Sweet Notes from Old Delhi

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.

Daulat ki chaat

Daulat ki chaat

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.

Up, close and personal with Haabsi Halwa

Up, close and personal with Haabsi Halwa

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.

Notes

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.

©itiriti

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Unwinding with litti, taas kebab and more @ Street Food Festival organised by NASVI

Do you want to unwind a busy day with piping hot crab curry with steamed rice in a chilly winter evening in Delhi without leaving a hole in your pocket? If you like to savour street food and looking for some delectable items from across India head to National Association of Street Vendors of India’s (NASVI) Street Food Festival which has opened yesterday in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Premises.

NASVI has been championing the rights of street food vendors and has been instrumental in campaigning for the Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 which was recently passed in parliament.  (http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/a-historic-day-for-street-vendors/article5103508.ece) NASVI has been instrumental in bringing to the capital’s food lovers street food across India for the second consecutive year. The street food festival has brought together street foods from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Punjab and Rajasthan for a three day extravaganza – a treat to city’s food lovers.

Last afternoon J, C, M and I trekked down to the street food festival.  We started our food trail with ghee pulao and chicken curry from the Kerala stall. The long grains of rice coated with ghee and the tender succulent chicken cooked neatly wrapped with spices to beat off Delhi chill was a perfect start to the street food trail.  The creamy raita (beaten and seasoned yoghurt) with a mix of  onion, cucumber and green chillies blended well with the ghee soaked rice and spicy chicken.  And all for RS 100/-A perfect start for the hungry souls!

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Our next stop was Moong Dal Chilha with a filling of spicy potato and paneer (Rs 50). Personally I am not a paneer fan but the Moong Dal wrap seemed like the perfect snack, lunch item.

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Served with mint and coriander chutney and tangy sauce this truly took me by surprise. I strongly recommend you to try this!

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We thought of taking a break and stopped by to see a roller ice-cream machine at work. Though the texture of the ice-cream was nice, the rose essence put me off. If you like rose essence and want some fresh ice-cream (Rs 50) being churned out you can give it a try.

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Then we headed to the award winning team of Chicken 65 to spice up our taste buds. If you are a fan of fried chicken with no frills, you are bound to fall in love with this layered dish of crispness at the first bite, juicy spices at the second and then it melts into your mouth.  Chicken 65 is a perfect accompaniment with a steaming cup of chai or “spirits” as well. So if you are planning to throw a pre-Christmas  party tomorrow, pack some Chicken 65 from this stall or pack yourself a treat to unwind a weekend evening.

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Next stop was Litti- Mutton. To my mind, NASVI’s street food festival has brought out the best of Bihar’s street food to the capital’s food lovers.

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This time, street food festival has three stalls from Bihar, one serving Litti- Mutton and Litti- Chokha and the second serving Litti –Chicken and Litti-Chokha. We treated ourselves into piping hot littis with dollops of ghee from both these stalls. And even got it packed. If you are a garlic fan try Litti Mutton. The mutton curry has a fainting fragrance of mustard cooked with whole garlic soft with the spices … it leaves you yearning for more. Must Try !

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The sattu mix of the Litti –Mutton was a little bland compared to Litti-Chokha we had from the stall serving Litti- Chicken.  The mix had the perfect blend of mustard oil and pickles. My  mouth waters as I recall the taste…  Pack yourself a box of  Litti – Chokha if you are full with Litti- Mutton. After our litti trail we decided to take a break.

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We thought  of taking a break and headed for our evening chai ( tea). After a chai– break we headed for Chura with Taas Kebab from Motihari ( East Champaran) which reminded me of  buff kebab, spiced chana served with chura in streets of Kathmandu.

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The tender, soft pieces of chicken kebab served with crisp chura brought me back memories of my lunch on Kathmandu streets and unveil a completely different side of Bihari street food. I don’t recall tasting Chura with Taas Kebab in last year’s food festival so this was a welcome surprise.

