Where to eat finest Kebabs & Biryani in Delhi?

Those are the really small structures on the pavements of Central Delhi selling Chai, Sutta and Snacks to the Babus working in those corridors of power. Most of those NDMC stalls are quite basic – Chai, Samosa, Kachori, Bread Pakore, Fruits, Biscuits, Cold-drinks, Juices etc. However not too far from palatial Presidential Estate in Delhi, next to Assam Bhawan, right in the diplomatic corridors is located a small stall, that does not bear any name, is poorly lit and is something that is very easy to miss. Nothing that would separate it from those quintessential stalls in Central Delhi.

And the answer is NOT Old Delhi. Read on… πŸ™‚

Those who are familiar with Delhi, would know what NDMC stalls are. Those are the really small structures on the pavements of Central Delhi selling Chai, Sutta and Snacks to the Babus working in those corridors of power. Most of those NDMC stalls are quite basic – Chai, Samosa, Kachori, Bread Pakore, Fruits, Biscuits, Cold-drinks, Juices etc. However not too far from palatial Presidential Estate in Delhi, next to Assam Bhawan, right in the diplomatic corridors is located a small stall, that does not bear any name, is poorly lit and is something that is very easy to miss. Nothing that would separate it from those quintessential stalls in Central Delhi.

However if you are there in the evening hours, and pay close attention, you will find a beeline of cars standing next to it. Fancy cars are not very uncommon in that part of the town, however spend a moment or two, and you will see a steady stream of food flowing from the ubiquitous looking stall to those cars. Welcome to Al-Kauser. Or rather one of the outlets of Al-kauser which has developed into a much bigger chain now which has successfully spread its kebab fueled wings, atleast in Delhi.

A closer look at the stall of Al Kauser
Inside the stall
Making Varqi Parantha

We will let the chain do what it does and focus our energies on this particular outlet, you might call me a romantic, but this little stall selling kebabs and Biryanis has managed to charm me..

Some of the dishes I have tried and liked there :

~ Galauti Kebabs : As melt in mouth as they are supposed to be by virtue of their name, they serve 4 round (tikki type) kebabs in a plate, and I doubt if its possible to make them any finer. Aficionados might draw comparison from here and there, but that would be matter of individual taste. Tunday Kebabi from Lucknow (they now have a chain in Delhi), Rajendra da Dhaba and some of the finer restaurants in town can only claim to touch this beauty served by Al Kauser. That said, I would not be surprised if Alkauser guys manage to beat everyone else in sheer finesse of flavors and spices.

Galauti Kebabs

~ Kakauri : Again, melt in mouth, they serve 2 of them seekhs in a plate and are just slightly different from the Galautis in the way they are spiced. Personally I am not able to find much difference in their texture. The kakoris that I have eaten here are at par with best in business from Delhi – Al Quresh and Aap Ki Khatir are the other two names that come to my mind and the line separating them three is so thin that it is virtually non-existent. Honestly speaking would not be surprised if someone told me that Kebabchis working at these three eateries are fruits of the same tree or trained under the same Ustad, the Master Kebab maker.

~ Varqi Parantha : This calorie bomb is a perfect companion for those kebabs, Layers of shallow fried goodness, it has slightly sweet flavor, which surprisingly goes very well with both the above mentioned kebabs. Calorie conscious brethren can always opt for roomali rotis.
Varqi Parantha

~ Biryani : Now this can be a show stopper for many. They serve Chicken and Mutton Biryani in a Handi, complete with a lid, sealed by dough. I am assuming that they put partially done rice and meat in the handi, seal it and then put it inside a tandoor or in a bhatti, where it spends some time. The process is called ‘Dum’ lagana, where various flavors from meat, spices and rice infuse among themselves. The lid is sealed with dough allowing nothing to escape from that handi. Ask then to serve you the Handi itself as opening it would release the aromas of extremely hot and well made delicacy and it is something that one must experience. Here let me warn you – they do not serve any salan, or raita with their biryani, and honestly speaking I have never felt the need for one too.

