Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A date with mungphalis & gazzaks in Delhi

Winters are here! And although Delhi isn’t shivering the way it usually does (Global warming..eh?) Delhiites are out to enjoy winters at their enthusiastic best, be it flocking to malls dolled up for Christmas or meeting up for Sunday brunches in Lodi Gardens.

Talking of winter fun takes me to my childhood days. My mother would bring lot of groundnuts, peanut chikki, phulley (popcorns), rewri & different types of gazak & we would enjoy them on winter afternoons in the comfort of our sun facing balcony. The weather would be comfortably sunny so as to wrap me in its warmth, without making me feel sweaty. Even my dog would have his share of groundnuts. We used to sit around ma as she patiently peeled the groundnuts & stuff it in our mouths. My dog felt like a king as he enjoyed special pampering. Ma would create a line on the floor with peanuts and he would follow the line, eating each peanut.

The joy of evening adrak waali chai doubled as we relished roasted shakargandi (sweet potato). The sweet potato chaat, topped with tangy lemon juice & chaat masala would make me close my eyes and take chatkaarey as the tanginess hit my palate!

Although you will find gazak at every departmental store, popcorns, roasted groundnuts & sweet potato with every second hawker in Delhi, hubby & I decided to visit two places which every experienced Dilliwalla would flock to.

Our first spot was old barafkhana. As we hit the T point and take a left towards barafkhana, the road on the left greeted us with wholesale shops selling groundnuts, gazak, rewri & lot of winter goodies. There on the roadside were sellers with roasted sweet potatoes, kachaloo, potatoes & starfruits. The sweet potatoes were beautifully arranged & the green outlining with starfruit immediately caught my eyes. The guy even had hot charcoal in a small earthen vessel on which he roasted some fresh sweet potato. My mouth watered at the sight of my favorite shakargandi & I quickly bought a kilo, dreaming of the spicy, tangy chaat.

Next, we headed to Kishanganj. From Old Rohtak Road, take the lane called goushala marg. (Here's the google maps link - https://maps.google.co.in/maps?q=Kishanganj+Railway+Station,+Kishan+Ganj,+Sarai+Rohilla,+New+Delhi,+Delhi+110007&hl=en&ll=28.664251,77.20081&spn=0.004707,0.010568&geocode=FbhhtQEdrv2ZBA&hnear=Kishanganj+Railway+Station,+Sarai+Rohilla,+New+Delhi,+Delhi&t=m&z=17&iwloc=A).

The road is congested with horses on the sides and getting a place to park your vehicle is a hard nut to crack. Just outside the Kishanganj railway station, just near the bridge, there is a narrow lane full of tempting delights. My eyes twinkled with excitement as I spotted all my winter delights at a single place. There were different varieties of groundnuts, gazaks, roasted chanas, namkeens…the list is endless. Behind every shop was its workshop and I could see workers preparing different types of gazzaks. The aroma of gazzak dough took me in its awe & I couldn’t resist trying few. I could see aunties with their experienced palates, like connoisseurs, trying one gazzak after another and going for the one that passed their tests while the uncles waited.

We stopped by a shop named “Matka brand mungfali bhandar”. Interesting name…why matka? I thought. The owner smiled as I asked him the same. Perhaps he was amused that in the hustle bustle of this narrow street, someone bothered about the name, as most customers hurriedly tasted, ordered & carried their stuff away. He pointed out to a huge earthen pot on the side of the shop and said “madam, ye hai matka, jismein chaney aur mungphali roast kartey hain.”(This is the earthen pot in which we roast the chanas & groundnuts. The huge pot sat beautifully on an earthen base and besides the oven, were lying loads of chanas & groundnuts. I could also see a machine used to prepare gazak mixture. The shop had amazing hing (asafoetida) flavored chana. There was an impressive variety of gazaks, you name it & they have it. The shop even sold Muraina gazaks (Muraina is a place in UP famous for its gazaks and every second packet of gazak will mention the word “Muraina” even if it is locally made). 

I greedily tried on various gazaks before picking up my all time favorite mungpahi patti, nazuk gazak, rewri, til patti, hing flavored chanas, mungphalis & popcorns. I tempted to pack some more goodies but seeing the condition of my hubby's hands overloaded with my shopping, I decided to have some mercy on him.

1 comment:

  1. What a joyful experience.. Well Winter is now gone.. and I failed to visit Kishanganj... oo My bad!


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