It seems that I am running a sort of series on breakfast since two weeks in a row, I am writing about it. But today, its a bit different. The moment one talks about having breakfast in Paharganj, the instant thing which comes to mind is Chhole Bhature from Sitaram or from Amritsari Thali from Kashmir Sweets or Chur Chur Naan from Chawla Naan. No, this post today is not about these. I had some Punjabi Atta Poori with Chhole Aloo, Malpua with Sooji Halwa, Multani Chawal Chhole and Geela Kulcha in Multani Dhanda, Paharganj, Delhi. If you also want to try these goodies, read on.
We went to this otherwise an over crowded locality on a weekend. Since we reached there by 9 in the morning, we were pleasantly surprised that there was no traffic and that one could drive till the far end of the road. At an appropriate place we parked our car and walked down to our first halt, a few meters away.
Multani Chawal Chhole & Geela Kulcha
Near Street No 5, this unassuming shop has no signboard. You will have to look for it because you blink and you miss it. The specialty of the this place is the Geela Kulcha (actually Bheega Kulcha about which I had written earlier here) and Chawal Chhole. We ordered the same but were told to wait since their special Chhole Ka Pani (Chickpea Stock) was yet to come. It came in a vessel in a while and the assembly started.
First a Kulcha was dropped in a pot full of Chhole. It rested there for a while and then was taken out and placed in a plate. By this time it was totally drenched in the moist masala concoction of the dish. Then it was topped up with Chhole ka Pani, Red Chutney and Sliced Onions. It was a delight to watch the assembly of the dish which finally had a runny gravy with hues of red and yellow. First spoon on the palate and the Chhole were spicy and tangy. Each grain was firm in shape and yet melt in mouth. One quickly took a few spoonful to savour that rustic taste and the flavours of typical multani masalas. Then the Kulcha bite was scooped from beneath the puddle of Chhole. Though it was soaked in the flavours and yet nothing significant to write back home about. The Chhole on its own are quite flavourful. I would love to have a bowl of this on its own.
Now was the time to turn towards the Chawal Chhole. The assembly of this dish too was done the same way. Therefore, the looks of the dish were almost the same. The only difference was the base which now had short grained Rice cooked with Turmeric giving it a yellow colour. Overall not a bad combo and I liked it better than Geela Kulcha.
Poori Chhole Subzi at Janta Sweets
Moving ahead, at a short distance, near Street No 8 is Janta Sweets. Again a local eatery which has been catering to the locals without caring to become a city famous. Locals swear by its offerings. One could see many locals enjoying their breakfast and yet few in waiting for their take away.
We ordered our Punjabi Poori Chhole Aloo. We were asked if we wanted an Atta (Wheat Flour) one or Maida (White Refined Flour) Poori. We settled for Atta Poori. One could see the owner himself frying the Poori. Soon two golden brown, well done, crisp and fluffy Pooris perched on a paper plate came along with a bowl of runny Chhole (chickpeas) which had added pieces of Aloo (Potatoes). The Chhole gave an aroma of the typical Punjabi Chhole Masala.
The Poori was so crisp that the moment to try to pierce the puff with your finger, the crust would crumble into flakes. A peep inside revealed that the dough was also seasoned. As a habit, I first tasted a morsel of the Poori. It was crisp, aptly seasoned and moist. Was not very thick nor very thin. The Chhole were spicy and the watery gravy complimented the morsels of Poori, perfectly. The Aloo pieces provided intermittent texture to the bites.
This outlet also serves Malpua Halwa which is quite popular with the locals. This is also enjoyed during breakfast by the locals. So, it was quite natural for us to also order for it. One portion had two medium size Malpuas with a serving of Sooji Halwa layered in between the two desi pancakes. The goldish Malpua, served in a Dona (leaf bowl) was a delight to look at. It was not dripping with the sugar syrup as one would find at branded outlets and yet it was not dry. Tearing off the first morsel told me that it was aptly moist. The edges were goldish brown and crisp. The taste had a hint of cardamom and was not high on sugar.
The Sooji Halwa, to my delight, was towards the darker side (I don’t like whiter version). This again was not dripping with oil. Though this was not done in Desi Ghee and yet it had that rustic taste. Was granular and not pasty. The sugar content was apt and was not overtly sweet. Both Malpua and Sooji Halwa was a great combo to wrap up your morning grub.
I am told that this place also does Kachori Subzi. Then they are famous for their unique Moong Dal Samosa. This is available from noon onwards. I am yet to try that but I am told that the moong dal filled samosa is quite tasty and different.
Next time when you go for your desi fix for breakfast in the vicinity, you may like to ditch the usual ones and give a try to these outlets. Similarly, if you know of some other outlets which are not so famous and yet serve great dishes, do share with me. Till then…
Bon Appetite !!