Saturday, 11 February 2012

Delhi Delights

Delhi, Dilli or Dehli , the national capital gets its name from the Persian word Dahleez meaning frontier or threshold. Over the centuries, Delhi has changed hands, and served as a frontier or threshold of India to Rajputs, Arabs, Afghans, Mughals, English and not to forget the immigrants from Punjab and Sindh Districts.

The history of Delhi has given the city a transient personality which is observed in the culture, people, places and the food. Delhi is also arguably the food capital of India. The city is crawling with restaurants of all variety and vintage.

Mughlai cuisine is unsurpassed in Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s city, now called the Old Delhi. Karim’s, Babu Khan’s near Jama Masjid, Kallu’s Haleem, Nalli Nahari, Stews, Korma, Chicken Fry and offcourse the Biryani’s. They take fierce pride in having successfully preserved the culture of the Mughlai cuisine in face of the Tandoori onslaught.

Delhi brings you traditional preparations from Chandini Chowk which is still revered as the best place to sample foods from the Mughlai cuisine, be it main course, sweets or snacks. Chandini Chowk has also managed to hang on tenaciously and determinedly to that unique charm from another era. Most of the shops here date from the previous century. Chaat, the quintessential appetizers need no introduction and we would have the bhalla papdis along with tikkis and chilas also with exotic fares like palak patta, stuffed fruits, shakarkandi ki chaat, raj kachori, lacha tokri, dal moth so on and so forth. It is also the right kind of weather for the Chole Bhature and Aloo Bedwins. The Indian masala corn on the cob or bhutta and Delhi’s very own stuffed bread pakodas is something you surely will relish.

There is Paranthewali Gali which is said to have been officially brought to Delhi by the Punjabis, but unofficially it had been eaten in Delhi for ages. For Punjabi food like the ones in Pandara Road and Karol Bagh there is fare to greet.

Sweets of Delhi at Ghantewala Halwai, you can relish the sohan halwa, shahi halwai, karachi halwa, barfis and namkeens. Also need to mention the Desi Ghee Ka Jaleba, Daulat Ka Chaat, Rabdi Falooda. More Punjabi fare of sweets would include Gajar Halwa, Moong Dal Halwa, Kesar Doodh, Dodha, Pinni, Atte Ka Laddoo, Malpua, Imarti. the list is long and the sweets on offer are truly heritage.

The traditional cuisine of Delhi takes you through a nostalgic journey of food, aroma, culture and heritage.

By : Devraj Halder

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