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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Dilli Haat...Potpourri of colours...

A riot of colours really...and by virtue of staying just opposite to it for a few years.. we were almost a regular visitor to Dilli Haat...often a gathering place for friends some food and some ethnic buys. 

Stoles, bags, ceramic cups...lucknow chikan suits and kurtis of different colours over the years ... sarees specially kantha stich from Bengal...handloom sarees from Orissa..bargaining was heavy and i often ended up disappointed not able to buy exorbitantly priced hand work stuff specially exotic stoles and dupattas .

There is this shop selling ethnic stuff... brass idols basically and the mysterious bearded man sitting in the shop looked as ethnic as his stuff !! And most of the time his shop would be huddled in some corner and the eerie stuff with him adding to the aura.

Jootis were a must...colourful and vibrant though they lasted for a few months yet that did not act as deterrent to buy more!!

Churans, papads, pickles.. and so called roasted snacks... all piled up at home some point of time...unless we stopped buying, though churans are still a hot favourite with mother in law and my daughter and they never fail to add some to their huge collection.

The most important part and the most exciting the taste of different regional cuisines!! We almost tried food of every stalls... even during my expecting days i had my fill of Rajasthani Thalis and dal batti churmas as i had this urge for ' vegeterain food' as my husband stared blankly and gloomily as i gorged on missi rotis and kachoris...giving a miss to our Bijoli Grill ( West Bengal stall) cutlets, luchi alur dom etc etc. Bijoli Grill was the nearest place to satisfy our Bengali palates... radha ballabi alur dom..( at Rs 40 earlier), luchi cholar dal, cheetal maacher muitha occasionally, cutlets and chops... and i remember my bengali colleague whom we met there often ordering ' Special Bengali Thali' served in a bell metal plate with macher paturi and payesh with his non bengali colleagues and friends.. the look of home in his face!! Gradually we moved to the adjacent Nagaland stall... Raja Mirchi ka chutney hugely hot, Naga thali tasted a bit different... what we loved most was fried momos to be gulped down with a glass of fruit beer. Then more explorations... next discovery was Maharashtra stall delicacies vada pav, puran poli, matar poha and what became a must have was sabudana vada... crispy crunchy and absolutely delightful!!

Junior checking out fried momos!!!

Lucknow Chikan.. all kinds of ethnic earrings and jhumkas, an odd neck piece, paper light shades of various designs.. paintings, mango festival at the onset of summer months, skirts and wrappers smelling of raw colours, shawls claiming to be pashmina,trendy  jholas, kantha stitch bed sheets... all clamouring for attention...beckoning me as i would tell  husband as he made a beeline for the food stalls..and i followed unwillingly vowing to visit again with girlfriends and explore all the delights minutely... next time... sure...!!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Lunch at Karim,s

It was the day i would remember most..cold, foggy...one of the coldest days in January...when there was this sudden plan to have lunch at Karim,s. Some think alike foodies got together and this long drive from Gurgaon to Chandni Chowk ( of course Metro would have been the best...but with a NRI friend of friends who had an international flight to catch at night, guess it was ok). 

Well the place with its histories and the fables of old Delhi woven around  and the slight drizzle in cold January afternoon the setting was near perfect as we entered Karim,s.  Our friend who had to catch a flight...it seemed was nostalgic about the place and he said all he wanted to eat was Rumaali Roti and Mutton Korma and had this immense desire to pack a plate of Korma for his wife back in Boston ( which he eventually did not of course!!!). Looking at him... i just had the feeling it was some lost moments and a bit of his past he was digging into while tearing his rumaali forcefully and dipping into the Korma.

For the rest of us...we were spoilt for choice. We began with sumptuous helping of kebabs... seekh and burra kebabas. The burra  kebabs were excellently done most probably the best i ever had...each equally succulent and juicy, seekh kebabs were a delight too but still there are some places where one can have good seekh kebabs if not as good. So.. with all foodies giving a hoot for weight and health..another round was ordered.

 For the main course we settled for naan and mutton korma  ( which was obvious enough).. chicken shehjahani was not available.. i think it was over by the time we reached...the chicken dish we ordered simply faded away in front of the exuberant korma which we had to reorder. Greased with abundant ghee and we had it loaded with abundant guilt !! My group of friend foodies who would stop at nothing also ordered a Shreemal ( sweet Roti) which was quite drab and ended with Phirni which was also disappointing..but after the gastronomical delights of kebabs and kormas and the ordeal suffered by the gastronomical system guess it was a boon in disguise.

The day winded up beautifully after being loaded with heaps of chicken, mutton and ghee.. and more packed for home...and with a promise to work out from tomorrow...a promise which hardly sees the light of the day !!