lacked the punch of day before. I hope our judgment was not hazed by our knowledge of the fact that his tea was made by a different person. Will have to make more visits in future to establish that fact.
How to eat the half fried eggs, as illustrated by Aman Paaji. Go layer by layer.
Another illustration of how to eat your Half fry.
Then comes the second hand knowledge about the shop from Aman Paaji, who told us that people who come to nearby Ram Bagh, which is the most popular spot in Amritsar for morning walks, make a stop at Giani’s Tea Shop for their Chai, snacks and Gup-Shup sessions with friends. The claim collaborated by Madhup Bhutani who was one of our companions from Delhi, who happened to visit the shop a bit earlier in the morning. He tells us that the busy road in the daytime is actually deserted from traffic in the morning, and is taken over by people hanging out and enjoying their morning cup of tea.
To end it, I would say Giani Tea Shop is definitely and probably the only tea shop that I look forward to visiting again and can recommend it to anyone who appreciates their Chai, the old school way.Location : Queens Road, just before Bhandari Bridge

Where to eat Amritsari Kulcha in Amritsar? – Food Trippin’

The Eatlo gang  lead by Aman and Jaideep Paaji that raided all the Kulcha joints in this post.
As
legendary as Amritsari Kulcha is, it is something that we Dilliwalas
hardly understand. Not many of us know the real taste, texture or even
the idea of one. People confuse it with Stuffed Naan or Parantha all the
time, when the fact is that those two type of breads are completely
different from genuine Amritsari Kulcha.

 

Amritsari
Kulcha’s dough is made in a special way, with layers and then stuffed
with Aloo, Gobhi, Paneer etc. It is flaky, crispy and is served with
Chhole and Khatti chutney waale pyaz. Traditionally no raita or dal is
served with them, which is a common practice in Delhi these days.

 

And
generally speaking most of us have had so many bad versions for those
Kulchas that when we actually land in Amritsar, we eagerly lap up
whatever comes our way and consider it the best the city has to offer.
However with my recent interactions with Jaideep Riar and Aman Kahlon
from Amritsar, I realised that most of the places that get recommended
on Eatlo were the places frequented by tourists (read non-residents or
visitors to the city) and not many Ambarsaris actually go there to get
their fill of kulchas.

 

So
on this trip, we surrendered ourselves to Aman and Jaideep paaji, and
requested them to take charge of our Kulcha expedition and education.
And being the gracious punjabis they are, they helped us in sampling 4
of the top Kulcha makers that Amritsar has to offer.

 

1.
All India Famous – The one we tasted last year and the place from where
we started our expedition this year. This place was Nirvana for me,
this place served the best Amritsari Kulcha I had ever tasted. Amazing
by Delhi and rest of Indian standards for sure, but now I have tasted
better. Much better.

 

Location – Chungi crossing, Maqbool Road
Amritsari Kulche at All India Famous Kulche Wala – Maqbool Road

 

Mix of Chutney and onions – Some also call it ‘Khatta’

 

2.
Harbans Lal Kulche Waala – This is located in a small local market,
which looked kind of deserted to me or maybe we were there quite early
in the day. But then ‘Bansa’ as Harbans is popularly known amongst
locals had no shortage of patrons. And one bite into his kulcha, we knew
why. His Kulcha was considerably thinner, crispier and tastier than the
one we had at All India Famous.

 

Location – Old Market of Anand Avenue
Harbans Lal Kulche Wale – they do have a separate sitting area.
All I see is the swagger of a Amritsari Kulcha
Amtrisari Kulcha at Harbans Lal Kulche Wala

 

Amtrisari Kulcha at Harbans Lal Kulche Wala
3.
Ashoka kulche Waala – Now here Aman Paaji only made us sample a Kulcha
which was off the Menu and is called Paintee waala Kulcha (Rs.35
Kulcha). The Kulcha was stuffed with Gobhi, Aloo, Paneer, Tamatar etc
and though it was delicious, did not feel or taste like a Kulcha. It
reminded me of Chur Chur Naan that we get in Delhi. Aman told us that
today he (Ashokha) got over excited and over-stuff the kulcha. Probably
would try it again when I am there. The Chhole that he serves were much
better than any other outlet that I have tasted.

 

Location : A-Block, Ranjit Avenue (near Park)
Paintee waala special off the menu Kulcha

Regular Amritsari Kulche at Ashoka, notice the difference in shape compared to others.
Amritsari Kulche ready to be served

Most delicious chhole of all the ones we tasted that day.

 

4.
Monu Kulcha Corner – Now this seemed to be a long drive for us, atleast
by the Amritsari standards but then I cannot be a good judge of
distance as I had no clue where I was, or where I was being taken. We
were there on a Saturday and while driving Jaideep Paaji told me that
last Sunday he went to Monu for Kulchas and he was 57th in queue to be
served. Yup, Monu had 56 other orders to cater too, before he could have
served Jaideep Paaji. And once we had our Kulchas infront of us, we
knew why someone who was so off the grid, someone literally out of the
city limits was doing so well for himself. His Kulcha was the crispiest
and tastiest amongst all we had tasted that day. Though the chhole at
Ashoka were a tad better, but then the Kulcha itself made up for
everything.

