Friday, June 7, 2013

Hit the food trail.

(The Brunch magazine last week published some fascinating articles about - 10 things you can do on summer morning in Delhi. I've posted these articles at Motley Delhi for the people who do not read the Brunch magazine.) Stay connected for more.

Closest metro station: Chawri Bazaar

(Eat till you drop in Old delhi - Clockwise: Canary-yellow halwa and hot puris; fragrant nihari that just melts in the mouth and the Old Delhi meetha paan with 20 ingredients.)

Have a nihari breakfast at Matia Mahal opposite Jama Masjid, from 5am - 7am.

So you think dawn is too early to eat? Go to Matia Mahal and you’ll never want to sleep through the morning again. As soon you enter the lane opposite gate number one of Jama Masjid, you’ll be drawn to the canary-yellow halwa and the fresh puris at Shop No. 924 (next to Hotel Bombay Orient), which opens for business at 4am. You can choose to sit inside or wait out in the cool air before you demolish a plate (just Rs. 24).

A few steps away is the Mohd Yonus Milk Store, which serves hot milk for Rs. 20 a bowl (have it with a bun or on its own), lassi at Rs. 25 a glass and the surprising house specialty, a fresh-off-an-old-fashioned blender banana milk shake. But save this for the end, as we did, or you won’t be able to eat anything else, it’s that filling.

As you walk under the wire-meshed sky, don’t balk at the sight of shiny brown, leathery-looking livers, slippery coagulated pink brains and other animal limbs openly displayed alongside. Ask for directions to the several bakeries in the area. You are likely to see one called Golden Bakery and another one right opposite, called Champion. Try the Tabrak, a delicious tawa biscuit baked overnight which you can get only in Old Delhi.

While one of the more famous shops is Kallu Nihari, Shop No. 80, don’t rush there, like we did. It serves the slow-cooked dish from 5pm -7pm and not early in the morning.

So we walked to Haji Shabrati Nihariwale Shop No. 722, which is equally famous. Established in 1955, it packs and sends nihari for patrons as far away as Mumbai, Kanpur, Kolkata and even Dubai. The nihari – a very spicy stew dish cooked overnight with the thigh meat of a goat or a buffalo – at Shabrati is fragrant, melt-in-mouth and its spiciness doesn’t hit you until it reaches the back of your throat, because of the ghee tadka they use. Served with soft khameeri rotis, it’s heavenly. The story goes that nihari originated in Shah Jahan’s reign when he had it cooked overnight as a healthy, nutritious dish for the poorer people of the city.

Finish off at the Five Star Pan Bhandar at the entrance of Matia Mahal that is open 24x7. We had the famed Old Delhi meetha pan (Rs 30) with 20 different ingredients and then went to Jama Masjid for some good old peace and quiet. You?

The Jama Masjid looks beautiful; and you see Old Delhi in a new light, when it’s buzzy but not too crowded.