A food walk in Old Delhi with Chef Pawan Bisht (2nd from left), Chef Megha Kohli and Chef Ananya Kanwar to relish some Eid food Image: RAJESH KASHYAP
The holy festival of Eid-ul-Fitr is just around the corner, and we can't stop dreaming about the delicacies that are prepared to celebrate the festivities. The famous eat street in front of Jama Masjid, Delhi is a heaven for all-things-delish, and during Ramzan the revelry is manifold.
T2 Online decided to take a stroll in the famous foodie street of Old Delhi to explore the best of Eid food that one can sample in this holy month. In this gastronomic quest, we were accompanied by three food musketeers — corporate chef Pawan Bisht, executive chef Megha Kohli and chef de partie Ananya Kanwar.
A date to remember Image: RAJESH KASHYAP
The smells, sights, and scenes in the narrow, serpentine lanes of the walled city can be pretty overwhelming, so it's always good to have company. Even though they say too many cooks spoil the broth, but in this case, our food trip turned out to be epic as these foodies introduced us to the best flavours of D-town.
Some of the most famous eateries in the city are right in front of Jama Masjid Gate number 1, so that's where we started our journey. Since the month of Ramzan is going on, the crowded lane was decorated with sparkling silver ribbons. One could see heaps of sweetened vermicelli (sevai in common language) and dates mounted at local street shops.
Desserts first, always Image: RAJESH KASHYAP
We stopped to speak to a local date vendor, Md Danish, who told us that he's been selling dates for past eight years on the same street. He exports a variety of dates from countries like Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Iran, and sells it between Rs 120 per kg to Rs 2400 per kg. Chef Pawan told us that most people use these dates to break their fast, and they are also used in various desserts that are prepared during Eid-ul-Fitr (meethi Eid).
Since we started our food journey backward, we stopped to have some awesome Indian desserts that are prepared only during this season. We stopped at a shop called Cool Point, which was established in 1980 and is owned by Md Zahid. The shop is famous for its handmade mango ice cream, which sells from Rs 30 per plate (each plate has two scoops). And, they are also known for the Shahi Tukra, which sells for Rs 50 per plate. Another popular item here is the dahi bade, which is sold for just Rs 20 per plate.
Mango ice creams and Shahi Tukra for starters Image: RAJESH KASHYAP
Our next stop was Al Karam Bakers, who are famous for their sweetened vermicelli (sevai). The shop owner, Kashif, told us about the various kinds of vermicelli that are used to prepare the traditional sheer khurma for Eid. Chef Megha showed us the thinly roasted sevai, which is sold for Rs 80 per kg. Then she picked another bunch of colourless sevai, and told us that costs around Rs 140 per Kg and is known as Feni. The superfine Benarsi variety was the most expensive one, and it is sold for Rs 160 per kg.
Heaps of sevai for sheer khurma Image: RAJESH KASHYAP
While browsing through the street food shops that were buzzing with freshly prepared delicacies, we stopped to sample a plate of fried bhajiays, a special variety of deep-fried chicken and some mouth-watering kebabs. We then stopped to eat a fresh plate of fruits topped with a date just for Rs 10. The fruit seller told us that this is specially prepared during the evening for iftar, and sells like hotcakes.
Stop for fresh fruits Image: RAJESH KASHYAP
After a long walk in the street, we stopped at the Al-Jawahar restaurant (shop number 8) and binged on some traditional Mughlai food. Chef Pawan mentioned that most of these established eateries prepare fresh Khameer rotis that are served with Nihari as a traditional meal during iftar. He also showed us the huge pots (known as pateela) in which biryani is prepared and stored.
Biryani for all Image: RAJESH KASHYAP
The manager of the shop told us the that some of the most famous items on the menu are Mutton Nihari, Chicken Changezi, Mutton Korma and Chicken Kali Mirch. All the curry items are prepared in ghee, which makes them very rich and flavoursome.
Khameer roti and nihari is a popular meal in Old Delhi Image: RAJESH KASHYAP
After a sumptuous Eid meal from the most popular food street in Delhi, we bid adieu to the chefs and came back with some amazing food memories that we'll cherish for a long time. Here's wishing everyone Eid Mubarak!