Are you willing to take a break from your favourite (by the way, mine too) Chhole Bhature and walk that extra mile (or miles) to savour Poori Subzi? If yes, then this post is for you. While I have enjoyed Poori Subzi / Bhaaji at quite a few places, this trail in NCR last week deserves a story to be told.Three of us, Govind, Sanjay and me, had a plan to enjoy these two joints in Western Uttar Pradesh which, I was told, serve some authentic stuff. So, despite the scorching heat, we set out towards Ghaziabad. The plan was to try at least one place in Delhi which unfortunately couldn’t happen because of the early hours. We settled for this first Bread Pakora that came out of the frying wok of a roadside vendor in Rajendra Place. This crisp outside and soft inside with a filling of spiced mashed potatoes inside Pakora with a Green Chutney was quite an appetizer. This fuelled us for the drive of about 60 Kms from there.
Saiya Ji Poori Wale, Ghaziabad
Google Maps helped us to reach the place at the Main Road, Maliwara Chowk but the shop was no where in sight whereas Google said that we had arrived. A query from a local and he pointed us to an inconspicuous alley in between the market which led us to this place. The owner, Vimal Ji sat outside facing the shop behind a counter. You take 3-4 steps and are inside a reasonably big space with a few eating tables surrounded by benches. You need to share the space unless you are four of you. It was around 9 and the place was full with people enjoying their breakfast. With some difficulty, we found a place to sit and straightway ordered for our stuff to be served.
A leaf plate (pattal) was placed before us and was soon populated. A plateful had 5 Crisp Poories, a bowl of Aloo Subzi, a mound of Kaddu (petha) Subzi, a small glass of Boondi Raita and a bowl full of watery Green Chutney with Green Chillies.
The Poori, fresh out of the frying wok, was having brown hues which said that it was well done and crisp. On tearing a morsel, it scattered the brown crust into tiny pieces revealing a yellowish layer inside. This was Dal Peethi with added basic seasoning. It gave a texture to the Poori without over powering the taste. The Aloo Subzi was spicy, low on oil and had a hint of tanginess as an aftertaste. Perhaps this tang was due to adding of Aamchur albeit just a hint. The Kaddu Subzi again was quite flavourful with a balance of tanginess, pepper and a hint of sweetness. One couldn’t decide that the Poori goes well with the Aloo Subzi or the Kaddu Sabzi. I kept on alternating between them. Intermittently, a sip of cool Boondi Raita was a soothing agent which encouraged your taste buds to carry on.
A feast has to be wrapped up with something sweet. The food preparation counter outside the shop displayed Ghewar besides a few others. The Ghewar looked quite inviting but the aroma of fresh Jalebi being prepared behind distracted us and we moved towards it. A plate of small fresh Jalebis came our way soon. Standing in the alley, we enjoyed those crispy, small roundels of sweetness with a hint of sourness as an aftertaste.
A quick chat with the Owner, a humble Vimal ji, a devotee of Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi, revealed that the shop was started many years ago even before his birth. He said, about an year ago, his lord came in his dreams and instructed that he should do something to get his name associated with the shop. The very next day, he repacked the signboard of the shop. Now it says, “Kashi Ke Kotwal Ki Jai”. He was quite happy that we came all the way from Delhi and overwhelming invited us for coming again.
Our next stop was another 25 Kms ahead. We set out again with the same enthusiasm.
Jain Sweets, Modi Nagar
I had stopped earlier, many a times at the famous Jain Shikanji (near Police Station on the national highway) but never realised there was a Sweet Shop next door from the same family. This shop is not visible from the road. I was told about it with a strong recommendation from a friend. Again, just short of this Jain Shikanji, there is an alley which has this Jain Sweets. Just outside the shop, you see a swarm of people queuing up to get their share of Poori Subzi. A counter besides it also prepares Samosa and Pakoras.
A plate (here it was a bit modern; a plastic slotted dish plate) of Poori Subzi had 3 Puffed Pooris, Methra Chutney, Aloo Subzi and Kaddu Subzi.
The Pooris were more of a Bedmi version as had a filling of flavourful spices. It was crisp and with minimal oil. Wasn’t heavy at all. The Aloo Subzi had an overwhelming flavour of Hing (asafetida) which made it quite enjoyable. The Kaddu Subzi was a delight, as usual, with a well balanced taste of tanginess, pepper and sweetness. The authentic Methra Chutney when had with the Aloo Subzi and Poori takes the flavour to the next level.
By now, we were full up to the hilt. This called for a drive back.
Hey wait, how can one come here and not have Jain Shikanji ? So we got our stuff in disposable glasses and drove back enjoying this refreshing cool drink of Ice, Soda, Fresh Lime Juice and their special Shikanji Masala.
While, I was writing this piece, I realised I have enjoyed Pooris in many places like Delhi, Gurgaon, Haridwar, Varansasi and others. So here is a glimpse of those :
If you have any favourite and authentic places for Poori Subzi, do let me know. Till then…