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Finally we waited for half an hour chatting away to wait for our friends from Odisha to dish out a crab curry and rice (Rs 180).  If you are self-proclaimed crab lover you have to use your hands to scoop out the crab meat from the claws which carried a faint heat of the spices in the light gravy. Though the seasoning could have been a little better, we loved it…

I was a little disappointed with my home turf – West Bengal which is known for its street food starting from rolls, chop to rice meals.  The West Bengal stall had varieties of fish and rice. I wish winter varieties of ghugni and peas kachori with alur dom was there. For sweet lovers there is a stall fom West Bengal serving date palm jaggery sweets and Assam stall serving pithas.

Other than these, there there is a grand spread from Maharastra, Bhopal, Tamil Nadu which we failed to explore.  Starting from Makki Roti to mirchi pakora, there are ample choices for lunch, evening snack or dinner. So beat the winter chill with street food festival.

Till then happy eating !

Photo : Jyoti Gupta

Important tips

How to reach : Nearest Metro Station – JLN Stadium on Violet Line ( Central Secretariat-Badarpur). Get out from Gate No.3 (Exit) and JLN stadium is round the corner.

Entry Fee: Rs 30. You can even buy coupons online else from the ticket counters at the entrance of JLN stadium.

Payment by coupons:  Stock yourself with cash as they do not accept cards. There are lots of coupon counters so buy coupons when you need them.

Date : 20-22 December 2013

Check NASVI’s fb page https://www.facebook.com/Nasviindia?fref=ts.

©itiriti

Gastronomic delights from across India- Street Food Festival 2012

The past few days have a gastronomic delight.  While I was walking down from Campus and complaining about the cancelled music class, A called. A asked me to join her at Patel Chowk, Metro Station as she was going down to Street Food Festival 2012 with two of her other friends.  National Association of Street Vendors of India has organised a three day street food festival in the Constitution Club. It is located at a 5 min walking distance from Patel Chowk Metro Station on the Yellow Line ( Jahangir Puri- HUDA City Centre) .

As you enter the constitution club you have to buy Rs 20 pass to enter and then buy food coupons. Well, we had gone on 14 December 2012 around 6.30pm. Remember to pick up the list of food stalls with food items on offer before you head towards the food pavilion. We decided to check out the  food stalls( 44 ) offering street food delicacies from Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Odisha.  The prices of food items were between Rs 10-50. We started off our leg of street food tour with Jhal Muri(a Mixture of puffed rice with onions, chillies, mustard oil  and special spices) and pakoras  (Mocha Chop and Dim Chop). Well that was just the starter. Following our leg of research we settled to buy food coupons worth Rs 120 and settled to buy Mutton makhan Wala with Roti from Karnataka (Stall No 34) all for RS 40.  While we were having mutton a friend bought himself Litti with meat (Rs 30) which was splendid.  Needless to say it was from Bihar’s food stall which had the following delicacies to offer : Meat ( Mutton of course! )Rice @ Rs 35, Litti chokha for Rs 20. There was another stall by Bihar selling piping hot Jalebi and Rabri and Raspua for RS 30.  All four of us decided to vote for Bihar ( Stall No 36). We loved the plain and simple Pongal with Adirasam from Tamil Nadu (Stall No 38)and Dal Baffle from Madhya Pradesh ( Stall No. 28).  A must try for all the vegetarians!!!

In case you want to opt for takeaway you can pay them Rs 5 extra and they will pack it for you. Incase you are planning to indulge on a nice spread of street food from few states across India here is an opportunity to indulge in the vegetarian and non vegetarian delicacies on offer. The street food festival comes to an end on 16 December 2012; 10pm. There is still time to head to Rafi Marg.

We should have such events more often … Ah what a gastronomic delight!!!!

Venue : Street food Festival 2012, Main Lawns, VP House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi.

Nearest Metro Station: Patel Chowk.

For more details regarding National Association of Street Food Vendors visit http://www.nasvinet.org.

©itiriti