Satisfying momos at the Sikkim stall in Dilli Haat
The printed word, as far as I am concerned, is the gospel truth. I started reading newspapers when I was really very small — the habit started when I was about seven or eight — and even now, when I am older and wiser, and know that most newspapers are not what they used to be, I take the published word seriously. Sometimes, I even believe the advertisements. Which is why, when I saw an ad in a newspaper about an Andhra festival in Dilli Haat the other day, I hotfooted it to the sprawling complex opposite INA Market.
Actually, I was dying to eat some haleem. The ad — for a one-day Andhra festival — had promised all kinds of good food, including Hyderabadi biryani, khumani ka meetha and haleem. In my opinion, Hyderbad's haleem, especially prepared during the Ramzan period, is the best in the country. It's so good that it's even canned and exported. This Ramzan, I was hoping somebody would get me some haleem from Hyderabad. I waited in vain, and was thinking dark thoughts about the world at large when I saw this ad.
My spirits lifted at once, and I reached Dilli Haat on the day of the festival, in the afternoon. Those wishing to read more about haleem can now move on to another page. For I might as well admit it right here, I ended up not with haleem, but with momos.
You see, though the festival had been inaugurated with much pomp and show, I saw no special food stalls — at least they weren't there in the afternoon. There was an old Andhra Pradesh stall there, but it had no haleem either. They were selling biryani, but it looked suspiciously like the Delhi biryani to me. I hadn't gone all the way there for Delhi biryani. Dejected, I moved around aimlessly, sulkily kicking at pebbles on the way.
But then, I reasoned to myself, if I was in Dilli Haat, I should eat its momos. Almost every stall there has momos to sell. So much so that recently, when I met a Malayali poet who was talking about the Onam food that was on offer at the Kerala stall during the festival, I asked him, much to his consternation, if it included momos. I was joking, of course.
The best momos in Dilli Haat are to be found in the Sikkim stall. Lots of youngsters were sitting there too, which was an indication that the food was good. I asked for a plate of pork momos (Rs.70 for eight) and took them home. The momos were warm, the casing was soft and thin, and the filling was mildly spiced and delicious. There was a hot chilli chutney which went rather well with the steamed momos.
I was happy to know that the Sikkim stall momos are still as good as ever. I finished my share, drank a hot cup of Earl Grey tea and sighed contentedly. It wasn't haleem, of course, but hot momos on a wet day weren't all that bad a substitute.