Delhi 6 – Food Delivery Service – Rajeev Gulati’s Experience

Delhi 6 is a food delivery service – as per their Facebook page they claim to bring to your table the royal recipes of Mughals and homemade delicacies of Muslim families from the walled city. Rajeev Gulati shares his experience of the same in this post. Kindly visit their Facebook page for contact and other details. 

I had been hearing lot many reviews about food from Delhi-6 by Shibli Anisand was keen on tasting the same but was not getting an opportunity somehow. Thanks to our friend Vikrant Pawa Ji who invited me over a dinner with delicious food from Delhi-6. Here is my food experience as per individual dish :-
Shaami Kabab – Medium sized Shaami Kababs deep fried to perfection. It was a pleasant surprise to feel the strands of pure mutton in each bite instead of the Shaami made from excessive pounded mutton mixed with lot of Channa Daal usually available at most of new places. I could feel the taste of pure mutton with mild spices and less chilly. Very soft and very good.
Chicken Gola Kabab – These were much like Sootli Kababs but were made with chicken. Delicate Seekh Kababs made with very fine chicken mince (rather pounded) infused with cinnamon and green chilly paste. These were so delicate that had to be wrapped with a thread so that they do not fall off the skewers while cooking. The thread was removed before serving and the taste was great. The kababs were very tender. Green chilly taste was very evident and was complimenting the otherwise bland basic taste of chicken.
Hari Mirchi Keema – Actually it had whole Green & Red chilly along with black pepper corns…. So technically should well be called “Saari Mirchiyon Ka Keema”. I was too pleased to see hand pounded coarse mutton instead of the usually available machine made Keema which almost fails to give you a taste of mutton and tastes more like Soya granules. Presence of three types of chilly was giving a wholesome experience to my taste buds allover, at the tip, middle and end of my tongue. Keema was tender and had adequate pieces of Mutton Nalli (Shanks) added to it to give it the flavors released from bone. Perfect dish.
Fish Curry – I am not a fish curry eater and I prefer my fish to be fried or grilled or steamed but I can assure you that this was made flawlessly. Fish used was Singhara and it was a perfect balance of firmness and tenderness. Firm enough to stay the prices intact and tender enough to melt in mouth. It was cooked in korma style gravy and the spices were kept minimum to compliment the delicate taste of fish.
Shab Degh – This was the dish I was keenly looking for as I was eating it for the first time. It’s a secret art to make a Shab Degh and there not many people, who have the expertise to make it. It’s a korma style dish made of Mutton Kofta balls and medium sized whole Shalgam (Turnips) and it is cooked on DUM. The art is to cook it in such a way as to keep the mutton soft and at the same time to maintain the delicate Shalgam firm enough to retain it’s texture. The spices were kept to minimum to compliment the taste of main ingredients. I cannot compare this dish with any other place as I had it for the first time. Yet I was convinced with their art of cooking this delicate dish.
Mutton Biryani – Long rice grains with each grain separated, partially colored, and with added fragrances, delicate spices and Mutton pieces just rightly cooked. A perfect Biryani. However I expect a little more in the form of rich use of Saffron & Cardamom and lesser use of ghee. A perfect Biryani it was otherwise but still has scope for betterment. I would suggest them to make to varieties of Biryani as the one they are making right now and another more similar to the one served at Dumpukht which is called a Parda Biryani and has only Saffron used as color with very mild fragrant spices and almost no ghee at all. I like my Biryani to be lighter and milder with meat pieces more tender. But then again, that’s my personal choice and that does not takes away the credit of this dish, which was liked by all.
Sheermal, Ghee Chini Roti & Roomali Roti – All three types of breads were made to perfection and I was so very full by this time that I could only taste a piece from all three.
Written by Rajeev Gulati

Halwa-Nagori-Subzi – An Old Delhi Speciality

When I was a kid, we used to often hear about Nagori Halwa, infact my mom and nani used to make them at home too. But then modern life took its toll and such food got label of un-healthy and the fact that it was tough and time consuming dish to make for breakfast, ensured that it has not been made in my home for decades now. Besides that its a dish that is not available round the corner, which means its something you really have to make a trek to a certain part of Delhi to savor it, that too early in the morning. And I am sure not many would be surprised that its only available in lanes on Walled City, OId Delhi or our very own Purani Dilli, whatever name you prefer to call DIlli-6 by.. 😉

To start of, what is Halwa Nagori? I am sure we all understand Halwa. Its suji (semolina) roatsed in Ghee with loads of sugar. Every Indian in any part of world would know about this one. Coming to Nagori, well to simplify the matters, lets call it a cross between a Suji ka Golgappa and a maide ki poori.

