Food

Chholey on the go

LUNCH BREAK Gupta Chholey Bhaturewala outside the Eastern Court complex at Janpath Photo: V.V. Krishnan

LUNCH BREAK Gupta Chholey Bhaturewala outside the Eastern Court complex at Janpath Photo: V.V. Krishnan  

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Nothing like a delicious plate of chhole bhaturey after doing the rounds of MTNL, says Rahul Verma

My filmmaker friend Joydeep, who is quite a food lover, besides being a great cook, asked me the other day if I had eaten the chholey bhaturey at Janpath. I hadn’t – and was a bit miffed because I thought I knew the area inside out, having grown up in the neighbourhood. So I asked him in a casual way where it was, not wanting to add to Joydeep’s air of supreme confidence. He promptly gave me directions, and one rainy day last week I went out in search of it.

But the problem with Janpath is that the main road connecting the Windsor Place crossing to the middle of Janpath is blocked. So I went around, reached Janpath, missed the chholey wallah, took another circle, came back to Janpath, called up Joydeep – and finally found my man. He stands near the MTNL Building (next to Eastern Court), with a table in front of him. A beach umbrella covers the food, which is placed in containers on the table. A car parked in front carries the bhaturas that he sells with his chholey.

Much to my chagrin, I learnt that they have been selling food there for the last 60 years. The business was started by Prem Sagar Gupta. Now it is his son who handles it. The food is cooked in their house and then brought to Janpath. Earlier, they carried their food in a Zen; now it is in a Verna. Apart from chholey bhaturey, they sell kadhi chawal too.

The kadhi chawal looked nice. It consists of a healthy portion of peas-pulao, served with a generous dollop of kadhi. Each plate is for Rs.20, and I asked for two plates on the go. I also asked for five plates of chholey bhaturey (Rs 20 each). He took out three bhatureys from the van and warmed them on a tawa placed on the table in front of him. He served this with the chholey, which had been lightly cooked without an overabundance of spices. He added a bit of dhania-pudina chutney to it, ringed it with onions, and then topped it with a sour amra pickle, all of which added to the flavours. I liked it, but must say I have had better chholey elsewhere. The kadhi wasn’t bad either. The pakoris were soft, and the gravy was of the right consistency – neither too thick, nor too runny.

The place is very popular with office-goers in the neighbourhood and is open from 12 noon to 3 pm. I like all these enterprising men and women who set up shop with little capital but with great passion in all these office localities. And when it’s lunch time in the government offices (though, of course, it’s hard to tell when it’s not lunch time), hundreds descend on small food outlets such as Guptaji’s chholey counter for their lunch.

I wish success to Guptaji – and others of the ilk. May they move from their Vernas to BMWs.

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 8:55:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Food/chholey-on-the-go/article3795404.ece

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