RAHUL VERMA revisits a simple Daryaganj joint for the perfect Delhi breakfast
I had to choose one of the foggiest days of the season to make my way to Daryaganj. I had woken up with the birds (well, some of the late-rising, nocturnal birds, to tell the truth) when I suddenly felt this urge to have a good old Dilli style breakfast. I looked out of my window and saw a clear, sunny sky. So I set out— only to be enveloped by a thick fog a few minutes later. But since I knew the area well, I managed to find my way— after a few wrong turns here and there— to the shop I was in search of.
This is a shop known as Sardarji ki dukaan, and it’s on the main Ansari Road. But after that ordeal of a journey, I found that the shop was shut. I asked around and was told that the shop took a day off on the last day of every month. As luck would have it, I had gone looking for Sardarji’s poori chholey on January 31.
But since the heart wanted a Dilli breakfast, I decided to drop by at Jain Saab’s shop— formally known as Arhint sweet shop. This is an old sweet shop, known for its traditional sweets. Jain Saab’s fare is simple. It serves mainly three kinds of sweets— gulab jamuns, besan ke laddoo and pedey. When the temperature rises, he sells cold lassi in kullars.
Jain Saab is also known for their bedmi sabzi, which they serve only in the mornings. Once this is sold out, they move on to kachori and sabzi in the afternoons. The bedmi sabzi used to cost Rs.8 once — now they charge Rs.20 for a plate of two bedmis and sabzi.
A young lad rolls out the bedmi in front of you, and then fries it in hot oil. Bedmi, as you know, is a poori filled with a dal paste. This is served with a dish of cooked mashed pumpkin on the side. Then he adds some chholey to a potato curry, and puts that on the plate. Finally, he garnishes it with some carrots pickled with mustard seeds and then serves it to you. And it’s a great breakfast for 20 bucks.
I had hungry souls waiting at home, so I packed seven plates of bedmi sabzi and took them home. By then, the fog was not so thick so I had an easy trip home. The packets were undone, and I was happy to see that the food was still hot. As always, the breakfast was delicious.
The bedmi was nice and crispy, and the potato curry with chholey was wonderfully light. The pumpkin mash, on the other hand, was sweet and spicy. And the carrots, of course, were wonderfully tangy.
I have always been fond of Jain Saab’s food — and I was happy to find that his bedmi sabzi was as good as ever.
I mopped up the potato on my plate with the last bit of bedmi. As if on cue, the fog lifted and the sun rose majestically. Ah, the powers of good bedmi!