Move over ‘Food-Truck’ – We have our own Food Cycles – Chhole Bhature in North Campus

Hudson Lines is a road dotted with numerous cafes – some of them Uber cool, some quirky and some plain commercial, all of whom along with chains and regular desi outlets are vying for the attention of the throbbing student populace living and studying in North Campus of Delhi University.
Chhole Bhature – The way they are served.
Amidst all the madness, there is this quiet cycle waala, standing outside the NDPL office and selling his wares. One look at him and my good food radar started beeping, and it beeped quite hard this time. Realized that this guy was selling Chhole Bhature, yup, good old chhole bhature in the land of mighty Chacha, Om, Rawalpindi and the likes. And surprisingly he had a crowd around him, a crowd which ensured that he was out of bhaturas at the time I reached and he was only able to offer me kulchas.
A look inside the Chhole Vessel
Drooling by the smell and sight I had to settled for the much humbler kulcha as I really wanted an insight into the Chhola that he was serving – because by the color, texture and smell – they seemed nothing less than amazing. And thankfully my feeling did not change once I started eating them – loaded with spices, however not going overboard, hot but just hot enough – these chholas instantly made me compare them to some of the best in the industry and for me it was a big deal for a guy selling from a bicycle. But then, I was still craving for them bhaturas.
Summer of 2014 was spent playing hide & seek with our guy, either I was there too early, or too late or on a day when he was not there. But advent of winters brought some luck for yours truly and he was able to grab those bhaturas couple of days back. Now let me warn you – these are not fresh made bhaturas which are fried on the spot, as we have come to know them, these are not soft, nor fluffy. These bhaturas are pre-made and are very thin. Before serving they are heated on a coal fired angeethi and served. It is a different school of bhaturas, the easiest examples I can sight are Sita Ram Dewan Chand from Paharganj and legendary Gole Hatti in Chandni Chowk as well as Patel Nagar.
Anyhow I eagerly got my plate served, for which I had to wait for 10-15 minutes as the guy takes his own sweet time serving and for Rs.20 a plate, this ended up being one of best Bhatura experiences I have ever had. The character that Coal fired angheeti adds to those bhaturas is something that is hard to explain.
Bhaturas being heated on coal fired Angeethi
And this the way these Bhaturas turn up, love that texture.
On Chhole he puts those beautifully spiced ginger julienne along with a chutney that is made sour from actual tamarind. In another dona he would give you some chopped onions, a piece of spiced potato and a pickled green chilly which goes so very well with the entire meal.
Chhole – ready to be served – notice the Ginger juliens and the Green Chutney with Tamarind.

 

what you get on the side – Potato, Green Chilli, Onions etc..
I would not recommend this place to everyone, however if you are someone who likes to eat bhaturas everywhere and can cherish the differences and contrasts without comparing it with the ‘Best’ you have ever had, then you MUST try this place out, you will not regret it for sure.
Entire show being manages from a simple Bicycle.

PS : And regarding the title – we are a country full of small time food vendors, on carts, cycles, foot or street – as romantic as the Food Truck sounds, lets not forget what we already have. Lets appreciate it, cherish it and like in this case savor it too.. 🙂

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Chache Di Hatti – Proud to be a Dilliwala

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Today I feel complete. Its only today that I have earned the right to call myself a Dilliwala or a Delhiite despite being born and brought up in this city, and despite having roots here for last 5-6 generations. Why ? Because I had not eaten Chhole Bhature of a certain Chacha (Uncle, for those not familiar with Hindi) from Kamla Nagar. Today I feel proud, as I have completed my ‘circle’ of trinity, whose last connection in form of Chache Di Hatti was missing. Today I can say that I have eaten Chhole Bhature at Sita Ram Dewan Chand, Baba Nagpal and Chache Di Hatti.

Fried Aloo on Chhole tastes quite good

I had always heard fantastic things about Chache Di Hatti at Kamla Nagar, however as someone who  did not study in Delhi University, or specifically in North Campus, I had never ever eaten there. However the things I heard about them, from people I have top most respect for, ensured that I always kept them on a pedestal.

There certainly are advantages of being at helm of things at FED, one of them being you can call Raids and visit the places that you always wanted to, and today was no different. Though not many people turned up, however 6 of us were still there, some familiar with the place and most of us not. But in the end we went home a very happy and satisfied bunch.

When I entered  the lane, my nose could smell something, and spotting the crowds in one of the by-lanes was not difficult. Seeing queues of patrons there made me happy rather than worried or irritated, as queuing up for something, makes you cherish it more, especially when there is no dearth of time and your sole agenda is to enjoy the food. Unfortunately I got a bit late, and couple of FEDs were already wrapping up, however this left Srishti Gupta, Prerna, Varun Santhosh and me to share and enjoy the goods, and enjoy we did.

Varun Santhosh
Srishti Gupta
Prerna Gupta

 The only problem with queues is, that you are never sure how much to order, as you do not want to queue up for second helpings, and what would be the right amount to order is a question that keeps cropping up. We started with ordering two plates of Saada (plain) and two plates of Aloo stuffed Bhaturas, with an extra helping of Chhole (had to queue up for 20-30 minutes, could have been longer if not for Srishti queuing for us in lady’s line).

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Queues, and this is Lady’s Line only 😛

Now finally we had some food on table, first bite of it in my mouth and I was a happy man. Chacha’s had lived up-to the legend, I started to gobble the chanas steadily, and after each bite, it was clear, that every word of praise ever written or said for Chacha’s was true. They were just out of the world, a bit on sour side, had just the right mix of spices, with ginger adding to the awesomeness. Though Bhaturas stuffed with Aloo (spiced up mashed potatoes) is something that you do not get at many places and it definitely is an USP for Chacha, however we all seemed to appreciate the plain ones more. And yes, we ended up having more Bhaturas after the first round, all washed down with the Nimbu Lemon from a stall next door.

Chacha’s Chhole Bhature, up, close and personal.

 

A very simple serving Chhole, Bhature, Onions and Green Chilly
Nimbu Lemon wala who helped us wash it all down

Now it was clear, that Nagpal, Sita Ram and Chacha cannot be compared, you just cannot choose between the three, all of them are epitome of Chholle Bhature, they are in a league of their own, and best examples of a food item, that literally defines Delhi. However a word of warning for whoever wants to visit these places or any other popular Bhature waala mentioned in this post, be there before 1 pm, after that chances are slim that you would be able to find them serving.

And yes, there are a few other super awesome Chhole Bhature Waalas, like Ramesh or Aaojee in Patel Nagar, Odeon Sweets in Gole Market, Radhe Shyam in Pahar Ganj, Om in Karol Bagh (Dev Nagar) however for me they are just a step and mind you ‘just a step’ below the Holy Trinity. And then comes a league of which most notable mentions are Anand in Krishna Market of Lajpat Nagar, Chhoti Hatti in West Patel Market, CL Corner, next to Fun Cinemas (erswhile Natraj) in Moti Nagar and a few others. And mind you, I recommend all of them, everyone would have a personal favorite, however I just told you my order of preference.

Talking about Chacha, I guess this is the first time I am putting a rating of 5/5, just go there and be proud of being a Delhiite…eerrr… Dilliwala !

Address : 
Chache Di Hatti
32, Bungalow Road, Behind Krori Mal College,
Kamla Nagar, New Delhi

Closed on Sundays, and be there before 1 pm.

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