Halwa Nagori at Mahalakshmi Mishthaan Bhandar, Chandni Chowk

Confused? Well, its a bit larger than the Gol Gappa / Pani Puri, however is smaller than the puri as we know it. I guess it is made of Suji and Maida mixed with ghee, deep fried and is crispy, but not as crispy as a Gol gappa, but much crispier than your normal poori. Now you get it why I call it a cross?? 😛

Anyhow, keeping my limited writing skills in mind, I will end the description here and would hope that you would go savor the delicacy yourself and find your own explaination. Nagori is served with some Halwa and Subzi. Subzi can be a mix of Aloo and Chhole, in any proportion.

In Old Delhi I have tried this has 3-4 places – Shyam Sweets on Barshabulla Chowk, Shiv Mishthan Bhandaar in Chandni Chowk, A random street vendor in bylanes and the one I have loved the most : Mahalakshmi Mishtaan Bhandar near Fatefpuri Masjid in Chandni Chowk. That said it can be found at various small outlets all across the walled city, saw a few at Lal Kuan as well.
Halwa Nagori at Shyam Seets, Barshabulla Chowk, Chawri Bazaaar
Today was my third visit to Mahalakshi Mishthaan, today I managed to reach at 6:50 am and thus got my fill of those gorgeous Nagoris and an awesome bedmi too. However on one visit I got there at 8:45 am, they were out of stock already and then next time I was there at 8:00 am, and at that time managed to get hold of couple of pieces only. They start making it by 6:30 am, and I would really call it a redline beyond 8am. Though people have found them till 9 am as well.. 😛

Mahalakshmi makes the Desi Ghee version of it, you get 5 Nagoris, a bit of Halwa and some Subzi in Rs.40 and I feel that this would be the most expensive version too. The first bite early in the morning and it feels that some lubrication has been added to your parched and rusty soul, you can feel the desi ghee doing its magic and taking your sins away. Afterall it is not considered like amrit or Elixir in Ayurveda for nothing. The Halwa’s portion is too little for me, however you can always pay extra and get more Halwa for yourself.  
One of the random stalls selling Nagori amongst other goodies in Dariba Kalan
Besides that I have also enjoyed eating them at Shiv Mishthaan Bhandaar and couple of other hawkers on the street. The ones that I have had Shyam Sweets were too dry for me and just did not work for me. Though I like is Bedmi and Kachori a lot.

I have seen them being sold at few other places too, however I am sure there are lot of versions being sold which are made in vanaspati or vegetable ghee.

You can google for Mahalakshmi / Shiv / Shyam for exact addresses.

PS : Not sure about its origin, however it seems to be very Delhi delicacy and primarily a Baniya food item.

Updated – 16/03/2016 – here is another one I found at Ram Swarup Halwai in Sita Ram Bazaar, its worth taking a note. 

What to eat in Chandni Chowk?

This post is part of What to eat in Walled City OR Old Delhi? series. Chandni Chowk starts from Jain Temple towards the Red Fort and extends till Fatehpuri Masjid on the other end. The entire stretch would be approximately 2km and is dotted with legend after the Legend. There are  outlets in these areas which are institutions and have been around for more than couple of centuries (yes.. CENTURIES) and then there are tourist traps, mediocre food sellers (still better than New Delhi food :P) and McDonald’s.

1. Natraj Dahi Bhalle – One of the most popular and talked about outlet selling Bhalle and Tikki from a corner shop. I have eaten here a couple of times, never really enjoyed the food, but then people around me have gone gaga about it. So better make your own call.

Old Delhi curd based chaat
Natraj ke Dahi Bhalle in Chandni Chowk

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2. Old Famous Jalebi – Have heard lot of mixed reviews about this one, generally bordering on the negative side, however when I ate their jalebis for the first time,a few weeks back, I ended up loving it. Most of the people look for ‘thin’ jalebis as that is their perception of good jalebi and they think if its thick, it’s bad. However it’s an art to make a good jalebi which is thick and according to me, this guy is a master of it. I did taste some Khoya / Paneer in his jalebi for sure. Crisp on the outside, its juicy and succulent on the inside. Just a warning – They come across as arrogant in their behavior, but then I don’t give a damn.

Sweet Indian Delicacy in Old Delhi
Thick, Juicy & Crispy Jalebis from Old & Famous in Chandni Chowk

3. Gali Paranthe Waali – Skip it! it’s a sham, it’s a tourist trap. It’s a black spot on Dilli ke paranthe. The paranthas that they make, are nothing like paranthas are supposed to be or are in our homes or anywhere else. You can go there to try the food item on offer, but then it’s not really delicious and it’s not really Parantha. However in the same street you will get some awesome Nan Khatai being baked on a cart, do try that , plus there are couple of shops selling decent Khurchan, Rabri and Milkcake.

