Much Food and Talk

Teen Deviyan
The three of us at Ugrasen ki baoli, Connaught Place

Manisha, and A and N were here last week and what a food-packed week it ended up being!  I put work aside and for a whole week we just ate, talked with our mouths full, ate some more, drank a little, and walked a lot.  I focused on Kashmiri food at home and we ate out some, crossing off some of the better known Delhi-delights.

Here it starts: kachoris and bedmi poori!

The streets that offer daulat ki chat, the frothy, dew-kissed winter-morning dessert.

Manisha arrived on the last Saturday of November and A and N were here by noon the following day.  They barely got enough time to wheel their bags into the bedroom before we were off on our first foodie trip.  Reeta (Delhi Foodie’s Zone) had graciously agreed  to be our guide through the labyrinth of Old Delhi’s streets!  We walked through the melee that is Chor Bazaar, near Jama Masjid, to enter at the far end of Dariba and ate our way through many streets savouring – brace yourself – bedmi-poori and aloo bhaji, khasta kachori, flavoured milk (infused with saffron, rose, kevda, and almonds), banta-lime-soda (marble soda bottles), daulat ki chat, paranthe (at paranthe-wali gali, where else; yes they are overrated but you have to try them once – A‘s motto for everything remotely edible), aloo tikki and dahi badey at Natraj’s, motichoor laddoo, shakkarkandi (sweetpotato) ki chat, and kulfi-falooda.

rummy fruitcake
A and N brought this fruitcake: part food, part drink, if you know what I mean!

We went wherever Reeta took us, and she unearthed  some real gems for us!   It was a good thing that we were a group of six; made it easier to sample that much more food!  We bought til patti (sesame brittle, like no other) and revdi (sesame drops?) from a shop in Kinari Bazaar.  [Thanks for the recommendation, Reeta; that til patti is gooood!]  In between we also took pictures of food we were just going to have to keep for the next visit.


Rich history at every step…

Natraj’s famous Aloo ki tikki, Chandni Chowk.

We took a detour into Ballimaran’s gali Qasim Jaan to visit the partially-restored house of one of the greatest poet of our times, and my favourite, Mirza Ghalib.

Ghalib’s haveli.


nankhatai imarti
Hawking fresh-baked nankhatai; a mountain of imarti.

We returned exhausted and stuffed to the gills.  All we were good for afterwards were V’s concoctions; he’s gotten really good at mixology.

The following day, I stepped out for a little work in the morning leaving the kitchen in the capable hands of A.  What a fabulous Southie spread he laid out with prep-help from N and Manisha!  There was rasam, vathakuzhambu with pumpkin (and my sun-dried sundakkai!), beans parupu usili, keerai masiyal, and carrot kosambari. Yes, very impressive and very delicious.  The pictures say it all.

Ajit in the kitchen
A loaded table and happy gluttons gourmands!

Dilli Haat
At Dilli Haat

We spent an evening at Dilli Haat.  But before the mandatory shopping, we sat down at the Navdanya stall for a round of their fabulous masala tea lightly sweetened with natural sugar.  After my friends, had had their fill of shopping for handlooms and handicrafts, I took them across then road to another shopping haunt, the INA market.  A and N were impressed at the vegetables on display and envious that we have forever had this cheaper alternative to Godrej’s Nature Basket!  What I thought was expensive is actually cheap!  A bought galangal, and I bought some haak.  We really went to town at the Durga Store, buying (almost) every Kashmiri ingredient they stock – spices, dried Kashmiri chillies, veri masala, and al-hacchi and wangun-hacchi (sun-dried bottle-gourd and aubergines).  Santa is sure to bring some exotic foodie cheer to many foodie friends this Christmas!

