Being born and brought up in India I have always loved the street food India has to offer. So when I was in India in November I took out time to go and explore a bit of Old Delhi, which I have visited in the past while researching for my book ‘Chai, Chaat & Chutney’. But there is so much more to see and taste and for this trip I went along with my sister Niti and Chef Manisha from ITC Maurya.
We headed into the narrow lanes around Jama Masjid and found this little restaurant serving delicious meat curries served with freshly made naan and tandoori roti and the best sheekh kebabs you could have with some spicy chutneys.
And just outside was a paan stall where I got to enjoy my favourite plain paan which is betel leaves filled with different powders, spice mixes and supari.
Next we walked through the streets taking in all the sounds and noises, the madness of the everyday market in its busiest time of the day. You can find all sorts of things being sold, with shoes to clothes to utensils and between these shops are little food stalls. This market particularly had more meat stalls, busy barbecuing marinated meats serving them with tandoori breads and lots of different chutneys.
Our next stop was the famous jalebi stall in Chandni chowk. After a bit of walk on the busy streets we finally found the stall which was heaving with people queuing or pushing each other to buy some of the famous jalebi, which were piped fresh in the hot oil and once cooked soaked into this sticky sugar syrup, all fresh and ready in minutes. These guys were working fast but the crowds didn’t seem to be getting smaller as more and more people kept coming to buy this. In the end all I can say is that those jalebis were worth all the effort.
The market is full of shops selling clothes and jewellery and between these shops I could see food stalls selling pani puri, kulfi, samosa, pakoras, rabdi and lot more. There were shops that were packed from top to bottom with different kinds of snacks like the bombay mix we all know very well here in the U.K.
Our next stop was a famous tikki chaat stall which was making these stuffed potato cakes and cooking them fresh and serving these hot crispy cakes with coriander chutney and tamarind chutney with some sweetened yogurt. The flavours packed in that dish alone was mind blowing.
On our way out of the market we found the Kanji vada stall which is lentil vadas served in tangy mustard water. I had never tasted that before and I immediately fell in love with the very refreshing flavour of the water and the vadas in it. Something I would love to try and make at home sometime soon.
This was a great way to end our little tour of the busy streets of old Delhi trying some delicious street food. Other than these shots I took on the day I have also made a very short video to give you a glimpse of the chaos and the amazing food on my Youtube channel ‘Food with Chetna’ link to the video here –