It was a cold cold night. One that set the mood for the kind of foodie debauchery I have seldom indulged in. But hey…it was fun!!!! The atmosphere was magical, the company was fantabulous and the food was great…so why complain.
This was the night we set out to Jama Masjid area in Old Delhi…Commissioned by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal, in the year 1644 CE and completed in the year 1658 AD, it is the largest and best-known mosque in India. It lies at the origin of a very busy central street of Old Delhi, the Chawri Bazaar Road. And thats all the history I am going to indulge in…for I am more interested in the today where the cooks are busy and the food stalls are thronging with the hungry multitudes in search of some good food.
Our first stop was a biriyani joint where the gentleman was selling Beef Dum Biriyani in huge metal vessels. To say that it was great is an understatement. There is something about hot, spicy biriyani and a cold night that warms the soul as nothing else does.
Next we stopped at a place selling fried chicken. The chicken was chopped, marinated and fried on the same table. The whole operation was carried out with surgical precision. Needless to say the results were drool worthy.
Having eaten a good amount of spicy food we decided to cleanse our pallet with some sweet rabri. Basically a dish made of milk boiled till it thickens and flavoured with saffron and dried fruits. I do not exaggerate when I say it was the best rabri I had ever eaten.
Then we went along a labyrinth of narrow lanes in search of what people called Sutli (thread) Kebab. Finally, we located it in a narrow lane. We tried all the Kebabs on offer and had a moment of doubt as to the origins of the meat!!!! Sutli Kebab by the turned out to be a long kebab held together by a sutli and grilled.
Then we went to the famous Karim’s and frankly I found the whole experience a bit disappointing. Perhaps having read so much about the wonder that was Karim, the reality of it could not live up to the hype.
After a meal at Karim’s we headed out onto the street to find a man selling Shahi Tukda. This a bread based desert made by frying slices of bread in ghee and then soaking it in sugar syrup and topped with a creamy custard, dried fruits and nuts. The Shahi Tukda was being served sizzling hot and is part of my list of most amazing food experiences ever.
The trip to Jama Masjid that night was like something out of the Arabian Nights. Delhi is a very multi-faceted city with a blend of the modern and the traditional, the new and the old. To experience Old Delhi a trip to the Jama Masjid market is a must do.