Handi of Mutton Biryani
Mutton Biryani served in a plate
Sealed Handi of Biryani

~ Chicken Malai Tikka : Generally Malai Tikkas are white in color and creamy in taste, however the ones I have eaten here are more on the charred side, slightly overdone to give that taste and colors but just enough to make sure they still have some moisture left in them.

I was really surprised when I was told that people have been coming here from 70’s and now feel that the place is way past of golden years, but then that is something that I have heard about every legend. I feel generally when people get bored of someplace OR there are slight changes, that is when that accusation or tag of being past the best comes.Honestly speaking have never really paid attention to the prices so cannot comment on them, however last time I was there we had 2 portions of kakori, 2 paranthas and a biryani – we paid close to Rs. 800, which would not put it under cheap category, however with the kind of food they serve, I do not mind paying that kind of money.

Talking about service, I doubt if they know H of hospitality. If you are in a car, blow your horn and one of the boys would be there to fetch your food. If you are outside the car, then do not expect them to listen to you, seems like they are just too used to horns.

Kebabs and Tikkas being roasted..

That said if you go there in colder months, make sure you step out of your car, or otherwise put your air-conditioner to external mode just to get a whiff of those goodies being roasted on coal fire. Very rustic, Very delicious.

PS : This post if of my experience of the Malcha Marg outlet, cannot say much about other more shiney branches. And much thanks to Nitin Seth paah ji for introducing me to this joint.

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Where to eat Daulat ki Chaat in Delhi?

Was chatting with a friend of mine (who works as a corporate Chef and handles few of the major restaurants in Delhi)  yesterday afternoon and realized that both of us were hungry but not for the run of the mill stuff. He is someone who has spent lot of time working overseas and in Delhi as well most of the food he does is ‘international’. A jaunt to Old Delhi is what doctor seemed to have ordered for him and yesterday we both grasped at the opportunity and after parking our rides at Patel Chowk Metro Station and we hopped in a train straight to Chawri Bazaar.
Daulat ki Chaat from Gali Arya Samaaj
Got out from exit no. 3 of Chawri Metro Station and headed straight into Sita Ram Bazaar, deciding to ignore temptations offered in Chawri Bazaar starting from Ashok Chaat right at the corner to Shakahari, Standard, Shyam, Kulle Chaat & Jain Sandwich to the road leading straight to Jama Masjid and the numerous meaty goodies on offer in Matia Maharl and Urdu Bazaar area. And let me not even mention the Lal Kuan, Balli Maran, Khari Baoli and Chandni Chowk waiting for us on the other side. We ignored them all. 
We were men on mission, and the mission was simple – Daulat Ki Chaat. Daulat ki Chaat is a dessert which as per my understanding is basically milk froth – making it very light in weight and texture, something they say is made from dew and beating the milk with hand all night long. It is served with some crushed Khoya, which I would call Indian Cheese in absence of a better explanation, some finely crushed dry fruits and maybe some saffron water/syrup. 
Its a very fine dish available mostly in colder months in Delhi and available ONLY in Old Delhi. As Delhi moves into winter months, you can see the walled city dotted with numerous carts & hawkers selling Daulat Ki Chaat and everyone claims to be the best, accepting orders for weddings and other parties – complete with a visiting card offered to every inquisitive customer. Outsiders and/or novice food lovers get excited at the mere sight of them carts and find hard to control the temptation of trying them. Honestly speaking cannot just blame them, even the half good stuff commonly sold in Old Delhi (any part including Chandni Chowk) is good enough to make even hardcore foodies feel happy.
But then, I do not consider myself an outsider and my friend is not a novice foodie for sure.. πŸ˜‰
Most of the Daulat ki Chaat sold on those carts parked in touristy, crowded or popular areas of Old Delhi sell adulterated stuff, or so I have been told by my cousins and family residing in that part of town. But then we are not the ones to believe in words and to be sure that we have a fare comparison we started by eating from a cart right on the Hauz Khazi chowk and actually enjoyed the stuff that he was selling. For bulk orders he quoted Rs.4000 for 12 kgs of Chaat, plus the transportation. 
Daulat ki Chaat we had on Hauz Qazi Chowk
Post that we decided to skip everything else and walk straight towards Gali Arya Samaj, a bylane of Sita Ram Bazaar. Its a unmarked street on your right hand side, right after Lal Darwaza, which is on your left hand side. You walk into the Gali Arya Samaj and as the street starts to narrow down, on your left hand side would will find a small stall selling Daulat ki Chaat and some kulfis/icecream. 
We ordered a plate each from this guy as well, and my chef friend straightaway started telling me that its more Pure, dense, flavorful, creamy and frothy. And as soon as he uttered those words my heart took a leap of joy, feeling vindicated & validated. The shopkeeper told me that they still have to make it with hand and have no other option, and quoted us Rs. 600 a kg plus transportation for bulk and party orders. 
There is no name of this shop, but I believe I have mentioned several points in the blog, points which are sufficient to send you on a treasure hunt, a hunt for the BEST Daulat ki Chaat, which of-course is nothing less than a treasure. 
Started this post to share the entire adventure we had yesterday which saw us gorging on some awesome Kachoris & Samosas as well, while finishing the gluttony with a rockstar Nahari and Kebabs, but I guess will limit this post to Daulat ki Chaat and save other details for another post.  
Would love to hear some feedback from those who actually are able to find and try this much elusive delicacy. Do share your story in the comments below. 
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Laaphing – The Fiery Cold Tibetan Mystery : By Anuradha Gupta

