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In Yusuf Sarai, piping hot pooris and potatoes

Guptaji Puriwalley is a roadside kiosk that serves just what the name promises: pooris, aloo, and few other vegetarian accompaniments

The problem with food is that everybody is a connoisseur. I get something from somewhere — say Kulchey Chholey from a little known handi-wallah in one corner of the city — and I have barely managed to say, “Oh, this is good,” when someone pipes up saying, “It needs a bit of lime juice.” Another person has a differing view. “You think so?” he asks. “I think it could have done with some tamarind chutney.” By the time the last morsel has gone, everybody’s ‘free and frank’ view has been aired. Barring mine, that is.

But never mind. As Confucius said: Have food, will opine. I don’t really feel bad about all those holding forth on food, for I do manage to get some information out of these discussions. The other day, for instance, a friend’s friend visiting Delhi from Mumbai was raving about the poori-aloo-chholey that he had eaten at some roadside stall near Hauz Khas.

So the friend told me about it, and on Diwali — when the roads were relatively traffic-free — I zoomed off in search of the poori-wallah.

I had been given directions. The stall, I was told, was near Annapurna, the sweet shop at the DDA market in Yusuf Sarai. I like that area, as that is where my favourite samosa wallah can be found.

I reached there a little before lunch time, and found a group of young men gorging on what looked like poori and chholey to me. I was right — that was my destination.

It is a kiosk on the roadside.

Called Guptaji Puriwalley (reachable at 8826252023), it is clearly a place that has its die-hard poori lovers. A small sign on a tree gave the rates: You could get a plate of five pooris with chholey and kofta, potato sazbi, raita, pickles and sliced onions for ₹35. The same package, but with three pooris, costs ₹25. You can buy extra chholey or aloo, if you wish to. The pooris are fried in a big kadhai right there.

I had it for lunch, and decided that I had to pardon the friend’s friend. He is from Mumbai, after all; what did he know about pooris or aloo sabzi?

Guptaji’s Potato Sabzi was really hot, and I had to go in search of a fire extinguisher after I’d had my first mouthful. The chholey with kofta were, however, rather nice. The chholey was runny and mildly spiced, and the besan koftas had soaked in the gravy. The pooris, however, were disappointing. I think the oil was too hot when he fried them, as they were a bit too brown, and much too crisp.

Still, it wasn’t a bad lunch for Diwali — when pooris are meant to be eaten with potato sabzi and chholey. On my way back home, I also picked up some Double Fried Pork and Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce from Ichiban, my favourite Chinese restaurant in the Pandara Road Market, for dinner. And I got some Hot and Sour Soup which we all relished that evening. The weather was turning, I had a bad cold, and the soup warmed my heart. For Diwali, this was quite a nice mix of cuisines. I ended my Chinese meal with a soft besan ka laddoo — and the world lit up around me.

The writer is a seasoned food critic

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 3:55:02 AM |

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