Different Vegetable & Spice Mixes to be filled in the Parantha
Choice of stuffing available for the Parantha.
Dips, sauces and condiments at Gali Paranthe Wali
Aloo Subzi, Kaddu Subzi, Kele waali Meethi Chutney & green Chutney are served with Paranthas
This is how it looks like.
One of the Paranthas at Gali Paranthe Wali
They bake it right on the streets, as fresh as it can get.
Baking fresh Nan khatai at Gali Paranthe Wali
They bake it right on the streets, as fresh as it can get.
Must try these Nan Khatais  at Gali Paranthe Wali

4. Ghante Waala, Annapurna, KunwarJi – Sweet shops that I have heard a lot about, but never got around to trying. But you might want to try or do your own research.

5. Dogra Snack, Outside Gandhi Maidan Parking, PhatPhat Service’s stand – Now this is bit off the trail, but this guy sells some of the yummiest Ram Ladoos (Dal ki pakodi), Bread Pakode and other things like Karele ke pakode (Yes! pakoda made out of Bitter Gourd). Must try.

Dipped in batter and deep fried.. still Bitter gourd
Karela or Bitter Gourd Pakoda at Dogra
You would need those for karela pakodas for sure.
Chutneys and other condiments at Dogra
Dipped in batter and deep fried.. still Bitter gourd
Ram Laddoo at Dogra
Dipped in batter and deep fried.. still Bitter gourd
Bread Pakore at Dogra

6. Haldiram’s / Wahi Ji Wah / McDonald’s – Ignore, unless you want the chain effect.. 😛

7. Ved Prakash Lemon Waale, Near Town Hall – If you are a firang (foreigner :P) you might want to avoid this due to the ice used, or else this is one of the most refreshing  and popular drinks you can have in Indian Summer.

Lemon Soda at Ved Prakash Lemon Waale

8. Shiv Mishthan Bhandar – I have been there once, went there for Halwa Nagori, ended up having Puri, Chhole Bhature and couple of other things. One of the few places where you can savor Halwa-Nagori-Subzi. Plus I have been told that they are well known for their Jalebis as well, you might want to try them out.

Halwa Nagori and Subzi at Shiv Misthan Bhandar
9. Adarsh Bhojanalaya – This one is just off the main lane, in an alley towards your left. It’s more like a dining hall and they only serve a thali (Set Meal, Unlimited portions). The food is sattvik in nature and given the nature of the food is super clean and hygienic. For anyone who has been born and brought up in North India this would come across as the food from their home, however if you are a firang or someone not familiar with routine North Indian food and what to see how and what we eat at home, this is a perfect place to visit.
Thali at Adarsh Bhojanalya

10. Amritsari Lassi Corner – I am not a big sweet lassi fan, though it can be very healthy, still its filling, its full of calories and it puts me to sleep. However I never skip a chance to savor and enjoy an occasional good one. Have tried their basic sweet lassi (I do not believe in flavors) and it’s amongst the better one you can get in Delhi. As they do in Amritsar, these guys put a dollop of butter on your lassi too and then put a spoon on top to show how thick the lassi is as the spoon does not drown in the lassi. Must try if you are a Lassi fan or have never tried it.

Notice how the spoon is affloat on the lassi, though spoon is a super light, but still a cool gimmick.

11. Chaina Ram Sindhi Halwai – Now this location is legendary, bang on the T-Point, in the premises of Fateh Puri Mosque. Besides the location, they have managed to survive 2 centuries (Yup! you read it right). This place is an institution in itself and is a hot favorite for its sweets and other delicacies amongst the discerning audience of Walled city area. The most revered delicacy for me being Karachi Halwa, which they do like none other. I have also enjoyed his Poori-Chhole at breakfast and Paneer pakoda as a snack. Besides that I have savored their Ghevar, Gujiya, burfi etc. – each one manages to impress me.

