In this third and final part of my series on Lucknow Food, I share with you some of the good street food points or outlets to enjoy the local delicacies. In this food story today, I list down for you Where To Have Kachaloo Chat, Sprouts Chat, Matar Chat, Tamatar Pakora, Matar Sohal, City’s most popular Samosa, Makhan-Malai, Malai Gilori and few others. Yes, we did go to Royal Cafe, Shukla, Ram Ashrey and quite a few others. Did we have the regular famous items or something else? To know more, please read on…
In my last two parts on Where To Eat In Lucknow, I had talked of Breakfast Options and Where To Have Lunch And Dinner (links to those stories are at the end of this story). Here in this piece, I share with you some popular and some not so popular eating points which are serving some amazing street food or Chat or Mithai. So, let us start with some healthy stuff.
Sprouts On The Go
Remember? We talked of the famous Sharma Ji Ki Chai in the city. Right next to it, outside the main gate of the park, this cart is parked. I suggest, before leaping towards Sharma ji for your cuppa, try this one. We were impressed with the hygiene maintained by the person. So, could not resist a plate of Sprouts Chat. A bowl of our Chat contained sprouted Moong Dal, Sprouted Black Chana, Boiled Beans, Boiled Peanuts, Chopped Tomatoes, some Seasoning and Lemon Juice. This was such a refreshing and healthy start to our day. This is a must try. Google Location: https://goo.gl/maps/u52fYTG6Ba3QmzV28
From Aminabad Chowk, while going towards Prakash Kulfi on the Fruit Lane, take the first left and right there you would find this gentleman with this unassuming stall perched in between garment merchants. He sells only Matar Sohal. What is it? Sohal is somewhat similar to the thin triangular Khasta Mathi we get in the north. He prepared a Matra Chat (whitepeas chat), on a dried leaf, with Boiled Matra, basic Seasoning, Lemon Juice and Chutney. Then he added chopped Onions and Green Coriander Leaves. He then crushed a Sohal and sprinkled it on the Chat. A basic Chat yet a combo of textures and flavours. Just adding a Sohal over the Matra lifted the entire thing to the next level. A must try. Google Location: Not a listed outlet. You have to follow the cues mentioned above.
A little ahead of this Matar Sohal point, there is Kotwali Aminabad. Just outside its main gate, you would find this cart selling assortment of Pakoras which are being continuously fried fresh and being enjoyed by the locals. Although we did try some of the regular ones such as Baingan, Aloo and Mirchi Pakoras, what actually caught my fancy was Tamatar Pakora (Tomato Fritter). The bright red Tomato peeping out of the golden yellow fried crust was a great sight. I took the first bite and it was a unique combination of tanginess of tomato with the crispy crust of the fritter. The Green Chutney with which it was served was the perfect condiment to go with it. Do not forget to pose in front of the Kotwali Gate and beware of the cops before they drag you in. Google Location: Look out or ask for Kotwali Aminabad.
On the other side of the gate of Aminabad Kotwali, just opposite to the famous Netram Ajay Kumar Sweets, we spotted this cart selling roasted Shakarkandi (Sweet Potato). He was roasting this root vegetable in sand. What an aroma it was giving out in the air. We could not move ahead and asked him to prepare a portion for us. A freshly roasted piece was peeled, cut and sprinkled with Chat Masala and Lemon Juice. The bowl was a delight to look at and a real enjoyment to savour sweet-sour-tangy combo.
Google Location: https://goo.gl/maps/LQgHLBER1mdFz3gi9 (location of Netram)
Kachaloo Chat & Dahi Bhalla
What Tunday is to the Meat Lovers, Royal Cafe on the main Hazarat Ganj Road is to the Chat Lovers. A must visit place for its touristy importance and to get clicked with a local Celebrity . You could be part of the evening festivities and have some good fun. Having Chat here could be incidental.
You could easily locate this place for there will be a huge rush on the pavement outside this outlet during the evenings. You could see groups enjoying their Chat and a smiling, white clad gentleman swiftly moving from one group to another, posing for pictures and selfies. This is Hardayal Maurya, the local celeb, known as the Celebrity Chat King. He has a dedicated mobile camera photographer who almost follows him to each group. And if you are lucky, then you might feature on his Instagram handle the next day, without any description though.
