Old Delhi and Food The Perfect Gourmet Affair

From sweet Shahi Tukda to the savoury Nihari, Delhis affair with winter delicacies is as old as the city itself
Old Delhi has had a long standing association with food
Old Delhi has had a long standing association with food

As the monkey-cap comes calling to the Capital, and there is a nip in the air, Delhi renews its love for woollens and winter delicacies that are best relished as your bones threaten to die on you. Whether your heart craves for a sumptuous breakfast or a sweet tooth that won&rsquot stop nagging, the chill in Delhi brings with it seasonal treats for everyone.

Halwa Tales

A total desi favourite of all seasons, Halwa is to winters what ice cream is to summers. And the varieties that it takes on tell a tale of their own. In the Capital, willing confectioners have been catering to our winter blues for generations, such as Chaina Confectioners, one of the earliest shops in Delhi, which is famous for its delicious and rubbery Karachi Halwa, made out of cornstarch. Gur or jaggery is also an indispensable winter essential and finds takers when it turns into Gur ka Halwa, with oodles of ghee, cardamom powder, saffron and dry fruits. And with Moong Dal ka Halwa, especially at Gulati&rsquos, you can anticipate a faint hint of ghee and the delight as the dessert melts in your mouth.

Nihari and Kebabs

Old Delhi and its non-vegetarian fare has made it a mecca for all gourmands, summer and winter alike. There are few experiences that come close to relishing a plate of piping hot Nihari and sheermal huddled around a fire that burns at desolate corners in the bylanes of Nizamuddin. Known for its old school desi Mughal style of cooking, Haji Shabrati Nihari Wale near Jama Masjid serves one of the best mutton and nalli nihari in the city. A tough competition is the delectable combination of kebabs and rumali roti, which pairs especially well with mint or coriander chutney and crispy onion rings, especially at Ustad Moinuddin Kebab in Chawri Bazaar.

Daulat ki Chaat

A culinary gem, this dessert, made of hand-beaten milk condensed with khoya and chenna, emerges from a slumber every winter in Delhi, with its soft, velvety consistency calling out to droves of lovers in the Capital. Furthest from our definition of a chaat, the creamy wonder is a staple at Khemchand Chaat Wala, and a few other places in Chandni Chowk. In the bylanes, legend goes that the sweet could only be made in moonlit nights, and that probably could be true at the time, because the dessert loses its consistency (and taste) in the summers.  

Bedmi Puri with sabzi

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Who doesn&rsquot love a good, mind-numbingly filling breakfast on a warm winter morning Treat your taste buds to the uber delicious, deep-fried and crisp, Bedmi Puri, which feels like a warm hug in the teeth-chattering winters of north India. Shyam Sweets in Chawri Bazaar, a 100-year-old shop credited with inducing winter nostalgia, is run by the fifth generation of the same family. The spicy and savoury sabzi, with its abundance of spices, served with a side of onions and pickles, crackle on your taste buds, and stays with you long after you&rsquore done eating, much like the city itself. 

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