Different versions of Karachi Halwa at Chaina Ram
Karachi Halwa at Chaina Ram
Paneer Pakoda at Chaina Ram
Paneer Pakoda at Chaina Ram
Suji Halwa at Chaina Ram
Breakfast of Puri Chhole at Chaina Ram
12. Gole Hatti – Right at the entry of khari baoli, it’s an outlet that I have been keen on visiting for couple of years, however got around to doing so few days back. I was expecting them to be serving stuffed Naans, like New Gole Hatti in Patel Nagar (run by same family). However here they have a very limited menu, serving Chhole Bhature, Chhole Kulche, Veg. Pulao, Chhole-Chawal-Palak, Dahi-Bhalle and Ras-Malai. It’s a super old school outlet, must try if you are in the area. Chhole-Palak-Chawal being the highlight for me. If you are a Delhi-hite you might not appreciate their style of serving Chhole Bhature, however I would still ask you to try them, just consider it a different style of having them, which it actually is (from Amritsar and beyond maybe).
Chhole Kulche and Chhole Bhature at Gol Hatti
Chhole Palak Chawal at Gol Hatti
They serve in a Kullad, adds lot of Character.
Chhole Palak Chawal at Gol Hatti
Dahi Bhalle at Gol Hatti

14. Giani Faluda – Another Super legend from the area, best known for its Rabri-Faluda and Dal-Halwa (only in winters, amongst best in New/Old Delhi). I cannot write anything about them which has not already been written. Must try as per me too.

Rabri Faluda at Giani’s
Rabri at at Giani’s
Gajar ka Halwa at at Giani’s

14. Kake-da-Dhaba – Better known for its naans, it sure is very popular in the area. During my couple of visits, I have enjoyed their stuffed naans and paranthas, however have been indifferent to their subzis and main dishes. If I were to recommend something, I would say order Dhurandar or Dhuandhaar Naan (confused between the actual name, however it has been named such as its stuffing is super fiery… :P) and Dal Makhani.

Dal Makhani at Kake-di-Hatti
Naan being served at at Kake-di-Hatti
A full Naan at Kake-di-Hatti
15. Mahalakshmi Sweets – Have only visited them twice, both times hunting for Halwa Nagori which is a breakfast item. Was not able to eat the Halwa Nagori, the first time round, Why? – Because we got there at 9 AM on a winter morning and they were already finished for the day. Then went there again couple of weeks later and just barely managed to get my hands on a few of those Nagoris at 8:30 AM. Was it worth it? HELL YEAH! The best I have ever had.
16. Inderpuri Dhaba – Have been there once, did not like anything that they served, however the day we visited them was a bad day and this place was a compromise for us. However some of my friends have recommended this place for their Dal Makhani. Just saying.
This brings us to the end of this list and just to remind you guys, this is neither comprehensive nor complete, this is just a list of places I have eaten at. There is this Samose waala, this fruit-cream waala, this paranthe waale, that Pulao waala that I am yet to checkout in the area. Plus random Chaat guys, Kanji Vada guys which have also satisfied my taste buds over the years. I hope I can eat and add more info into this post in times to come.
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PS : If you found this post helpful in your explorations, do come back and leave a comment.. 🙂
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FoodWalk in Chandni Chowk – Photolog

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We have been to Chandni Chowk for FED FoodWalks on several occasions, however this time we decided to go touristy and check out the most usual suspects. Being a Sunday we did miss out on couple of hot joints, however it was a pleasure to be walking on relatively empty and calm streets.

As I got down from the metro station, I got a call from Honey, my cousin from walled city, telling me to ensure that we check out Dogra ke Ram Ladoo. It took us some time to find him, however this small outlet located outside Gandhi Maidan parking was definitely worth it.  Lookout for it near Fawara Chowk, where all the Phatphat sewa jeeps are parked. 
Ram Ladoos with grated mooli, purple carrots (from a Kanji) and two types of Chutney
Fresh Ram Ladoos being fried
Bread Pakoras ready to be served

Besides the regular fare which was super awesome couple of things really stood out. All of us know about the Kaanji that our moms make. Dogra serve purple carrots with his Ladoos and Pakodas, which have been ‘pickled’ in Kaanji. He made us sample some of his Kaanji too, which was delicious to say the least. And then there was Karele ka Pakoda. Yup, you read it right. A bitter gourd, stuffed with spices, dipped in the batter of moong daal and fried like a pakoda. You might not be a fan of Karela, however this is something you should try atleast onces. Bizzare Food it is.
Pakoda made out of Karela
The Inside View

After Dogra we headed towards Ghantewala, however to our disappointment they are closed on Sundays. What we did next was something I did not imagine myself doing. I entered Gali Paranthe Wali. I would not go into the reasons why I am not a big fan of Gali Paranthe Wali but I have never really enjoyed the food they serve there. As far as my knowledge goes, all Parantha Shops downed shutters but for Pandit Dayanand Shiv Charan. All the shops that are currently operating after the revival of the gali are not from the original era but are said to be of the same family. We dined at Pandit Dayanand Shiv Charan’s shop and as I was there with no expectations I was not disappointed. I quite enjoyed the chutneys they served. Being a lover of Paneer I also liked the Paneer Roll that they serve, though it does taste like paneer pakoda. Going there was not really unfruitful, because there on a cart I found some of the freshest and best Nan Khatais that I have ever had. Post Paranthas we sampled some Khurchan and Kalakand from the shop opposite Pandit Dayanand Shiv Charan’s shop, which was quite average.
Nan Khatais being baked right on the cart.
Fresh and Hot Nan Khatais
Different fillings or stuffing for Paranthas in Paranthewali Gali
A Thali with Green Chutney, Sweet banana Chutney, Pumpkin Subzi, Potato Subzi, Pickle etc
Mewa (Dry Fruit) Parantha

I have never been a fan of Natraj ke Dhai Bhalle, however since we were doing ‘touristy’ things, I thought of giving them another try. And I can still pass them.