 

Aman
paaji tells me that Monu used be operate from a place called Chitta
Katra in the walled city and was quite famous there. However now he has
got his own shop and the new location also gives him a better paying
clientele.

 

Location : Take a turn on Loharka Road from NH3, go for 1.5 km approximately and Monu would on your Left hand side.
Amritsari Kulcha at Monu Kulche wala – The Best of the lot.

Amritsari Kulcha at Monu Kulche wala – The Best of the lot.
Amritsari kuchas of a different type

Getting ready to roll

 

Rate list in Punjabi
at Monu Kulche waala

 

Now
I am sure that we have managed to touch only tip of the iceberg when it
comes to Kulchas in Amritsar. However considering that tip was actually
the top shown to us by Dr. Aman Kahlon and Jaideep Riar, both of whom
are local to Amritsar and super foodies in their own right and the fact
that these joints are not on tourist trail and they cater to actual
Ambarsaris, I feel pretty safe in saying that the above mentioned
Kulcha joints are best that Amritsar has to offer.PS : Working on pictures I realized that the rate list at Monu Kulche Wala is written in Gurmukhi (Punjabi) and no English or Hindi translation is there. Do we need more proof that there is nothing about this shop that is geared to cater to tourists or non locals ?? 😛Connect with me on Twitter : @SH_AGer

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Sardar Ji ke Amritsari Naan/Kulche – Pitampura Court Waale

Every other food enthusiast in Delhi would have a nomination for the best naans in the city. My elusive search for the best naans ended with discovery of this small Pitampura shop, in which I now have a contender.
One day while I was on routine visit to my worksite in Haiderpur, I found an otherwise inconspicuous corner of Pitampura liven up with a small happy crowd. Supposedly, a Sardarji had shifted his naan shop from Pitampura court to this place, and hence the ensuing swarm of Delhi’s janta, ever interested in good food.
What I liked the most is their authenticity & simplicity – implicit right in the shops’ name – which makes a no-nonsense simple statement. Want authentic Amritsari naan? Come here and have it.
The menu is short and simple. A single naan thali for Rs. 50 & a double naan thali for Rs. 80. Naans are stuffed with a spiced mixture of grated gobhi and are served hot and fresh with a generous helping of amul butter. The curry accompaniments include Aalu matar, Dal Makhani, Rajma and Chhole. Raita, cut onions marinated in mint chutney and green chilli pickle are also served with the thali.
While the curries, chutneys and raita are delicious and tasteful; those are the naans which steal the show. They are not just dishes of rolled maida baked in tandoor that you find elsewhere in Delhi in the name of naan. A look at the dough reveals that it is more than just kneaded maida, and the naan is skilfully shaped and baked to perfection. Hot, crisp and rich with butter, they are exquisite and wholesome at the same time.
Apart from naan, also in the menu is rice with Rajma/Chhhole, but they are a distant comparison with the naan.
While the number of naans are fixed for each thali, one can have as much of curry or raita as one wishes – ensuring a packed stomach on every visit to the sardaarji’s shop.
Service is quick and efficient. The place looks hygienic and clean on a street-food scale. There is no seating arrangement.
This shop is situated right in front of an electricity grid near the first red light on the road from Madhuban chowk towards Haiderpur. Those using the metro can get down at Pitampura station, walk to Madhuban chowk & then take some conveyance uptil the first red light in the direction of Haiderpur/Muqarba Chowk.
For the more tech-inclined, just search – +28° 42′ 30.08″, +77° 8′ 9.01″ – in google maps for the exact location
The place remains open only for lunch.
I submit it to my fellow food enthusiasts to make a visit to Sardaarji’s shop themselves and experience for themselves the pleasures of good food.
Written by Nikhil Mahant 

