If you love Chhole Kulche or Matar Kulcha to be precise. If you love Chhole Bhature or the old time Tawa Kulcha to be precise; and if you are fond of Kadhi Chawal. Then, you must visit this unassuming, make shift stall on a pavement in the posh New Delhi and you would be in for a surprise on many counts. In tune with the high end surroundings, this place serves you some good quality stuff. Where ? Please read on for the details.
Khushi Ram Ke Chhole Kulche
This might be a shorter food story as compared to my usual posts but I was so enamoured with this one that I had to dedicate a post.
On a wintery weekend, when the fog engulfed our Delhi and the visibility was about few meters, we went to Mandi House, New Delhi to look for this stall. In the College Lane, on the back wall of the famous Lady Irwin College, young Kushi Ram sets up his stall every day. We reached there at around 9 in the morning and could see a few people already enjoying the stuff or were waiting for their order to be prepared.
As we approached, we were warmly greeted by the smiling Khushi Ram. A closer look of his working table and we were impressed with the hygiene he maintained. Each and every item was neatly placed and kept absolutely tidy. He himself was very active and moved his hands in swift mechanised manner to prepare the order. Even moving a few steps away to pick up some stuff was in a quick movement. Had his mask on all the time (till I asked him to lower for the picture and went back again). Now let us talk about his food.
Chhole Kulche / Matar Kulcha
He informed that he would serve us Sooji Kulcha (as against the regular one baked with refined flour). That aroused our interest even more. But I must say that the actual hero was the Chhole or the Matar (pigeon peas) or Matara, what it is actually called. A peep into the vessel revealed freshly boiled, neatly stored, Matar in a pool of its broth. He quickly ladled out a couple of spoons in a small pan and started adding ingredients. What finally came out was a delight to look at. A typical bowl of golden Matara, ingulfed in spices, playing hide and seek with chopped tomatoes, onion slices and fresh coriander leaves. Gave the aroma of freshness of the Matara. First spoonful in the mouth and the flavours exploded on the palate. The Pigeon Peas were firm and yet soft like melt in mouth. The spices were well balanced and the variety of textures made the whole thing taste very good.
The oval shaped Sooji Kulcha vanished in few seconds. It looked like a normal one and yet it was crisp on the out and yet the crust led into a soft interior. Was not heavy at all.
The Tawa Bhatura was a thin crust bread with minimal oil on the surface. Resembled a Roti (Indian flat bread) and yet gave you that satisfying taste of Bhatura. In our school days, there were vendors who would have mounted all their set up on the carrier or the bicycle and serving same Tawa Bhatura. We had our Bhatura with the same Matara ( barring Tuesdays and Saturdays, he prepares a slightly runny Chhole to go with the Bhatura and Matara to go with the Kulcha.
Khushi Ram also has Raita which he prepares in an earthen pot (pitcher). A peep into the pot revealed that it was a good quality Raita. He served us in a disposable glass. It was thick and made out of good quality Curd. Had Jeera and chopped Green Chili in it. Even in the cold early morning, it was a refreshing delight to enjoy.
So, on Tuesdays and Saturday, he makes Kadhi Chawal. So, we had to taste that too. I must say, the very look of the Kadhi was a killer. The golden yellow concoction had a silky texture and had a very well balanced tempering of spices. The pakora in it was of a good size, very full of flavours and super soft. The rice was of good quality and made a great combo. In our excitement, we shot a short video of us enjoying the Kadhi Chawal which garnered good number of views on my social media accounts.
This is a hidden gem in the by lanes of Mandi House, a posh area in New Delhi. The stall may be serving street food but is of a very good quality. And Khushi Ram takes pride and displays passion in serving his customers. Do visit him if you are around. And if you know of more places like this, do share with me. Till then…
Bon Appetite !!
My previous blogposts on Chhole Bhature / Chhole Kulche :