Monday, January 4, 2016

Breakfast at Chandni Chowk

What a way to begin a new year - a holiday in Delhi! So much to do, so much to see, so many people to meet and, most importantly, so much to eat! Quite at the top of my list was breakfast at Chandni Chowk and it was one of the first things to get ticked off my list.

We set off early on morning in search of bedmi pooris, aloo subzi, nagori halwa, parathas, nihari, and other legendary goodies. The idea was to try out whatever we could find as long as our appetites held out. Our taxi dropped us off at a corner right in front of a jalebi-wala. It was a good place to start. The area wasn't crowded at all, there was a light fog and a general sense of well being permeated the area.

Hot jalebis were being fried. Who could resist that?!

We asked for 100gms of jalebis and I was hugely amused when we got one whole jalebi! Of course, we asked for more and then eagerly tucked in to these hot fresh babies. These jalebis were fat and airy, not crisp and nearly hard like the thinner jalebis one sees in most sweet shops. There were slightly spongy bits and light crisp bits which together were simply magical. As soon as you bit into one syrup just flowed out. It was less sweet than I expected and I was delighted. The only reason we didn't have seconds was all the other food still waiting to be tried. As is evident, I forgot to take a photo of the jalebis after they were ready to eat.

We proceeded to the Fatehpuri Masjid at the end of the main thoroughfare and then doubled back in search of Shiv Mishtan Bhandar where we would get a taste of nagori halwa, bedmi pooris, and other delights.

Here we gorged on bedmi pooris with aloo subzi and chhole, and little crisp and delightful nagori pooris with halwa. Once again we had to hold ourselves back in anticipation of the other gastronomic attractions of this area. Given a choice I'd go back for another round of the nagori pooris for sure. Somewhere between a luchi and the poori for a pani poori in size, the nagori pooris were unique in flavour and texture - not so crisp as to be labelled hard, these were that imprecise level of crisp that is 'just right'! We expected the pooris to be served only with halwa but they were also accompanied by an aloo chhole which I suspect was a mix of the aloo and chhole subzis that came separately with the bedmi pooris. No complaints, it was delicious!

We decided to head towards the Jama Masjid for some nihari. I wanted to wander a bit so we decided to meet back at the jalebiwala, and I trotted off down the road looking at the old buildings, the hubbub of people ferrying goods, cycle rickshaws, pedestrians, honking cars, a huge Gurdwara, and finally reached the jalebi shop to find the hubby tucking into a bowl of the famed Daulat ki Chaat!

We hopped back into our cab and headed off to Al Jawahar in the lane right in front of Gate 1 of the Jama Masjid. The first sign that this would be an epic experience was the list of available foods - "paya, nihari aur roti" said our waiter. When it's so focused I guess there's a high probability of success. We ordered nihari with rotis and waited eagerly. The food arrived and there was a palpable aura of impatience around me - I had to take photos first before I would allow anyone to even touch the food! Finally we tucked in. There was a reverent silence and an occasional sigh of happiness. And that is all one needs to know about the nihari at Al Jawahar- just go there and eat it for yourself.

This was just the beginning and it was beautiful. Delhi, I am so looking forward to more from you.


Kalyan Karmakar said...

Chandni Chowk is a wonderful place to eat in and winter is the perfect time to do so

Unknown said...

Chandni Chowk is the one of interesting place
Nice blog… thanks for sharing this information with us....

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