Accused of ignoring South Delhi in his columns, Rahul Verma is in Yusuf Sarai on a mission

Some unkind readers of this column have been accusing me of neglecting South Delhi. I traipse across the city, crisscrossing from the North to the East to the Central and the West, but seldom weave my way to South Delhi, they allege. I have just one word for them – phoeey.

Last week, if you will remember, I was in Aurobindo Marg. This week I am in Yusuf Sarai, and next week – just to drive home the point that I bear no malice towards South Delhi – I will be in Yusuf Sarai again. But let me not digress. Let me instead tell you about this amazing kachori that I ate in Yusuf Sarai the other afternoon.

I had been telling myself for a while that Delhi’s old bastis – such as Hauz Rani, Mehrauli and Yusuf Sarai, to name a few in South Delhi – are bound to have little shacks that sell some good traditional food. Nizamuddin, for instance, has some excellent kababwallahs and roti makers. This thought was at the back of my mind last week when I was at Panditji’s samosa shop. So I asked someone in the queue if there was anything interesting around, and he told me that I could try out Dhan Singh’s kachoris.

If you make your way from the Safdarjung flyover to Yusuf Sarai, you will find a Sanatan Dharam Mandir on your right. Next to the temple is a little lane called Mandir wali gali. Take this. On the left of the T-junction ahead you will find Dhan Singh Kachori wallah (Phone number: 9891885580). When I reached there, I found a Sikh gentleman manning the stall – which is almost a hole in the wall.

“Are you Dhan Singh,” I asked politely. It turned out he was the owner’s friend. “Main toh friendship ke liye aa gaya, jee,” he said. He told me the rates – Rs. 12 for two kachoris – and packed a lot for me. Now let me tell you why the kachoris are so special. For one, you are getting them in South Delhi which is not quite Chandni Chowk or Daryaganj when it comes to kachoris. Two, they are truly khasta – that is wonderfully crispy from the inside. And three, the filling is most interesting. The urad dal ki pitthi (paste) is not chilly hot, but has just the right balance of flavours. It is mildly sour, which enhanced the taste – especially when eaten with the potato sabzi that it comes with.

The aloo sabzi is special too. It reminds me of the potato curry that you are served with kachoris in old Delhi. The potatoes had been mashed into the gravy, which was thin but spicy. Some methi chutney had been added to the curry, giving it the tanginess that it needed.

Dhan Singh also sells samosas and bread pakoras. I didn’t try them out, but hope to do so one day. Next week, I shall tell you all about one of the most delicious dals I have eaten in recent times. Just watch this space. And nyaah nyaah to my critics in South Delhi.

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