My Experiments with Food

My food adventures seem to have no end in Delhi. Be it in my neighbourhood, my immediate precincts or the entire city; my explorations know no bounds. While wandering, first to come on my wish list is surely the Carnatic Café, a boon for those who love gorging on south Indian food at New Friends’ Colony Community Centre.

Dosa delight

Do not hesitate in trying out the rare Dosa (fermented crepe prepared from rice batter) varieties, which are prepared with much patience and expertise with each of them tasting heavenly. Equally sublime is the ambience of the south Indian village carrying an ethnic touch. Enjoy your Dosa with a glass of fresh lime soda or mallige (butter milk) sitting outside the semi-open kitchen to give you the feel of a modern day dhaba.

South Indian indulgence

Though, dosas are the star attraction over here, you may not forget the taste of the weird looking Paddu that includes the rice balls (fried in ghee) that appear like eggs to be served with the sambhar and chutneys of three colours. Quite enticing are the Upma as well as Uthapams too. Complete your meal with the lip-smacking, ghee-dripping Kesari Bath, a dessert that is fulfilling enough for two.

The place is ideal for a dinner at night if you like enjoying meals under the quiet, dim light with soft music being played in the background. Perhaps a restaurant with few tables but a hospitable heart, Carnatic Café wins over you with its warm and friendly atmosphere. Still curious to come again to relish the Malleshwaram 18th Cross Dosa, I proceed to explore other parts of the small yet beautiful market with lots more to eat.

The local trail continues

Ahh! The smell of hot, steaming momos, reach your nostrils at the entrance of the market after walking few steps inside it. Also known as dumplings, this dish of the Tibetan origin captures your attention with its appearance. They are the light and fluffy balls of dough that have been given a makeover to suit the spicy palate of Delhi. Talking of the best fusion, reminds me of those tried out in C. R. Park carrying the taste of Darjeeling.

The street vendors have adapted to the local flavor by offering crispy fried momos along with its Tandoor or Paneer variety, which are an instant hit with the customers. You can also enjoy the servings with mayonnaise, extra spicy dip and the sprinkling of chaat masala according to your choice.

A spontaneous stopover

Another snack that can be light on your pocket, is the spicy double egg roll with vegetable fillings and sauces. What brings me to this place is the need to kill the fire in my belly at Open Oven. Get a quick bite of the molten truffle brownie or the chocolate mud slice served hot. Set below the stairs in a secluded corner of India mall, the shop is an ideal sit-out for two. My idea of adding to the bonhomie is ordering for the dessert over a casual chit-chat during one of those cool, breezy evenings.

Some Street Food for Thought

Walking past the facades of crumbling houses in the Chandni Chowk has been one of my favourite pastimes since the time I have been staying in Delhi. Reason? The bustling bazaars that catch your attention and the aromatic cuisine that beckons you. This place is thronged by a number of namkeenwallahs (snack-sellers), halwais (sweet-sellers) and paranthewallahs who inspire you to discover their culinary secrets to success. Therefore, the variety of street food scattered through the narrow lanes of this area cannot be given a miss.

Give yourself a parantha treat

Relishing the deep fried paranthas served with pickle, chutney and aloo subzi is a must to do thing on the rain-drenched days. Here, you can enjoy your stuffed parantha meals in various varieties comprising matar (peas), gobhi (cauliflower), bhindi (lady’s finger), mirch (chilli). Also, there are additional flavours of carrot, radish, cashew, almond, mixed and fenugreek.

For your snack love

Another local favourite, which you will love is the chaat with variants including aloo, papdi and fruit chaat. Apart from that, savouries like Gol Gappe, Kachoris, Samosas, Pao Bhaji, Aloo Tikki and Dahi Bhallas make you keep coming here for more. Wondering how they taste? Well, I would not be able to tell you as you will have to taste it yourself and judge for it gives you a pure blissful experience.

For those who love meat

Being a self-confessed vegetarian, I have not really tried the non-vegetarian delicacies but ask any food lover who wants to try out something new without restricting his or her choices, and you would not be surprised to hear the same. My friend who hails from Rajasthan, goes gaga over every lip-smacking dish she tries out in this old locality of the capital. Be it the fried chicken, aromatic kebabs or the fresh fish, you may savour any of them with delicate rumali rotis (paper-thin bread) available at throwaway prices.

The most popular non-vegetarian delights offered in the area are Nihari, Paaya, Reshmi Kabab, Butter Chicken, Shammi Kabab, Mutton Korma, Tandoori Chicken, Murgh Musallam and Shahjahani Korma around the Jama Masjid area. Of course, who can forget the flavour and smell of the butter chicken, cooked in red tomato gravy making it creamy enough to melt in your mouth.

For your sweet tooth

After a hearty, spicy meal, you can treat your sweet tooth with the delicious desserts present in varieties galore. A rich and scrumptious Rabri Faluda is always on my wish list whenever I happen to visit this place during my leisure time. You will surely be compelled to eat, indulge and repeat after enjoying the sinful kulfi in varieties of kesar, kewra, rose, pista, mango, banana or pomegranate.

A plate full of hot jalebis made from pure desi ghee, is equally refreshing. Talking of sweets, there are a lot more places to explore in this area, said to be ages old. Try out the Sohan Halwa and the Badam Burfi that are heaven on earth and a startling discovery, khurchan, which is the leftover scrap made with milk that kept on boiling seems to be created in oblivion.