mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Dilli Haat, Shopping, and Another Quiz

In Eating Out on December 8, 2006 at 8:00 am

As I dig into my katori of garlic-spinach-dal (lentil soup anyone?), another new favourite picked from the reliable Indira’s Mahanandi (and what’s this talk about not wanting to read what she and others had for lunch now?!🙂 ), let me tell you what I did this past Monday afternoon. Yes, total goof-off on a Monday afternoon. Perks of being your own boss🙂.

It is related to food (and related shopping, I promise).

A few years ago, Delhi Tourism had a brilliant idea and transformed, with the help of Architect Pradeep Sachdev, an eye-sore of a drain into one of the most used public spaces of Delhi – the Dilli Haat – a place to showcase India’s crafts and regional cuisine. While the food is only barely passable with momos from the North-eastern states and a fruit beer (apple juice with soda!) being your best bet, the crafts are a wonderful different story. What is also good is that you interact with the craftspeople directly, avoiding the middleman.

Dilli Haat

Every year around this time Dastkar, a society for crafts and crafts people, organises the Nature Bazaar with interactive workshops and demonstrations, street plays, and folk musicians and dancers. You can find crafts and textiles from all over the country. Also on display and sale are organic foods, herbal medicines and cosmetics, and handmade paper. This year Dastkar is 25 years old.

pin wheels pinwheels

I had a fun afternoon at the haat, TH in tow (I always need to know what his opinion is even if I don’t agree), on the last day of the Nature Bazaar this year. Gorged on the mandatory momos and fruit beer. Bought embroidered bags, a skirt, and a couple of gloriously colourful laharia dupattas! Wish you were here!🙂

neads and shells beads and shells

belan rolling pins

beans 200 kinds of beans!

bags
bags from recycled polythene!

And what is this??
spice 01
(tip: also used in ayurvedic medicine)

and this?
spice 02

It’s not mustard, look close…
spice 03

Answers (Dec 09):
This was going to be hard. I discovered these spices at the Dilli Haat this time. These spices (including some red chillies I bought) are from the Kumaon hills in the Himalayas. Both are used in tadka (tempering).

The long cumin-like spice is know as kali jeeri or Centratherum anthelminticum, has a bitter taste (like methi seeds do) and is used with dishes believed to be ‘heavy’ such as kali dal or arbi. It is aslo beneficial in the treatment of diabetes, fever and psoriasis.

I used the mustard-like spice, which is called jakhia in the local language, in the tadka for a dry aloo-bhaaji, and like they lady at the stall promised, it gives a nice crunch (and a flavour I cannot describe🙂 !). A Google search yielded little information. Our Kumaoni friends may be of some help here (Kamla are you reading this?). (BTW, pics 2 &3 are both of jakhia! I wanted to illustrate the interesting shape of the seeds, hence the close up.)

This was a quiz more to share new spices than test my blog-friends and readers! And that is why I am posting the answers so soon. And the red Himalyan super-hot organic chillies will be featured soon in a Maharashtrian recipe here.

Tags: Dilli Haat, Delhi, spices, Dastkar, Nature Bazaar, momos, eating out in Delhi

  1. WHOAAA ! 200 kind of beans !!!
    Love those bright and colorful rolling pins.

    I have no clue abt the first and third, but the second looks like black poppy seeds.

  2. I loved your pics.It is so soothing to see al those bazaar stuff:) I don’t have any idea about strange looking medicinal spices!

  3. No idea what the spices are but you brought back so many memories. I was a nursing student at AIIMS and this was one of my favorite places to be. God knows how much money I have spent at Dillihaat. The momos with the chilly sauce. AAh!! The handicraft shops were my weakness too. I have spent a lot of my parent’s money there buying pottery and clothes.That was the life!!

  4. colorful rolling pins and pin wheels hehehe
    wish i could have those
    anyway my guess for the first one is it cloves (without the seed),
    second one i go with priya ie poppy seeds
    n third one is it cloves seed (wild guesses)
    hope atleast one is correct

  5. You are wicked🙂 There was a time when me and my friends lived at Dilli haat buying ‘laakh’ bangles, mirror work embroidered suits from gujarat and eating all kinds yummy stuff ! Now I visit Dillihaat everytime I am in India buying bedspread, pillow covers, terracota pots etc… I even have terracota wind-chime that I bought from there. Actually the list is endless… I also bought a Lakshmi-dashavatar Madhubani painting. I guess its enough … loved your post.
    BTW, I dont know the answer your question🙂

  6. Waaaah I want I want I want🙂
    It was great to see the photos…I am big fan of handicraft and though Bombay doesnt have anything like Dillihaat I have spent a lot of money in the Khadi bhandaar, Sewa and cottage industries along Colaba.
    So do share the damage with us

    Hi Ashwini: I got 3 small bags, one with Karnataka banjara embroidery, 2 with beautiful weaves (Urmul), a woven kurta (Urmul again), a really pretty long skirt (Assam Weavers), a pair of Rajathani jootis (for TH), 3 laharia dupattas (they were intended for gifts. But let’s see!), the spices mentioned above, and a bottle jam (Kumaoni peaches). Now you really wish you were here!

