Whenever food enthusiasts in Delhi/ NCR are in a mood to have a rustic desi Breakfast, they would look for places in Chandni Chowk, Darya Ganj, Karol Bagh, Pahar Ganj, Kamla Nagar or similar places. The eateries at these places have evolved over the years. From being a local shop serving the locals in the close vicinity to become a place of interest for food lovers across the city. Then, a few become national tourist places and become known across the country. Yet there are a few, nested in various colonies, whose owners are contended with their local status and yet serve high quality food. So, for people of West Delhi, who would want to have a Breakfast of Punjabi Poori Chhole, this old time eatery nested in this erstwhile refugee colony is a hidden gem. And then, few meters across the street is a Chaiwala, where one can have a Cuppa Cutting Chai to drain down all the stuff.
Ajay Bunty Sweet Corner, Moti Nagar
Nested in the by lanes of Moti Nagar, this Sweet Shop has been catering to the locals for over decades. This a typical locality sweet shop which has not let the modernisation impact it beyond a point. Its preparations are still basic, simple and yet have rustic flavours. We reached the place around 8.00 am and could see few locals already enjoying their breakfast of Punjabi Poori Chhole. We also ordered the same.
In a blue plastic tray (and the modernisation began and ended there itself), Two Fluffy Pooris perched on a paper plate along with two paper bowls full of dark Chhole with a dash of Curd (a typical Punjabi trait) and some sliced Onions with Pickle was served to us.
Straight out of the huge cauldron to our table, the Golden Fried Poories were perfectly puffed and were not high on oil. It had a perfect crunch and yet apt moistness. The tearing of first morsel, though pipping hot, gave an aroma of freshness of the dough which had been seasoned aptly.
The accompanying Chhole a dark concoction of a runny gravy full of spices with a sort of melt in mouth yet firm Chickpeas. The spice quotient was high and was balanced out with the dash of Curd. Many people like their Chhole without the curd, however, I prefer to have it the classic way, the way in which the dish is intended to be enjoyed by the outlet.
This Poori Chhole combo is full of taste and is a very satisfying breakfast.
The place also makes some Desi Meetha (rustice sweetmeats). Out of the various Mithai (sweetmeats) displayed, what caught our attention was Peda Burfi. The light brownish pieces of Burfi seemed closer to the Mathura Peda or the Rewari Burfi. The heat of spicy Chhole also needed some consolation. We asked for a few pieces. The first bite and it was soft as ever and yet had that granular crunch. Was not overtly sweet and the flavour of overdone milk to reach the stage of caramelised Khoya gave a deadly edge to the preparation. This was a perfect sweet touch to our breakfast.
Now we needed something hot to drain down our great grub. Just across this shop there is a small park. We walked down the narrow lane adjoining the park and reached a conspicuous Tea Stall, right in the middle of the market.
Madan Tea Stall
At around 8.30, on a weekend, this place seemed to be doing brisk business. There were people who worked in the shops nearby and were either enjoying their morning fix of Desi Chai (Boiled Tea with Milk) or were waiting for their order. Then there was a group of local morning walkers who told us that they have been having their post-walk chat sessions here, every single day (even during lockdown) for years now. Practically, every one vouched for the quality of the Tea being served in this make shift shop. The tea making counter is actually a push cart placed under a makeshift shed with a huge signboard announcing the name of the outlet.
The person behind the stove, in his mid forties, was busy boiling the tea, many times over, ensuring that it reaches the right concoction levels before being served to the patrons. One could see the passion and self imposed perfection standards with which he was doing his job.
The dark goldenish concoction served in a paper glass which was fitted into yet another paper glass to hold talked of the care and convenience for the customer. The Tea was perfectly boiled, had perfect balance of the tea liquor, milk and light sugar. A small notice board next to the push cart gave rate and advisory. The firmness of the advisory explained that this is a popular yet no-nonsense outlet. So, this is a perfect Cuppa to be enjoyed post your breakfast. Even if you are passing by the place, you must stop by and have a cup of tea here. The tea will satisfy you and if you are lucky, you might bump into a group of four morning walkers who would treat you to some self styled Shayari (poetry).
I am sure there are many hidden gems nested in colonies which have still not become a rage in the city and yet serve some excellent food. If you know of any of such gems, do share with me. Would love to visit and try their offerings. Till then…..
Bon Appetite !!
Magic Of Flavours