Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Delhi Belly: 'Paranthe wali Gali'

In the heart of old Delhi's commercial hub, Chandini Chowk, lays a historical landmark since the time of the Mughals - the "Paranthe wali Gali." A very famous street, "Paranthe wali Gali" (‘gali' means street that sells ‘paranthas' - an Indian food delicacy, sort of chapatti) has seen almost three passed centuries. It houses descendants of the royal chefs of yore who make Paranthas that taste heavenly. So much so, that the Parantha is perhaps the only food in the world to have an entire street named after it!

The first impression of the gali is that of a bustling narrow by lane, crowds walking, bikes, cyclists' driving past, people browsing through the sari and jewellery shops! But as one strolls deeper into the street there begins an irresistible tingling sensation in the nostrils.

And one looks around sniffing the air for more of it and then you know for sure that you're in the right place. Sizzling hot paranthas are being fried here! Each day the dexterous hands of these chefs toss out the most amazing concoctions of a parantha.
Plain paranthas, salted or sweet paranthas, dal (pulses) ka parantha, gobhi ka parantha minced cauliflower), radish parantha, pudina parantha (mint), popadom parantha, cashew nut parantha - the variety is endless. You name it and they have it! All one is required to do is to knead some dough into small balls, roll it on a wooden base, addfillings ranging from cottage cheese, potatoes sprinkled with chopped ginger, and exotic Indian spices, fry it in ghee or butter and viola, it's the perfect recipe for a lip-smacking parantha.

At the moment there are about 40 varieties of paranthas and these chefs plan to add another 50 varieties in the coming years. The Paranthe wali gali caters only for the pure vegetarian - even no onion and no garlic!

What's different about the paranthas of Chandini Chowk is that they are fried in a kadhai, which is a griddle of sorts but very deep almost like an iron bowl. So the paranthas are doused in ghee or butter. The more oil used for frying the parantha the tastier it gets. It definitely is a satiating experience.

Earlier in the 1980s the gali had thirteen eateries cooking these sumptuous paranthas. But as more and more families are diversifying into other business ventures, only three families of Chandini Chowk are left in the field of parantha-making. It is their sixth generation that has taken on the endeavor to preserve the gali's name and offer the flavor of the past to the present.

31 comments:

Mehnaaz January 29, 2009 at 8:23 AM  

its one of the very finen old street food shop of old delhi, very good post

Tracy January 29, 2009 at 8:25 AM  

paranthas have lure of their own

Jyoti Dixit January 29, 2009 at 8:28 AM  

that was mouth watering read

Alec January 29, 2009 at 8:30 AM  

that was power of parantha

Preeti January 29, 2009 at 8:33 AM  

i love old delhi foods

Er. Nidhi Mishra January 29, 2009 at 8:43 AM  

Food to a large extent is what holds a society together and eating is closely linked to deep spiritual experiences

Dr.Nishi Chauhan January 29, 2009 at 8:44 AM  

Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress

Puja January 29, 2009 at 8:47 AM  

Food, one assumes, provides nourishment; but Americans eat it fully aware that small amounts of poison have been added to improve its appearance and delay its putrefaction.

Dr. Pragya bajaj January 29, 2009 at 8:49 AM  

Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort

Dr. Neha Srivastav January 29, 2009 at 8:49 AM  

Food...can look beautiful, taste exquisite, smell wonderful, make people feel good, bring them together, inspire romantic feelings....At its most basic, it is fuel for a hungry machine;....

Dr. Aradhna January 29, 2009 at 8:51 AM  

Food: Part of the spiritual expression of the French, and I do not believe that they have ever heard of calories.

Rohit Sharma January 29, 2009 at 8:52 AM  

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world

Ashok January 29, 2009 at 8:53 AM  

Food, one assumes, provides nourishment; but Americans eat it fully aware that small amounts of poison have been added to improve its appearance and delay its putrefaction

Anonymous,  January 29, 2009 at 9:01 AM  

good to see this post on old delhi

Er. Paayal Sharma January 29, 2009 at 9:02 AM  

that was Delcious post
Yummy!!
:-)

Dr. Palki Vajpayee January 29, 2009 at 9:59 AM  

seems like one of the must visit

magiceye January 29, 2009 at 12:06 PM  

it sure is a fantastically appetizing place!!

R. Ramesh January 29, 2009 at 8:14 PM  

ya, tasty, yummi, delicious, mouth-watering..and there is no bus or train to delhi from sharjah...bahhh

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