Natraj ke Dhai Bhalle

Next came Ved Prakash ji ka lemon Soda and then Lassi from Amritsari Corner at Fatehpuri Masjid Chowk. Unfortunately we were not able to have the Puri Chhole at Meghraj as being a Sunday he finished off at 12 o clock itself, while on weekdays he serves till 2 pm. On being suggested that he should make extra provisions for Sunday, I was told that they make 3 times extra provision, but still run out of it before time. Result of the said conversation is that I cannot wait to get back to Meghraj for an exclusive Chhole Puri Breakfast session.

Thickness of Lassi is demonstrated by spoon which is not going in and is actually resting on Lassi

Chaina Ram is a name for which I have tremendous respect for. Sweets from Bikanerwaala and Haldiram’s have now started to feel industrial, however a bite into Chaina Ram’s sweets and you can feel the art that went into it. We tried three different types of Karachi Halwa there, Cham Cham and couple of other delicacies.

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Karachi Halwa
Karachi Halwa
Karachi Halwa
Three different types of Karachi Halwa
Cham Cham and other sweets at Chaina Ram

Being a fan of Gole Hatti in Patel Nagar, I have always wanted to try the one near Fateh Puri Masjid in Chandni Chowk, but again as luck would have it, being a Sunday they were closed. Though Kake Di Hatti was not in my mind that day, however somehow we still landed there and as usual, they managed to impress us.

Boondi Raita, Dal Makhani and Chhole at Kake Di Hatti
Stuffed Naan at Kake Di Hatti

Various stuffing that into the Naans
An ‘average naan’ at Kake Di Hatti

And how can be a visit to Kake be complete without a stop at the neighboring Giani’s. Tried there Rose Shake, Pineapple Shake for the first time and can very well say that it was the last time as well. Though shakes are not Giani’s strong point, however they certainly do the BEST Rabri Faluda and Moong Dal Halwa in entire city of Delhi. Their Gajar ka Halwa is also not to be missed at any cost.

Rabri at Giani’s
Rabri Faluda waiting to be served
Gajar ka Halwa

One would think that after so much food, we would call it a day. Infact couple of members did call it a day. However rest of us got into rickshaws and embarked on a long ride to Kucha Pati Ram, Sita Ram Bazaar. Most of you would have guessed what was attracting us there, however instead of our usual Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale we decided to try offerings from Duli Chand Naresh Gupta Kulfi Wala. Though they were pretty good, but I like Kuremal better and ended up there after sampling some treats from Duli Chand Naresh Gupta Kulfi Wala.

Riding through the busy lanes
Riding through the busy lanes
Anar (Pomegranate) Kulfi at Duli Chand Naresh Gupta
Orange stuffed with Rabri Kulfi at Duli Chand Naresh Gupta
One half of Orange stuffed with Kulfi at Duli Chand Naresh Gupta

Pan Kulfi at Duli Chand Naresh Gupta

The following pictures from Kuremal have been shot on my earlier visits to their outlet.

Jamun Kulfi at Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale
Fruit Cream Kulfi at Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale
Aam Panna Kulfi at Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale
One Half of Stuffed Mango Kulfi at Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale
Mango Stuffedwith Kulfi at Kuremal Mohanlal Kulfiwale

Post Kuremal, while walking back towards Chawri Bazaar metro station, couple of Chhole Kulchewalas caught attention in Sita Ram Bazaar. And being the ones who do not believe in holding back the temptations, we tried one of them, who turned out be quite okay, nothing great. And then being a Sunday, Veg Kathi Kebabs were being served in Chawri Bazaar with hot Rumali Rotis, how could have we resisted them.

Chhole Kulche at Sita Ram Bazaar
Veg Kathi Kebabs at Chawri Bazaar

Though we also wanted to go to Bade Mian and Standard Sweets (for Chai) however former was closed due to some reason and latter was closed for cleaning at that hour. It was sort of a food marathon, or rather a Hogathon that took place on that day, 4.5 hours of pure eating.  But as usual, cannot wait to embark on the next one.