The shopping was followed by dinner at The Yeti, HKV.  We tasted their Tibetan and Nepali platters with buffalo offal and sausages amongst other things, the most interesting of which was tingmo, the knot-shaped Tibetan steamed bread. Aloo momos lived up to Reeta’s recommendation but the chicken Jadoh with Dohkhleh we tried for the main was very disappointing.  The music is loud and the service really slow despite the fact that this is a tiny restaurant.  Go there for the non-veg platter, the potato momos, tingmo, and the clear soups, those are the best.

yeti starters
Starters, The Yeti

A and N, with Deeba
We met up with Deeba one afternoon at good old India Coffee House in CP. The Passionate Baker brought some of her fabulous chocolate biscotti (which was gone before I could take pictures!).

Manisha missed out on my Dad’s birthday party though; there was a change in her plans and she left sooner than planned. For the lunch at my parents’, there was the standard Kashmiri menu of roganjosh, paneer kaliya, monjji-haak, dum-olu, palak-mutter, rajma, and mujj-chetin, followed only a little later with a round of tea and an assortment of Kashmiri breads – kulchavor, tilvor, and katlum. There was cake too!

the spread

koshur saal
Dad’s birthday feast.

One of the best meal, we all agreed, was at the relatively new, open-air cafe attached to the National Crafts Museum at Pragati Maidan, Cafe Lota. Don’t let the name discourage you in the least. I found out about this cafe just last month when a friend posted some pictures of his lunch, out with family. I checked the Facebook page for Cafe Lota and found the menu and the pictures very interesting – regional Indian food with a fresh, modern presentation, and immediately decided that this might be just the place to check out with foodie friends. I will tell you more about this fantastic cafe in the next post.

Cafe Lota (2)
Cafe Lota

Did you notice I didn’t do much cooking this whole time? 😀 They should have stayed another day; I could have used help with the Champa Shashthi feast!

9 thoughts on “Much Food and Talk

  1. I think that was the best vacation ever for us 🙂 Loved it! And you are a super host, Anita. Warm, generous and so fun! A and I keep talking about you guys. We had toast the other day for breakfast with some home made bitter orange marmalade (inspired by your Uttarkhandi one) and leftover rotis, V’s style! 😀

    We had such a great time with all of you! I hope we get to do it again soon!

    Dipped into some blueberry jam this morning…

  2. Making us all envious! Lovely to read about and dream about…thank you.seasons greetings to you.

    Happy Holidays, Poornima!

  3. OMG where do I even begin?! Ok so I lurveee the gorgeous picture of the three beautiful ladies at the beginning of the post…the fruitcake looks so pretty and you describe it even better @ part food-part drink….I so want to slice it and stuff my face (greedy Skeeter)…I lurvee revisiting Ballimaran again and again and soak in the place…will tell you more about it:) And someone drooled over uncle’s birthday food pics 😛 We love your zeal! Keep blogging! Much love, Skeeter…

    So, are you saying, you will take me along on one of your trips to CC again!! Yay!

    Thanks for making the walk so informative, Skeeter!

    1. Thanks, Reeta! Your knowledge of the ins and outs of Delhi 6 knows no bounds! And it was great to finally meet you as well!

      And, I want to accompany you, Reeta, on more of your walks!

  4. Thank you, Anita, for the best time I have ever had in Delhi! There’s no doubt whatsoever that you and V are the best hosts ever! I’m so proud of myself though: I didn’t burn, destroy or lose anything when I was at your house, even though your microwave kept calling out to me! #phew

    Thanks to Reeta for taking us on an inspiring foodie walk through Delhi 6! I want to do it all over again! Ajit and Nandu made it even more fun!

    I’m feel terrible that I missed your Dad’s birthday celebrations. It would have been wonderful to meet your parents again! Next time!

    You did good, Manisha! It was great to catch-up with you and to finally meet Nandu as well as Ajit. V and I enjoyed our time with all of you!
    Reeta is a trooper – we have to meet again soon!

  5. This post brought back memories of my college days at Delhi University. Thanks and Happy New Year to you and your family….Have a fantastic and food filled year ahead!!

    A Happy New Year to you and your family, Rameshwari!

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