A quick work trip to Jaipur, capital city of Rajasthan, early this week also turned out to be a food and a foodie experience. I was introduced to Bejad Ki Roti served with Aloo-Pyaaz-Paneer Subzi, Gatte Ki Sabzi and Rajasthani Kadhi. Also got to taste a unique Kachori which was filled with skin-on spicy mashed Potatoes and served with coarsely ground Pudina Chutney (Mint Condiment). Plus our regular musts such as Poha, Mirchi Bada with Kadhi and Papaya Shake. This time I also tasted this amazing Chikoo Shake. Let me introduce all this to you.I had to attend an urgent meeting in Jaipur early this week. I was to drive down early morning and come back the same day. The meeting was likely to get over by lunch. So, thought of having something interesting. I have been connected with a prolific foodie Anilraj Kapoor who runs a food group on Facebook with the name of Spicetrailz. After exchange of few messages in the evening before my travel and his insistence to meet and that he shall take me to some local joints in the walled city, our plans got firmed up.
At the appointed time, post my couple of meetings, we were to meet at a location in Kishanpole Bazar near Ajmeri Gate. Anil forewarned that parking would be a challenge, so one has to hunt for it. Cutting the long story short, we drove around for almost 20 minutes before Anil could find a place for one car. As a good host, he allowed us to park and then set off for fending for his parking slot. Asked us to wait at a spot where he shall meet us. After a wait of another 20 minutes, finally Anil arrived (so far we were communication on phone) and this was first face to face. We met warmly, finally.
Lunch at Mahavir Prasad Rabri Bhandar
Anil had selected this place for our lunch. Although, there are a couple of shops with the same name (brothers breaking away and running similar joints), Anil took us to Shop 3 in the beginning of the street which he said was the oldest. Our order was a Thali consisting one big Bejad Ki Roti, a bowl each of Aloo-Pyaaz-Paneer Subzi, Gutte Ki Subzi and Rajasthani Kadhi. This was served with a glass of Boondi Raita (yes glass; for there its drunk and not eaten). As condiments, there was Lehsun Chutney (garlic) and Green Chilli Pickle.
This was a wonderful sight.
The goldenish, glazed Roti had a bowl like depression. It is a mixed grain combo of Bajra and Jowar with small amount of wheat flour for binding. I tore a morsel and it was coarse and yet moist with mild flavours of the grains used. One could eat it on its own even. I don’t think anyone can eat one full.
The dark red Aloo-Pyaaz-Paneer Subzi had a rich glaze of oil with a full medium size Onion sitting in the middle. A spoonful of the thick gravy told that it had a base of tomato done with spices and Desi Ghee. The Paneer Cubes were fried, so was the Potato Cubes. The hero was the Onion. Peel it layer by layer and it is soaked in the flavours. Quite moist and had that inherent sweetness. I could have my Roti with just that Onion layers.
The pale yellow Gutte Ki Subzi was a delight to look at. The thick gravy had Besan (gram flour) dumplings amidst hues of yellow playing hide and seek with the tempering of oil and spices. The dumplings were soft and flavourful. The gravy was spicy and had a hint of tang.
The bright yellow Rajasthani Kadhi had a runny consistency. This was tangy and had a flavour of mild spices. The tempering was almost invisible. This light gravy though was quite tasty.
All the three went very well with the Bejad Roti since each had a different texture and flavours.
Well, even after a great lunch Anil suggested that it would be worthwhile to taste a unique Kachori which was available at a short distance. So, a short walk then.
Aloo waali Kachori at Kalyan Namkeen Bhandar
A typical old school traditional shop where the owner was sitting, almost at the ground level, amidst heaps of various savouries. We ordered a piece of Aloo Kachori each which was served with a bright green Pudina Chutney. Where is the Aloo ?
The Chutney was coarsely ground like would have been done on stone (silbatta). It was refreshing and flavourful. The first bite of Kachori and the initial reaction was that of a tasty crust which a Kachori normally has. In no time it leads you to a mashed potatoes filling inside, a surprise element. The potatoes are done with its skin on and with spices. There is one sharp taste one would discover and that is Laung (clove). You would think it is a cross between a Samosa and a Kachori. But it is not. It’s different. It’s different in taste and then, the taste of clove which one discovered starts to linger on and develop further after you have finished.
The talks with Anilraj Kapoor on the lunch table revealed that both of us lived in Rajouri Garden in Delhi, were batchmates in school and had common friends. Spent most of our free time in the same group of friends. World is small.
It was time for us to say good bye. So we offered to drop Anilraj to where he had parked his car. To our utter dismay, he had parked almost two kilometre away and rode a rickshaw back to reach us so that he can offer us some authentic lunch. What a human and what a foodie !!
We were old timers came to be known later. But a gem of a person simply took all the trouble of meeting and taking us for lunch speaks volumes about the person.
Besides this great lunch followed by Aloo Kachori, I did enjoy my other regulars in the city for breakfast. A glimpse of these is as under:
Had this wonderful Aloo Parantha with White Butter and Chhole near Behror, enroute Jaipur.
Upon reaching Jaipur had this wonderful Mirchi Bada with Rajasthani Kadhi at Ram Bhandar. This was washed down with Papaya Shake at Rama Cold Drinks. And while saying good bye to Jaipur in the afternoon, paid yet again a customary visit, this time to have Chikoo Shake, the most refreshing and interesting concoction. Had earlier written about these eateries and some more. The links are here :
Anilraj has promised me to introduce me to some more places which serve great food in his city. This means I need to visit the city again, soon. Till then…
Bon Appetite !!