Faqiri Muamalaat

EOiD trips are always an adventure, but the vegetarian excursions are a particular delight. Not because we’re all militant meat-haters. Quite the reverse in fact. However, despite the fact that most of us believe a meal without meat is no meal at all, our leader, Hemanshu, is committed to providing an equal opportunities dining experience.
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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.

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Iftar at Jama Masjid

It must be the age.

I can’t think of any other reason it took me a whole fortnight to figure out why I’d been looking at the world with such a jaundiced eye of late. Life had been toodling along quite nicely, until an EOiD plan in mid-September to visit Haji Noora’s had to be cancelled at the last moment — Ramzaan!

Most unfair, if you ask me, this whole business of fasting for a month, especially on us kafir carnivores. Rank deprivation from sun-up to sun-down for a whole month, without even the compensation of heavenly favours. Grrr.

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Ashoks the Great

Once upon a time there ruled over twentieth-century Indraprastha, not one but two Ashoks, whose empire stretched as far as the eye could see, and their fame even beyond.

Okay, granted that the eye couldn’t see very far at all in twentieth-century Indraprastha, but you get the gist.

Every day when the sun would set on their bonny kingdom, the Ashoks would collect their tithe, and transform it into a toothsome treat of mutton and chicken, curried in the richest of gravies, replete with desi ghee and the finest dry fruits their minions could muster.

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Momo’s affair

Zero is not India’s greatest contribution to mankind, it’s the Manchurian. What, with all the jeera, dhaniya, and even garam masala it seems right from the heart of the Guangdong province, doesn’t it?

The Nepali kancha cooking chowmein in that pseudo-wok (essentially a kadhai) isn’t all that bad, I’ve realized. I’ve had the ‘real’ Chinese – and no, House of Ming isn’t the absolute Chinese-Chinese — and I’ve had the Indian-Chinese. I’m a sucker for both, but it’s the Indie-Chinese that leaves you with that strong aftertaste of dark soy, chilli and garlic — reminiscent of the yum that was.
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A Hog Walk

The idea of a late evening walk originally came from food buff Monali, an Orkut friend who works for CSE (those obsessive warriors against pesti-colas). Last winter, we had taken a long walk through the bylanes of Old Delhi, sampling a variety of meaty and vegetarian fare dotted between Jama Masjid and Red Fort. Since another walk was long due and summers had arrived, Monali had suggested that we conjure one late evening stroll and turn it into a Hog Walk (her coinage). As luck would have it, Hemanshu popped up on my screen an evening later and floated an outing in Old Delhi. Things fell into place soon thereafter.
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A Night Stroll near Jama Masjid

Delhi’s answer to Lahore Food Street

[ed: we are thrilled to present our first guest column, by journalist and fellow foodie Pankaj Molekhi. Hopefully, this is the first of many to come!]

1900 hours: This is a time when shopkeepers in Delhi begin to pull down shutters; treetops get abuzz with homeward-bound birds; and Blueline buses are packed to capacity with sweaty human bodies. A time when nearly everybody is calling it a day. Nearly everybody!
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