  7. Thanks guys for participating. The main idea was to give those of you outside Delhi a little glimpse of the city (and make some of you really really home-sick):) But all that shopping by you NRIs is driving the prices north! But if the craftsmen benefit, then it’s all for the good.

  8. i am so home sick! i used to live in delhi and loved dilli haat when it had started. oh gosh their momos were to die for. i still recreate that. so u live in delhi. can u blog abt the different stalls there? hi hi. only for me..i miss buring all the ethnic stuff too.wonderful post.

    Hi Shaheen. Yes, the momos are the high point of food at the Haat. More next year! I too make verrry good momos myself!

  9. the spice quiz, the second one looks like a tiny snail. Maybe ‘jakhia’ means tiny snails, are you really sure??? Just kidding….

    Now that you mention it…that must also be the reason behind the crunchy-ness that stays even till the next day!🙂

  10. I just loved this post so. Thank you. Sorry, i have no idea what those are, wish i had one of those rolling pins.

    Home sick? Aren’t they pretty?

  11. Anita I just loved the pictures. Thankyou!

    //I too make verrry good momos myself!//

    Anita, would it be possible for us to get a post when you make them next time? 🙂

    Thanks. And, yes, I’ll surely blog about them the next time I make them.

  12. Don’t know how I missed so many of your posts! I’ve been to Dilli Haat once about 8 years ago. I had such a great time then. I remember enjoying the food – dosas especially. And the craftsmen showing off their skills. Nice outing it was! Your post was a nice walk down the memory lane🙂

  13. This brought back memories. I am from delhi originally and this was a favourite hangout with friends. Bought plenty of stuff from there and gorged myself on momo’s and fruit beer. Loved the hot sauce the momo’s came with.
    Now I do wish I could hang out with friends at dilli haat again some day. lets see when.

    Momos and fruit beer are quintessentially Dilli Haat!

  14. hey! i went for this one as well🙂 and did i love it? u bet!
    P.S. r u an alice fan?

    Yes, I am!

    And I was there yesterday as well! ‘Saras’!

  15. Jakhia is too good when used in tadka. I found out more about Jakhia. It’s plant is called cleome viscosa.
    Check this also.

    found a recipe here

    Jakhia has other names in other languages
    Sanskrit: saurīyaka, Pasugandha
    English: Tickweed, Wild mustard, Dog mustard, Sticky cleome, Asian spider flower, Yellow spider flower, Cleome, Tickweed
    Hindi:jakhia, Bagra, Hulhul, Hurhur
    Kannada: Nayibelu;. Kadu sasive
    Malyalam: நைக்கடுகு ,Atunarivela, Vela, Aryavela, Naivela, Tamil: Naivelai, Naikkaduku, Telgu: Kukkavaminta, Nallavaminta.
    Naikkaduku (Tamil), Nayibela (Kannada), Pilitalvani (Gujarati), Kukkavaminta (Telugu), Pivalatilavana (Marathi)

    Thank you, Randhir! And a welcome to you at the Party! These are very useful links especially the recipe by none other than Victor Banerjee!! I have a big amount of jakhia (by spice standards) that I would like to use – but didn’t have any recipes. I used it in place of jeera for a dry aloo dish (as recommended by the lady at the Haat) which was good. Thank you again!

  16. […] blog since her first post in August 2006. While we didn’t have a blog back then, it’s this post of hers that inspired this Postcard Series. Anita lives in Delhi, and works and teaches in the […]

  17. […] all my buys at Dilli Haat are great. But most are. Besides, spotting something new is always […]

  18. […] home to an amazing variety of beans. If you remember I mentioned that on one of my visits I found 200 kinds of beans on display at Dilli Haat! I bought two varieties that time – one was chitre rajma, very similar to cranberry beans I […]

  19. […] Kali Jeeri (Update: Sorry, this was not Kala Jeera, but Kali Jeeri, Thanks Anita for pointing it out.) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s