The Golconda Bowl – Hyderabadi Delight in Delhi

I visited The Golconda Bowl last Sunday (10th February). We were three of us, me along with my mother and my wife. The experience was just superb and I can’t explain it without going into hyperbole so I won’t even try.
We started off with the Patthar ke Gosht. It has to be one of the best starters I have ever tasted. It was different and full of flavor. We must have polished it off in 5 minutes flat. The manager walked up to us and, much to our embarrassment, said the portions might seem small but it actually consists of around 300 grams of meat which is flattened after pounding and thus the reduced size. The dish just totally left us asking for more and that is the primary job of a starter. Well begun, half done.
Next in line was the Hyderabadi Murgh Kofta Curry. Balls made of minced chicken cooked in a rich spicy gravy. The highlight of this dish was that one could easily make out the amount of time that the chicken was put into the marinade. It was slightly high on the garam masala but absolutely no complaints. We are not too much into butter naans and butter rotis and so we had ordered plain rotis. IT was an ideal  accompaniment. Just to give an idea about the quantity I would say it’s ideal for 3 people. It had around 6-7 chicken meat balls and sufficient gravy. 
Lastly we had ordered the Kacche Gosht ki Biryani. This was THE HIGHLIGHT of the day. I was slightly apprehensive considering there were two ladies and it was the third dish, but all my concerns were laid to rest. We wiped on the entire thing. I am not an expert on cuisine but all I will say is that I am a total Biryani person. Biryani would be my choice if someone asked me what my last meal would be if the world ends. This particular version at GB was the best ever. Lots of well-cooked soft meat, no overpowering dalchini, and just the perfect amount of oil made it perfect. It was accompanied by Mirchi ka Salan and Raita. We couldn’t resist eating with our hands and right in the middle of our meal, the manager walked up again and with a broad smile said I just love the fact that you guys are eating with your hands. I have time and time again told patrons that biryani is best enjoyed with hands but people here are just too conscious. 
Even after eating a lot by our standards there was no feeling of over eating or feeling bloated. Infact by evening we were hungry again! 
The place is simply done up, there are no in your face artifacts. It’s a basic seating arrangement. The service was quite good although nothing to specially mention. The waiters insisted on serving each portion and even refilled the plates which was good. The Mirchi ka Salan and drinks (Jal Jeera and Aam Panna) were standard affairs and nothing to write home about. I don’t know if Hyderabadi Cuisine has raw onions part of the spread but that was one thing I would have added. Cut onions with or without vinegar. A typical Dilli wala loves his sirke waale pyaaz with anything . 
All in all a wonderful experience and nothing to complain. Would love to visit again.
Written by Sidharth Satpathy and shared on Eatlo

Anna’s Hotel – Little Kerala in heart of Delhi

Watching Anthony Bourdain’s adventures in Kerala the other day, I felt a serious desire to visit God’s own country once again and savor all the delicacies they have to offer. However since there is no justice in this world and I am not Anthony Bourdain, I cannot be in Kerala anytime soon – so I decided to satisfy my cravings by visiting some Malabari/Kerala style food joint in Delhi itself.
Like all other big metro cities of the world, Delhi has its own cultural pockets. In Delhi there are people living from all over India (and other countries too) and along with them they bring their food and culture as well. Anna’s hotel is a small eatery in INA market, catering to Keralites and/or food lovers like ourselves. There are 1 or 2 other eateries of similar nature in the vicinity, like the Kerala Hotel opposite Anna’s, where I have had veg. meal for Rs.50 and savored it quite a bit. 
Anna’s is literally a small place, with around 4-5 tables to accommodate 15-20 people. They have a kitchen upstairs from where they serve fish, beef, chicken, prawns and mutton. Kerala being one of the few places in Indian where beef is acceptable and widely consumed, you can actually enjoy various delicacies like Beef Biryani, Beef Roast, Beef fry etc here.
My knowledge is very limited about south Indian food, however I guess they serve all their meats (fish and chicken too) in set styles. The styles being – Ghee Roast, Masala, Fry, Sukkha, curry etc. All these styles have different gravies and spices, and would take some time for a North Indian to develop a finer sense of taste for them.
We had Beef fry, Malabari Fish Biryani, Prawns roast, Chicken Masala, Malabari Parottaa and Appam.

Malabari Fish Biryani – The way it is served

Malabari Fish Biryani – comes with 2 pieces of fish

Malabari Fish Biryani – A closer look
The Biryani was for Rs.200 and had two chunks of fried Surmai fish. Came with salad, pickle and papad on the side. As someone who likes spices, I really loved this biryani and if you appreciate pepper and then you would savor this one like anything. Prawns were for Rs.180, and probably was the only thing that left us wanting for more. Too little and not very tasty, but them we cannot blame them for not being able to serve prawns in Delhi, which is at-least a 1000 miles away from nearest ocean. The total bill was around Rs.580, so you can imagine how cheap was rest of the stuff.

Beef Fry, prawns and Parotta
Closer look at the prawns

Beef Fry
Beef was very well cooked, tender and succulent, as someone who is not a fan of red meats I was surprised that I really enjoyed it. Chicken Masala was very nice, thick gravy, with egg cooked in it, went like a charm with Appam. Oh! and the Malabari parotta was not thick at all, and was quite well made.

Chicken Masala
Appam – Hot and fresh

The day we were there, they were out of Mutton dishes and unfortunately they do not serve any desserts , I was really hoping to get hold of some payasam.  

All in all, a super value for money eating joint, which is a favorite among Keralites and other South Indian Communities in Delhi, however adds another star to the food scene of the capital city and gives gluttons like us another option to satisfy out craving for variety, and then some spice.

Anna’s Hotel
Shop No. 204, Ground Floor, Mohan Singh Market, INA, Delhi , 110023


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