Kulle in Chawri Bazaar

Chalk another one up for Shashank.

Several months ago, when the delicate evening chill meant you could look forward to winter rather than mourn its passing, we’d done a wonderful Navratra trip to Bazaar Sitaram and its precincts.

That’s when he’d dragged us to his favourite chaatwaala in Chawri Bazaar to show us something quite special.

 Hira Lal Chaat WaaleIn the night, once the paper traders of Chawri Bazaar have downed their shutters and the throb of commerce has quietened to a murmur, Hira Lal Chaat Waale‘s shop stands out like a beacon by a darkening sea. Incandescent lamps light up a stack of fruits in a blaze of colour, and the warm aromas from the griddles draw you irresistibly in. For four generations, people have come here for their choice snack — alu chaat, fruit chaat, alu tikkis, and even pao bhaaji.

But hiding amongst the goodies is a charming nugget that is hard to find outside these parts: kulle, or kuliya, as they are often fondly called, are made by scooping out one of several vegetables into cup shapes, which are then filled with chick peas, pomegranate seeds, various tangy spices and a dash of lemon. Of course, the regulars like to have theirs just so: “bina nimbu ke, bhaiya“, “masala thop ke uncle!”


You can get your kuliya made from cucumber, sweet potato (shakkarkandi),  tomato, potato, apples, and if Shashank is to be believed, even pineapples in season. My favourite though, is the banana, which is slit lengthwise to allow space for the fillings, and provides the ideal contrapuntal sweetness to the sour masala. You could call it an authentic, All-Indian Banana Split!

Of course, Hira Lal’s is not the only place you can get your kuliya. As a matter of fact, just a few paces away on the other side of the street is another popular chaat shop, this one named Jugal Kishore Ramji Lal. This too has been around for four generations, and by Asmita’s account, they do a fine job of their kuliya. Her description revealed a slight difference in the recipe — they apparently fry their chick peas, while Hira Lal’s place likes to simply boil them. Sadly, they tend to shut shop a little earlier in the evening, so when I was in those parts last weekend, I didn’t get a chance to give them a try. But I will, next time!

Price: Rs. 30 for a small plate, but prices tend to vary depending on what fruit or vegetable the kuliya uses as a base.

Timings: Hira Lal’s shop shuts by 10pm at night, and tends to remain open all days of the week. Jugal Kishore Ramji Lal certainly shut shop by 9pm, perhaps much earlier.

Location: On the Chawri Bazaar main road, somewhere between Hauz Qazi Chowk and the intersection with Nayi Sadak. Close to Raghuganj. I’ve marked it approximately on our Google map here.


25 thoughts on “Kulle in Chawri Bazaar”

  1. hi guys,
    after doing lots of search online, i have made this list, i am coming to india on 24th of feb, and i m planning to visit these places. its good to see that you guys go to different kinds of shops and areas, i have taken so many ideas from your blog. keep it up and let me know if i m missing something.

    chandani chowk: can go by metro
    natraj aloo tikki wala,
    natraj dahi bhalle’s
    gyani’s faluda kulfi
    kedara chat walla’s in chawari bazar NEED ATLEAST 2 DAYS
    kinarai bazar- famous kachouri wala
    famous paranthe wali gali
    famous lassi’s
    sisganj gurudawara
    red fort
    jama masjid
    Canaught Place
    bangla sahib gurudwara-cp..nearest metro station..rajiv chowk..
    rakab ganj gurudwara-near cp..nearest metro station center secritrait..
    hanuman mandir-cp
    mc.d,wimpy’s n nirula’s..
    janpath has some good food joints for example Anand Restaurant
    barista.cafee coffee day’s n costa
    india gate
    Udupi, Sarvana Bhavan and Sagar Group
    pvr cinema’s
    parliament house and mogul gardens
    Karol Bagh
    karol bagh market
    famous faluda kulfi in karol bagh too..
    tour by delhi tourism
    jantar mantar
    laxmi narayan temple or birla mandir
    qutub minar
    bahai templeor lotus temple
    safdarjung tomb
    red fort

    iskon temple-south delhi
    Important Unkown Places and groups
    gandhi memorial (Raj Ghat)
    rose garden(chanakya puri) only important if there are roses
    nehru musium planetarium
    rail museium chankya puri
    Indira Gandhi Museum
    than metro walk mall
    ansal plaza
    adlabs movie theaters,fun cinema’s…for movies..
    Punjabi by nature restaurant
    Giani’s ice-cream parlour
    ..nagpal cholle bhature..
    delhi haat..its far can go by auto..nearby south delhi..sarojni nagar..
    handicraft museum
    humayun tomb
    Kamla Nagar
    nanak piau gurudwara-near university
    kamla nagar market…
    momo’s point in kamala nagar..on banglow road..behind market..
    cholle bhature:chacha’s cholle bhature in kamla nagar
    Pahar Ganj
    sitaram’s diwan chand in paharganj
    Ap ki Pasand in daryaganj main road.
    Delhi HAAT
    lodhi gardens
    sarojani nagar market.
    delhi haat…
    Not so important Places to visit
    lajpat nagar market..can go by auto itself..
    nehru museum and planetorium
    parikrama restaurant
    sadar bazaar
    pragati maidan.
    old fort n zoo..

