Friday, April 03, 2009

yeh dilli hai meri jaan...

Seems like yesterday when I set foot at the Delhi tarmac on a chilly grey morning in January and almost by the blink of an eyelid, its one month now...And no, I have neither visited Agra nor done the usual touristy things in full measure, though definitely I can be held guilty of visiting Dilli Haat couple of times and hogging momos, dhabeli and misal pav at the food stalls there.

Huh! I could n't resist, after all!

To think I started writing with the noble intention of penning down my experiences in Delhi and not speak of food, but hey, hold on a second...How can one be in Delhi and not speak, think, wonder, talk, smell, listen to or (finally!) eat the food in Delhi? Not unless one is totally indifferent to food in the overall plate of life!

Delhi is truly not just our national capital but our street food capital as well. Life of the common man revolves around food. There is potato and panneer in almost everything. Sample this: Morning starts off with aalu parantha for breakfast, and typically it is served with some dal/gravy which has some pieces of boiled potatoes floating in it. For lunch, the menu is for your asking - rotis (made of wheat flour with a drop of ghee, thankfully!) And along with that is always one of the above in the combination as below :

A) aalu gobi/ aalu capsicum/ aalu matar/methi aalu/aalu jeera ...or

B) matar panneer/ panneer capsicum/ panneer butter masala/ palak panneer...

On some lucky days, I get vegetable korma which is sinfully rich, being made in cashew paste and having a generous portion of aalu and panneer besides carrots, beans and cauliflower.

I got frustrated by this overdose of aalu and panneer and ordered chana bathura one afternoon only to stunningly discover that the bathura had some small pieces of panneer stuffed in it and the yummy chana masala had couple of big pieces of boiled potatoes in it (which of course got the cold shoulder treatment from me)!

Oh, by the way, if you do get bored with aalu and panneer, there is always chole masala, dal makhani and rajma masala. And over and above all this, there is the delectable world of chaat! Samosa, Papdi chat (ok, that also has boiled potatoes in it), bhel puri, sev puri, dahi bhalla, kachori....

Having not one sweet tooth but many, how can I not bring up the gala array of desserts available - the hot moong dal halwa or the gaajar ka halwa, the hot, juicy and succulent gulab jamun or the crisp jalebis, just out of the kadai! My tongue just swirls around the malai and milk based sweets (I can't even recollect their names any more, just their taste lingers in me). Not to even utter a word about the creamy kulfis and the rabri falooda....

If a way to a woman's heart is through her stomach, Dilli sure has captured my heart!

With temptations galore and my succumbing to them with full gusto, am on the fast track to becoming an aalu or a shapeless block of panneer!

Ce n'est pas juste, mais c'est la vie! :(
- 1st March 2009

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