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Kake Di Hatti & Giani ka Faluda – A Combo for Ages

A mere mention of name Chandni Chowk in a discussion about food, throws up a long string of names, names of galis, kuchas, joints, eateries etc. Besides some of the equally legendary names, Kake Di Hatti always pops up. I am not much familiar with Fateh Puri Area, except for 2-3 times I have been there in last year or so, however as luck would have it, was never able to visit Kake Di Hatti. And surprisingly, despite such a big name, an average Delhite knows very little about it and its more surprising how little information internet has about it. 

Kake Di Hatti 
After visiting diners for two weeks, the popular demand for next outing was for something Desi, and it had been a while that we visited the walled city. So we decided that it is a good opportunity to sample the goodies offered by Kake Di Hatti, and this Saturday evening, around 17 of us landed at his doorstep. There was a huge crowd of customers at the entrance, most of them for getting the food packed and hardly and seating space visible, however we were guided to first floor. To get there you have to climb some stairs, which also serves as a stockyard for Potatoes and LPG Cylinders amongst other things. The first floor turned out to be quite pleasant, with couple of air conditioners trying very hard to keep things under control, and given the conditions, were doing a half decent job as well. The bare minimal furnishing comprised of highway style wooden table and benches, comfortable… who gives a damn. We were there for a reason and wanted to settle down and start hogging ASAP, few tables were rearranged, stools and benches pulled from here, pushed there, and we were all set.

Riding the Rickshaw, through a glorious looking Chandi Chowk
Fateh Puri Masjid
FEDs, All Set to HOG
A look at the menu, and my mouth was wide open, the prices were unbelievably cheap. Looking at what was being served at other tables, portions seemed to be huge, for a moment I was wondering how can they serve such huge portions of such awesome looking food for this price. But waiter confirmed that what we were seeing on other tables was the actual portion size. 

at the Tandoor
Stuffed naan
Naan – The Actual Size

We started slow, ordering 7 naans (1 naan has reputation of feeding 2 people), couple of Dal Makhanis and Kadhai Paneers. The menu had several varieties of Naan, however what caught our attention first was one that went by ‘Dhuandhaar’ naan, the name itself suggested something that would set things on fire and it did not disappoint. A clear favorite of FEDs, was able to impress one and all, except the ones who were not too comfortable with Chilies. Besides that, Paneer Naan, Aloo Naan, Pyaz Naan, Gobhi Naan, Mix Naan, Mutter Naan are a few that I can recall ordering and having. By the way, all their naans have a base stuffing on Aloo and everything else is added with the base of Aloo only. 

Kadahi Paneer

Dal Makhani

Dal was simply amazing, the way Dal makhani is supposed to be. Shahi Paneer, Kadhai paneer were favorites however we did not enjoy their Mutter Paneer or Malai Kofta (but they were ordered towards the end of the session, so half the Junta was already full). The food was what you would expect from a Punjabi Dhaba of highest standards, portions were extremely generous and service acceptable. At the end of it, we ended up having 15-20 Naans, 4-5 Dal Makhani, 4-5 Shahi Paneer, 3 Kadhahi Paneers, Malai Kofta, Mutter Paneer and Palak Paneer. And the bill really took us by surprise, Rs.1868 in total. 

Chandni Chowk, during rains
Giani Di Hatti

Rabri being added by the measure
Ready to be served

This is how we do it, the crowd you see, everyone if from FED
We stepped out of Kake Di Hatti to a rain soaked, glorious looking Chandni Chowk. And set our sights next door, to Gianni Di Hatti for Rabri Faluda. I have had it before once, and was quite disapponited by it, didn’t find anything special in it and was too sweet for my taste. However this visit was totally different, I planned to have a few spoonfuls only, however couple of mouthfuls later, wanted the entire glass to myself, and so did everyone else. Though I am not a big fan of faludas, however after having had it at Giani’s that day, I am going back for more. 

Stuffed like a Naan
If you care for bit of history, Kake Di Hatti was started in 1940, and is handled by the 4th generation now. As the newspaper article framed and gathering dust in the eatery tells us, current owner is a graduate from Sri Ram College of Commerce and Post Graduate from Delhi School of Economics. Must admit, pretty solid qualification for selling those legendary Naans.

PS : Pics courtesy Harjeev Singh Chadha and Nikhil Garg.

