Plunged into 2014 with two lovely sweet dishes which make its seasonal appearance on the streets and sweet shops of Old Delhi.
For all those who have a sweet tooth, here’s presenting to you Daulat ki Chaat – a seasonal delight available in the winter months. Why seasonal? Because it is prepared from foam of cold, churned milk and it will not able to able to tolerate the heat of blazingly hot Delhi. As you make your way from Chawri Bazaar Metro Station, take Gate no 3 (Hauz Qazi Chowk) and you will see carts ferrying Daulat ki Chaat along the road leading to Kinari Bazaar, Parathewale Galli.
Rahul Verma in his article “A Delicate Delight of Winter” (The Hindu, 17 Deb 2013) aptly describes this dessert as a delicate delight. Who would think that you can prepare a dessert from the foam of the milk? As you take a spoonful of the dessert you are supposed to feel the taste of saffron flavour, because of the saffron flavoured milk that is added to the foam of milk resembling heaps of cotton balls neatly placed against each other. As you order a plate, the hawkers get your plate ready with the scoop of foamed milk, lightly flavoured with saffron and topped with powdered sugar called karara. Finally it is finished with a generous doze of crumbled khoa. The “delicate- delight” of Daulat ki Chaat is available in the winter months. If Daulat ki Chaat is Old Delhi’s “delicate-delight” then Haabsi Halwa is the rich –delight to satiate your sweet –tooth available in sweet shops from October – March.
Thanks to Sumbul ( a fellow foodie), I got my first taste of Haabsi Halwa from Sheereen Bhawan sweet shop in Matia Mahal. The black colour of the halwa owes to eight hours of boiling the milk. The richness comes from dollops of ghee (clarified butter) which makes the nuts (almonds, pistachios and cashew) moist. The faint heat of Haabsi Halwa comes from a generous addition of cloves which also adds to the colour according the salesperson of Sheereen Bhawan. Haabsi Halwa also works as an aphrodisiac for men. The Delhiwalla (a wonderful blog on Delhi) in their post on haabsi halwa mentions “Said to heat up the body, habshi halwa is recommended for men wanting to increase their stamina in love-making.”1 The Delhiwalla recommends to eat haabsi halwa at Haneef Doodhwala. I am looking forward to try out haabsi halwa at the recommended place.
If you have a sweet –tooth like mine, trek down to Old Delhi’s lanes to taste the delicate and rich sweet delights of winter. Beat the chill with a plate of daulat ki chaat and haabsi halwa from Old- Delhi’s sweet shops and by-lanes.
1 See the post on Haabsi Halwa by The Delhiwalla ( http://www.thedelhiwalla.com/2011/12/08/city-food-habshi-halwa-ballimaran/)
P.S. To new beginnings and sweet- encounters. Wishing all itiriti readers a sumptuous 2014.