The ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramzan is one of the most awaited periods for most foodies. In this month, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and enjoy a lavish spread after that. Born and brought up in the bylanes of old Delhi, I have fond memories of fasting throughout the day in the hope of getting to eat my Ammi’s best preparations at our Dastarkhwan. It’s the time when Purani Dilli comes alive and offers the best of the best in food. Every year, I do a food walk exploring new food joints and document the new changes.
This year, I witnessed some noteworthy additions, like Mewa Roti. It’s a cross between a sheermal and a Doodh Cheeni ka Paratha, topped with loads of pistachios or almonds, and dipped into ghee as soon as it is out of the tandoor. In my childhood, Chacha Muhammad Hussain at Bazaar Matia Mahal was the only one who sold fried chicken, which I relished every weekend whenever my father was at home. In recent years, I have seen Aslam chicken also getting popular for its butter laden grilled chicken. Though not a personal favourite, it definitely appeals to the masses.
After iftar, I remember gulping down the Gud ka Sherbet near Shaandar market or the Shikanji a staple at every house having rozadaars. But now, it’s the Pyar Mohabbat ka Sharbat outside Dojana House Masjid that’s a must-have. It’s a very interesting concoction of milk and freshly diced watermelon that refreshes the soul.
Babu Bhai Kebab Wale outside Sheerin Bhawan are good for Seekh Kebabs on the go. Once through with some quick bites, the main course has to be the Nihari by Haji Shabbarati, followed by the now famous Toufiq ki Dil Pasand Biryani. I liked Shabbarati for their spiciness and wonderful Siki Hui Roti straight out of the tandoor on to my plate. Toufiq, the smart chap who worked under Mota Pehelwan at his Biryani shop, started his own outlet after couple of years of training and the rest is history. As the time for Sehri approached, a bowl of Pheni dunked in hot milk was good enough to get ready for the next Roza.