Food walk in Old Delhi – Discovering some Legends

I think I have stated this earlier, despite all the chaos, noise, crowds and everything that is wrong about Old Delhi, it never fails to fascinate me. I go there several times a year, for various reasons, but I always end up looking like a kid who has come to Disneyland (rather Appu ghar for us Dilliwalas) for the first time. Somehow I am able to find my spot, right in the middle of that chaos and I feel like I belong there.
Coming to food, I find lot of stuff in Chandni Chowk area to be overrated, and unfortunately most of us are only aware about the much talked about joints, for eg. Natraj Dahi Bhalle or Paranthewali Gali or  Kaka or Giani. Well, some of them joints are perfectly all right, however we were more keen on life beyond them, on tasting from the unknown and finding our own gem. And this was an aimless walk, without any specific ‘agenda’ in mind, guided by our nose and ears.
As we assembled outside gate no. 5 of Chandni Chowk metro station, we could not help but spot a fruit that most of us had never seen before. Well, my introduction to it was only a couple of days back, and I knew it was called Khirni. Its easy for me to try and equate its taste with many other fruits available, however I would not do that. Lets say that its a fruit, with its own flavor, and is quite delightful to eat in this summer heat. I have been told that this comes from Gujarat and is quite popular there.

Gol Gappas we never had.
Khirni, not easy to find.

We all know how bad Delhi summers are, and as we started to walk towards Khari Baoli, we passed Pundit Vedprakash Lemon wale at Ghantaghar, and suddenly a temptation to moisten our parched throats arose, and at FED, we love to give in to temptations.Now what is so special about Pundit Vedprakash, that makes him so popular? What differentiates one Lemon or Nimbu Lemon or Banta from another? Its the masala that goes into it. Most popular Lemon and Shikanji vendors have their own secret recipes for the masala, and Pundit Vedprakash is no different, i.e. his special masala makes him special.

Pundit Vedprakah Lemon Wale

We decided to give rest of Chandni Chowk a skip, and briskly walked towards Khari Baoli, where Hemanshu’s (from EOiD) friend shared with us his knowledge about the spice and dry fruit business in that part of city. Talking about Khari Baoli, it is not an easy place to be, especially if you have a sensitive nose. Passing through, there is a constant buildup to a sneeze, which takes its own sweet time coming through. There are certain points where the smell of spices is so strong that you cannot stand there for more than a few seconds, and in those few seconds you would have sneezed several times.

Various Dry Fruits on Sale in Khari Baoli

Post the ‘knowledge session’, some members went to Fatehpuri Masjid to get a birds eye view of that part of the city, however more dedicated foodies like me stayed back and decided to gorge chaats from an unnamed and unknown khomcha. We started off with Gol Gappas, then moved on to Kalmi Vada Chaat and Kachori Chaat, all washed down with Thandai from the neighboring peddler (without the negative connotations ofcourse). Now this is Dilli 6, so even average chaat of the area would be better than or at par with the finer stuff we get elsewhere in the city, or if I may say, anywhere else in the world. At this point, it is important to mention that most of people were surprised to see kachoris being served in Chaat form, and they had never heard of Kalmi Vada or kachalu before in their life. So don’t worry, you are not alone.

The Unknown Chaat wala khomcha

From there we entered a street, which would lead us to Naya Baans, while on that street, we sampled Mutter Kachori of what looked like a sweet shop, and was either named Thakur or Thakuran, then Hing Kachori with Aloo subzi from a khomcha in the same street. Mutter Kachoris were served with mithi chutney and were quite awesome, I also liked the taste of Hing Kachori, but subzi served with it left a bit to be desired. However if I am in the area, I am definitely going to give it another shot. At Naya Baans, we again had a kachori from a different vendor, whose subzi was much better than the first one, however I have had lot better stuff in walled city.

From there, we headed straight to Lal Kuan, and landed near Hamdard Dawa Khana. Being a vegetarian I had no clue that it was the corner of Master Skewer, the beef Kebab maker Ustad Moinuddin. I knew it had to be something special, what with that glitter in Hemanshu’s eyes, his ears refused to hear and when they heard something, his head refused to turn, and when his head turned, he was not able to speak, what with all the drool he had in anticipation of the Kebabs. ‘Ustad’ is an informal honorary social title, reserved for the finest artisans and musicians. And when that title is bestowed on a Kebab waala, I can only imagine what kind of magic he weaves with this culinary skills.

Anyhow, while the non vegetarians were busy with Kebabs, we satisfied ourselves with Stick Kulfi sold on the otherside of the street. Not the best I had, however at Rs.5 a pop, very good value for money.

Kulfi wala at Lal Kuan

Our little group of vegetarians, decided to walk further down the Lal Kuan bazaar, towards Hauz Qazi, trying to spot whatever vegetarian we can find. However at that hour, there was not even a single joint in the bazaar, which even resembled to serve anything vegetarian. Then I spotted a small nondescript looking shop, which was selling kheer, an elderly gentleman was at helm of things. Having had Kulfi a few minutes back, I was not in mood for more ‘dessert’ and wanted something spicy/tangy for my taste-buds. However I decided to ask others if they were keen, and too my surprise no one refused.

