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Your Delhi street food almanac for 2020

Doodh Jalebi at Makhan Lal Tika Ram at Kashmiri Gate, in Old Delhi

Doodh Jalebi at Makhan Lal Tika Ram at Kashmiri Gate, in Old Delhi   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

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A month-wise guide to the best of Delhi’s chaat and more

The New Year is here, and our calendars are out. The time has come to mark out significant dates. And what could be more important than time set aside for a good food fest? So, allow us to guide you through a year of delicious fare. Each of the dishes that we have zeroed in on is a speciality of that particular eatery. When the weather is cold, we suggest that you try out something that will warm you from within; when the temperature soars, we have suggestions that are as pleasant as a whiff of cold air.

January

Doodh jalebi

at Makhan Lal Tika Ram, Bara Bazar Kashmiri Gate

This is an old, old tradition of Delhi and its neighbouring states. A delicious concoction best enjoyed in winter. You will find milk being thickened in a huge kadhai. One of the assistants in the shop will place a juicy jalebi in a tall glass, and then fill it with the creamy, unsweetened milk. A long spoon will help you negotiate the jalebi. Spoon it out with the milk and slurp it down, to keep warm on a cold day.

February

Bedmi sabzi and nagori halwa

at Shyam Sweets, Barshah Bulla, Chawri Bazar

Bedmi Sibzi at Shyam Sweets at Chawri Bazar in Old Delhi

Bedmi Sibzi at Shyam Sweets at Chawri Bazar in Old Delhi   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

When the weather is still cold, savour some hot bedmi served with a dish of spicy potatoes and chholey and a piece of tart pickle. On Sundays, it comes with a special pumpkin dish. Bedmi is a crispy and deep-fried, puffed bread, stuffed with a lentil paste. Nagori halwa is another great breakfast dish, comprising a small disc, like a puri, with a helping of rich halwa placed within it. Pop it into your mouth, and you will taste ambrosia.

March

Seekh Kabab

at Ghalib Kabab Corner, Nizamuddin West, Nizamuddin Basti

The Ghalib Kebab Corner, Nizammuddin West in New Delhi

The Ghalib Kebab Corner, Nizammuddin West in New Delhi   | Photo Credit: R V Moorthy

A plate of tender mutton seekh kababs, just off the grill and dripping with juices, with chutney and some rings of an onion (irrespective of how much it may cost!) will be placed in front of you. You may ask for a roomali roti, which is as soft as a petal. Roll your kabab in the roti, and take a big bite.

April

Chicken sandwiches

at Novelty Dairy and Stores, Birbal Road, Jangpura

Some of the best sandwiches – with chicken, ham, tuna or vegetables – can be found in this Pop Tate-like store in central-south Delhi. The bread is soft and white, and the stuffing comes with a light mayo dressing that adds to its taste. There is also green chutney on the side, if you like to add some zing to your sandwiches.

May

Chhole bhature

Baba Nagpal, Gupta Market, Lajpat Nagar IV

You get chhole bhature across Delhi, but some places are special. Baba Nagpal is one of them. His chholey has the perfect mix of spices, and it is neither too oily nor too dry. The bhatures again are wonderfully soft, and you can make a full meal out of a plate of chholey bhaturey, served with pickled amla on the side. Tear off a bit of a bhatura, wrap it around some chholey and then bite into it, along with a small piece of the amla. Aah!

June

Rabri falooda

Giani di hatti, Church Mission Road, Khari Baoli

A shopkeeper preparing Rabri Faluda at Giani's Di Hatti at Fatehpuri in Old Delhi

A shopkeeper preparing Rabri Faluda at Giani's Di Hatti at Fatehpuri in Old Delhi   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Much before Giani became a neighbourhood name for all kinds of ice cream, it was known for its rabri falooda. Even now, die-hard fans land up here for this great dessert apt for hot summer months. In a glass, Giani’s army of men add some falooda and ice, and then top it with thick and creamy rabri full of nuts. The rabri falooda washes away the pre-rain, summer blues.

July

Samosa

at Duggal snacks, Pocket B Market, Mayur Vihar Phase 2

Duggal used to run a small stall from the interiors of a residential pocket in the neighbourhood, and there was such a queue in front of the shop that he moved to the main market area some years ago. His samosa is freshly made, deep fried in a manner that it leaves no oil on the surface, and has a delicious potato filling. Just right for a rainy evening.

August

Fruit sandwiches

at Jain Coffee House, Raghuganj, Chawri Bazar

Jain sa’ab serves the best and the most imaginative sandwiches, filled with sliced apples or pomegranate seeds, or even mangoes and bananas. He places the fruit in between two buttered slices and sprinkles a 'fruit powder' on top of the fruit. His malai sandwiches bring back your faith in humanity.

September

Fish pakora

at Paramjeet Machchiwallah, Opposite Metro Pillar number 321, Moti Nagar

Roasted fish pakora at Paramjeet Fish Wala, Moti Nagar in West Delhi

Roasted fish pakora at Paramjeet Fish Wala, Moti Nagar in West Delhi   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Hurray for months with the letter ‘r’ in them when even those who refuse to eat fish in warm weather (May to August) ask for it. Stop at Paramjeet’s for sole, singara, surmai and pomfret. You get fish pakora and tandoori fish here, and it is, in one word, superb. Or, in two words, simply superb.

October

Kheer

at Bade Mian, Lal Quan, Opposite Masjid Badal Begh, Old Delhi

At the Bade Mian Kheer Wala at Lal Kuan in Old Delhi.

At the Bade Mian Kheer Wala at Lal Kuan in Old Delhi.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

With the advent of the festive season, the soul yearns for something sweet. Bade Mian’s kheer is cooked overnight in his kitchen, and then left to cool, before being brought to the shop. The kheer is as thick as half a directory, and has a pleasant light pink colour and a smoky flavour infused by the wood fire it’s been cooked on. It is a kheer like no other.

November

Mutton curry

at Z Corner, 28/14, East Patel Nagar Market

Have some rich and spicy mutton cooked with dollops of desi ghee in a minced meat or keema curry. It is hot and spicy, and just what the weather ordered. The keema is finely minced and the mutton pieces are nicely tender. The dish is served with free rotis, and you can have as many as you want. You will be left licking your fingers clean.

December

Tikke

at Talib kabab corner, Zakir Nagar Main Market

There are quite a few outlets serving delectable food in this part of town, and Talib is one of them. His buff tikke are out of this world. The pieces are soft, and so juicy that once you finish, you are left with a plate of spice-infused sauce that you can happily lick up. The tikka are just right for a cold winter’s night.

The writer is a seasoned food critic

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 1:20:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/your-delhi-chaat-and-street-food-guide-for-2020/article30472191.ece

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