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.

Food Enthusiasts of Delhi

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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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