  2. I have tried it once long time back somewhere in chawri bazaar, dont remember the shop name. At that time, it failed to excite me……will surely go and try it again sometime…..good write up as always 🙂

  3. And I thought Jumman Chaat Waala at Zakir Husain College had invented the ‘kuliya’. Jumman Chaat shop has been around for at least 30 years, if not more, first in the old campus of ZHC (erstwhile Delhi College) at Ajmeri Gate and now in the new campus opposite Ram Lila Ground, Jawaharlal Nehru Marg. He uses potatoes and sweet potatoes. We love his chaat.

  4. Hi all,
    does anyone have info regarding couple of places I loved abt 40 odd years ago. (BTW I am an expat living in Canada now)
    1. A channe bhature place, operaing out of a hole in the wall (to be more precise a window) in the metropolitan cafe nr Kashmiri gate.
    2. A sikh gentleman with a hand cart who did a fabulous fish fry in the roundabout where Pusa Rd met Link Rd (near Jhandewalan)

    Any help would be appreciated

  5. Hi hemanshu

    So as you we too have started a small effort on our own for the foodies in Delhi. I hope if you could see the website and discuss and put it on your blog and help other foodies in delhi.

  6. Aaahh… This is brill !!!!!! I usually find my own places to eat ’cause I like discovering ’em on my own… But this is fantastic! You could cover German Bakery in Paharganj too… And there is this nifty little place in KG Road… Anand dhabha, behind the bus stop on the side BCL is. They have something called brain curry! Yay! I like this blog 🙂

  7. Just saw your episode with Andrew. Your presentation was awesome. Thank you 🙂

    BTW i’m in your ignore list in orkut .

    Thankful for that too 🙂

    Keep enjoying the divine food


  8. Saw you on Bizarre Foods with Andrew – those were some neat places and food combinations, i’d love to visit Delhi one day. Keep it up. 😉

  9. @ Prabhu (Sicko) and Ryan: Thanks for the appreciation! 🙂 Now if only I could get to watch that episode — no Travel Channel here in India, you see!

    Hopefully someone will put it up on youtube.

  10. I never try momo. so,I will surely go at momo point in kamla nagar. I am fond of eating that’s why can you add here some other extra kulfi and ice cream points except roshan di kulfi b’coz I have alredy tried it.

  11. Hi
    have you chaps stopped eating since Feb ?????????
    we have just returned to delhi after many years away .. and discovered your blog .. which is superb .. we just wish you would keep eating … …

  12. did you by any chance get a copy of the Andrew Zimmern’s delhi episode ? They are going to air it today in the travel channel . I can make a copy for you, if you want one.

  13. Andrew’s show in Delhi had a dish that was made out of milk, which he likened to a mikk souffle (if i am not wrong).
    What was that dish and where do u get it?

  14. That dish was Makhan Malai, also called Nimish or Daulat ki chaat, In delhi you can get it in the Chawri Bazaar road, where u can see 2-3 vendors till afternoon during winters only.

  15. Thanks for responding to Vinay, Varun. Yes, in Delhi it’s called Daulat ki Chaat. I’ve written about it briefly here.

    And at least in my experience, it’s easier to look for the vendors in Kinari Bazaar and Dariba Kalan than in Chawri Bazaar.

  16. Hira Lal or even Jugal Kishore used to be good, but their quality has been going down over past 7-8 years…..if you want to try the really good stuff, try the guy who sits with his Bamboo tokra on the corner of Sita Ram Bazar, just besides Ashok Chat Corner…….his spices are really good and ask him to use his special peela masala for the really tangy chat…..problem with Hira lal or jugal kishore is that they use substandard black masala which is mostly over roasted jeera and coriander…..and leaves a bitter after taste……real chat should tickle the palate and should leave it yearning for more……one can also try the chat at the rehdiwala outside the Krishna Dry Cleaners in Darya Ganj market…..from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm….his is really good as well.

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