Now coming to Chat, I wanted to ditch their famous Tokri Chat or the Basket Chat. Have tried it earlier and am not a big fan of it. Instead, a brief talk with Hardyal Maurya and he himself was behind the counter, making Kachaloo Chat for me. Boiled Kachaloo (Taro) slices were seasoned with spices and sprinkled with green coriander leaves and lemon juice. Well it was a welcome change from the regular one. This was followed by a portion of my favourite Dahi Bhalla and a complimentary serving of Hajmola, their creation of Aam Papad mixed with various spices and turned into a paste. The claim is that whatever you eat, this chyawanprash kind of paste would help you to digest it. Of course, it was time to say good bye to Hardayal Maurya, but not before a couple of clicks. Google Location : https://goo.gl/maps/vCPXY9p6djf9EuaZ8
After Royal Cafe, head to nearby Nawal Kishore Road and reach Shukla Chat House. The look of the outlet might seem to be a sort of anti-climax compared to the huge fan following it has. It is a rustic kiosk on the road side. Besides, Pani Ke Batase (Golgappe or PaniPoori) and Aloo Tikki, the most famous item here is Matar Chat. Now, this one comes in two versions. One like a common chat with Dahi, Chutney and spices and then it is also served with just Lemon Juice and some spices. We were advised to go for the later. The White Peas (Matara) is boiled and mashed to give it a shape of a tikki. These are then seared on slow flame over a griddle. To prepare a portion, a tikki is crushed, added with some spices and lemon juice. Green Coriander Leaves and a Golgappa is finally crushed and sprinkled over it before serving. It is different. A must try at least once. Google Location: https://g.page/ShuklaChaatHazaratganj?share
City’s Famous Samosa
If Shukla Chat is on your left, walk ahead for about 200 meters and on your right would be this unassuming kiosk, with no signboard. Two, relatively shy, young men could be seen serving a medium sized Samosa to the huge rush in front their outlet. It was fresh hot, crisp, golden fried Samosa which gave an aroma of good quality dough and the oil in which it was fried. The Aloo stuffing inside seemed unique with balanced flavours encased in a crispy crust. A true Samosa lover can not afford to miss this one.
Google Location: https://goo.gl/maps/83wZRBL9dJHV6qQdA
Remember in my first part of this series, I had talked about Bajpayee Kachori? Well, bang opposite this outlet is Ram Ashrey Sweets. They are famous for their Malai Gilori, a sweetmeat. We asked for one each for four of us. A trianglur shaped, pale white Mithai which had a cover of Warq (silver foil) and a glaze of sugar syrup was served to us. The outer pillowed casing had a texture of airy yet thick Malai which was wrapped like a Pan (Beatle leaf). It was slightly tricky to try to cut it with a spoon. I picked it up and took a bite. The thick outer layer lead me to the dry fruits stuffing inside. A combo of textures and different shades of sweetness. This is surely a culinary marvel which reminded me of Makhan Samosa I had tried last year in Agra (read here). If you have a sweet tooth like me or even otherwise, this is a must try.
Google Location: https://g.page/ramasreysweets?share
What Daulat Ki Chat is in Delhi (read my story of it here), Maliyo is in Varanasi, Nimish is in Kanpur, in Lucknow it is Makhan Malai. All these are variants of a same recipe and yet each is different. Head to Chowk Area in the morning and you would find many vendors lined up selling this delicacy. Our man, Jagdish Sharan, sits on the right, under an umbrella.
You can’t miss him. He has Lassi, Flavoured Milk and the hero dish Makhan Malai. The milk foam is topped with some Rabri, Warq (silver foil), Cardamom Powder and Pistachio. It is an amazing stuff which melts in your mouth leaving a refreshing feel. You would want more. The Saffron flavoured Cold Milk is served with a topping of this Milk Foam and a dash of Rabri. I had a glass which kept me going till late evening. You get a feeling of fullness without bloating. A quick chat with the man himself and he told me that a couple of years ago, a leading Brand name in Mithai in Delhi had invited him to recreate the magic of Makhan Malai for its customers. He shared that he did go and spent about a week there but the purity of ingredients what you get in Lucknow was missing there and hence the same product could not be replicated. Although it was a big hit with the customers there in Delhi. This Makahan Malai in Chowk is an absolute bliss and is strongly recommended. Google Location: Unlisted location. Therefore, please follow the directions as above.
Moongphali On The Road
At the end, this one makes an appearance here for a peculiar reason. Moongphali or Peanuts are more or less the same every where. The most interesting part was the accompaniment we got with it. Standing on a road, while waiting for our cab, we bought some Peanuts from a passing vendor. What we got with it was a Green Chutney poured over a dry Masala. A bit of it in the mouth and it was hot spicy and yet tangy and flavourful. Frankly, I can’t describe the flavourful punch it gave. The process is that you take a couple of grains of Peanut in your mouth and follow it up with a lick of this concoction. The combo is unmatchable in taste. One has to experience it. If you visit the city when Moongphali is available, you must try.
So, Breakfast done, Lunch & Dinner done and now Street Food, Chat and Makhan Malai also done. With this my 3-part series on Lucknow Food Exploration comes to an end albeit for the time being. I am sure there are many more outlets and dishes to be tried. If you know of some such hidden gems, do share with me. Till then…
Bon Appetite !!
Please read my earlier two blog posts on Lucknow Food Exploration here:
Where To Have Vegetarian Breakfast In Lucknow
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