Now this was a small shop opposite Badal Beg Mosque, with no customers and nothing interesting at first glance, we decided to start with one helping of Kheer for Rs.20. As the first morsel went into my mouth, I knew I had stumbled on something great. It was not our usual kheer, it was very thick in consistency, rich and had a brown layer on it, which seemed be the caramel color of thickened milk. We ordered few more helpings and I could not stop but notice the grace and tehzeeb of the elderly ‘Mian’ ji serving us. Exchanged a couple of words with him on Urdu and Lucknow, while we savored every spoonful of his kheer. And Reena, our American friend in the group, tried to pronounce a name with ‘B’, who she said was a very famous Kheer wala, unfortunately no one in the group had any clue about it. Soon we moved on, and a couple of calls to other members of the group were made to coordinate, and that is when we realised that Mian ji serving us were actually Bade Mian, a man whose name commands respect in foodie circles, who is loved by locals and visitors alike.

Bade Mian, with his Kheer

Post Bade Mian, we moved on to Hauz Qazi, which opened a sea of options for vegetarians, as Chawri Bazaar and Sita Ram Bazaar, have traditionally been populated by trader class (baniyas) and hence are predominantly vegetarian. We skipped both Ashok’s (Chaat Corners) and slipped into the Chawri Bazaar. Stopping at the first joint we came across, we sampled Dal Cheela or Chilla, Aloo Tikki and Rabri Falooda, everything was strictly OK for walled city, however would have been good outside it.

Aloo Tikki

Bhaaji of Pao bhaaji, which we skipped.

Dal Cheela or Chilla
Making Aloo Tikkis

 Then we entered Sita Ram Bazaar for what would be our final stop for the evening. And what a finale it was !  Kuremal Kulfi came into the picture with Jamun Kulfi as a show stopper, followed by pomegranate, falsa, mango, kesar pista, fruit cream and several other varieties of delightful kulfi. Kuremal needs no introduction for people who follow and are passionate about food in Delhi. Kuremal’s name is nothing short of a legend now. His shop is based out of Kucha Pati Ram, in Sitaram Bazaar, and attracts absolutely no attention. We were told that most of his business was through major hotels, where he supplied Kulfis, however were we delighted to sample his summer delights ! I can continue raving about how good they were, however Kuremal, along with other legends in this post, deserve their independent space on FED blog.

Shani Dev doing duty in Kucha Pati Ram.

The Show Stopper – Delightful Jamun Kulfi

There are no conclusions to this post, all I can say is that I would be soon headed back, for more adevntures, for the fun of exploring the unknown and stumbling on legends like Ustad Moinuddin, Bade Mian and Kuremal. The Walled City has many Aces up its sleeves, and the treasure chest has just started to open up.

Visit to Lotan Kulchewala – a photolog

Me and Rohan Kaikini visited walled city this Sunday morning. Wanted to make a detailed post on it, however for now posting some pictures from the visit. The prime ‘target’ was Lotan Kulchewaala, and we were not disappointed at all. He has an unique style of making chhole which I have not seen anywhere else till now. Just a tip, if you like your food to hot (Chilly Hot), then ask him to keep in normal or else ask him to keep the spices low 😉

The version with normal Masala, extra Khatai and oodles of butter.
Crowd at Lotan Kulchewala at 8:30 AM.
This is supposed to be a very slow day for his business.
Deepak preparing the Chhole, adding ‘Masala’ and Khatai
And Deepak decides to play showman, doing tricks with ubiquitous potato.
Here you go..

The more mundane version, normal masala and khatai.
well, all I can say is slurrrrpppp.. !

Now after couple of plates of mouthwatering stuff, we wanted to have more, however going to area and not paying out respects at Shyam sweets would have been sacrilege, so we decided to bid adieu to Lotan and headed towards Shyam Sweets

Patrons enjoying goodies at Shyam sweets
Bedmi with Aloo Subzi, there are not many places that serve these.
And it does not get more ‘exotic’ than this, Halwa Nagouri, in a league of its own.

Directions : Shyam Sweets is right at Barshah bullah Chowk (Intersection of Chawri Bazaar and Shyam Sweets).

For Lotan – Go to Barsha Bullah Chowk and ask for Lotan, almost everyone would know about him. More precisely, he is in Chhatta Shah ji.

Timings : 7:30 AM to 10 AM

After that you can find him between 11 AM to 1 pm behind commercial school on Darya Ganj.

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