As you walk inside the little Tibet in Delhi (Majnu ka Tila) you can’t help but notice these small tables where a lady/man is very meticulously almost in a Zen like state making some dish and people around are sitting in a equally calm state relishing it! 

As you move closer you see very neatly stacked yellow pancakes, some jugs with different colored liquid and orderly lined different salts. Everything is methodically arranged. You wonder is it Vegetarian, Noodles, Soup, Savory?

Laahing – Soupy version with gluten/soya granules

Meet Laaphing (Due to different accents, it can be spelled as Laphin, Lapin, Laping etc) – a super mysterious Tibetan street food you will find in our very own little Tibet (Majnu ka Tila) This dish is as much a mystery as this market is – very few people know about this insanely flavorful yet so simple dish, leave alone how many of them know what it is made of.

This is how their counter looks like
Residents of Majnu ka Tila savoring their share of Laaphin
They cut slices from this slab of starch
Soya Granules or Gluten. Not sure.
This is a cold starter/soup with slimy jelly like texture with burst of flavours. As you look at it in wonder what is this wobbly, squishy thing made of! 


Liang Fen as it is called in Sichuan Cuisine, it of two kinds: yellow and white. 

By the looks of it the the yellow laaphing is nothing but pancakes of starch, rolled with some gluten/soya, granulated salt, roasted chili paste, seasame oil, garlic paste and pinch of MSG in it and then chopped. But as they say looks can be deceiving, the exceptional amalgamation of such distinct flavors and the texture is simply mind blowing. It can be made using Potato, Mung Bean, Rice or Corn starch. 

That granulated salt, smokiness of red chili, the nuttiness of the sesame oil and the kick of garlic is nothing but an intoxicating blend of flavors. It is unlike anything in this world. And yes, while they are rolling the Laaphing {now I know why I love it so much – it is rolled ;)} but wonder is it the distant cousin of Gujju Khandvi.

Another version of Laaphing
You can have the soupy version of this, wherein they add some soy sauce, garlic water, rice vinegar and some more chili paste and trust me despite being cold noodle soup it warms up your soul and be careful with spice level, it can even make you sweat in this freezing cold. HELP The fairer version of laaphing seems to be made of the corn starch. Thick slippery slabs which resemble scallops topped with same spices minus the gluten. The white Laaphing is little more soft and melt in our mouth kinds.
Ready for take-away
Dry version of Laaphing
As you roam in the Tibetan market, you will find lots of people selling Laaphing but I love the guy who has a small shop opposite to the Rigo Restaurant. You can sit on small stools inside the shop, soak in the calm vibe and not help but get enchanted with reverberating Tibetan music! 

By the way this scrumptious and very exotic dish costs just Rs. 25. 

It cannot get more exciting than this, in a nondescript part of bustling Delhi – you can be transported to the super exotic, calm and very charming mini Tibet, MKT and get high on this International Sadakchaap glimmering beauty! 


Wriiten by Anuradha Gupta


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