Old Delhi-Waking through unexplored streets, Spice trail, some Vegetarian food

Chandni Chowk seems to be on every tourist’s wish list nowadays. A foodie qualifies to be a foodie, only if he has an Insta post eating jalebi at Jalebi waala, at Dariba Kalan. A perfect Delhi 6 picture brings accreditation to a budding photographer. For a family, it feels proud of taking their guests from abroad, or an Indian relative, around Delhi 6.

There is more than this to Delhi 6. Past Era look, busy markets, food hawkers, crazy traffic choking the streets, and myself negotiating my way on the footpath, as these walkways are also no less than a trade world in themselves.

I have seen Delhi 6 from the edge at Red Fort till the farthest point which is in Sadar Bazaar, all on foot, in the hunt of all that my chocolate business required a lot of packaging and decorative material, and my hunt took me to the streets of Chandni Chowk, where focus was only to search for what was required as those days were demanding and so was my work.

Food was summoned for,  due to hunger than as an explorer, and over years a lot of points became a favourite.

This trip of mine to Chandni Chowk was not about work, or shopping, nor did I set out to prove anything. I just felt that there is still a lot which is untouched and I have really never tried to walk through these streets with an  open eye….

Chandni chowk is best approached either by getting down at Chandni chowk metro station, which brings you close to Red fort, Main bazaar, the Sheesh Ganj Gurudwara , Jama masjid.

While getting down at Chawri Bazar Metro Station, is more for shoppers for Chawri bazar, and walk up to reach Sadar bazar from here ( which is otherwise more approachable form New Delhi Station).

My today’s SPice trail, was more about walking through the streets starting at Haus Kazi at Chawari to explore the biggest spice market of Asia, Kharo Baoli.

When I started at Haus Kaazi to walk towards the Baans Bazaar, inquisitive, exploring eyes started to get  their immediate feed, with huge Utensil shops,  all commercial vessels, specific to the catering industry piled in shops, large laddles, pans, trays, the Aluminum all around .I have walked that street if not more than at leat a 20 times before this. This time, it felt like a untold tale, as the explorer in me wore a different lens.

A little ahead,  Egg dealers, with Huge piles of eggs all around,was just too fascinating, for a baker, who has witnessed just a fraction of what any shop had on display.

Eggs wholesaler

Then started the Bans Bazaar, which is a hub of traders for the betel leaves. With more than 30 variety from Orissa, Calcutta, and Varanasi, and for an complete ignorant on the subject, everything looked same, just a difference of color, and size, left no major impression. While the masters of trade, all happy to share their knowledge, and made me taste a few leaves.

This part of the market sees wholesale dealers of Tobacco, Kattha, and all that u need to make A Paan.

Every street is designated to on or few specific  Spice/ set of Spices, Where the street selling Just Sweeteners, and all possible form of sugar,  Misri, Makhana, Powdered, Crystal, a whole Science of sugar making, a vast topic in itself, though way beyond my capacity, I was happy looking carefully at what’s on display, walking around  like any other curious travelers, smirking around in hope of some courteous conversation.

As I reached the point which is actual Khari Baoli, the Aroma, from spices, introduced the place, without me actually looking for a sign board.

Sacks of rose leaves, chilies, some unknown, unheard spices, all this is way too fancier than a decked up mart. One gets to know more and closely, and so much exists and goes unexplored. The dried kachri, dried Gvar beans, and many such culinary Ingredients have always been of Gourmet presence to our halwais ( The local Chefs) and are catching the fancy of our trained Gourmet chefs.

The market is not just about spices, vendors, have more to offer, Like A small vendor on the street selling Pahari Garlic, and he is an instantly available encyclopedia on its uses, benefits, which of course is possible to be verified, thanks to Google Invasion. There are shops selling just specific medicinal value herbs and ingredients, which I could quickly relate to.

Resin like Loban, used in incense stick, is readily avaialble and can be used as a natural mosquito repellant. One can know more on this wonder resin @ .https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loban

In the world of online shopping, And Decked up  Shopping Marts , its thrillling when I Saw Shops secifically selling Papads, Vadian, and all kinds of rice, basically formed a section for wholesale provision shopping.

As U walk ahead The market changes into a dry fruit market. Figs, Dates, Almonds, I could see almost dry fruits from all over the globe. A more familiar end of the market, yet when I walked across the street, it was a less explored end.

Such is the beauty of these streets and markets in Delhi 6. A street would look familiar one day, while a part of it would set ur curiosity on a high, the other day.

By now as I was Hungry and my curiosity needed more feed, I came across a few eateries, which may not have evolved with time, but serve the same good old food, that make them exist there for all these decades, over generations.

Chandni chowk, is better known as a foodies’s paradise. All u need to know is what is ur immediate craving, and I was Craving for large Naan and a gravy kind of whole some lunch.

I could walk my way towards the end of Khari Baoli, and walked up to Kake Di Hatti. A small dingy joint, but u cant stop urself if ur soul is asking for some soul stirring food. I, then, without getting my super sensitive eye scanners on, Just head and seat to enjoy these divine Naans. The portions are too hearty, and I had to literally request another table to help me finish my naan, and I shared a bite from there Gravy, of dhuaandhar Paneer, which actually set my senses on fire with the spice level, but left a beautiful flavour, which I enjoyed, till I reached My Dessert stop.

Giani’s rabri Faluda, the original Faluda shop, and I bet U need some GUTS to finish that one glass of Faluda . Rich, delicious, and best in town.

While walking back past Fatehpuri, One cant’t miss the Popular Halwai Shop ( Sweet shop)  Chaina Ram. Popular for some traditional sweets, Like Gajar ka halwa, Karachi Halwa, Pinni, they also serve some amazing  Choley Bhature, which of course were not fitting in this trip of mine.

Now as I had to walk my way back, and reach Chawri for taking my metro back, I reached the Haus Kazi chowk, and one cannot miss to stop by, and satisfy the foodie’s cravings for Chaat at Ashok Chaat Bhandar. what I svere by at this shop, is the way they serve Kalmi Bada , which is fried lentil patties, and the Chaat here has Kachaloo( Tapioca), as a filling, which I just love. And of course Chaat shop, and One cannot resist the Paani Puri.

Now my last hunt was for the Kuremal Kulfi Waala as he is the pioneer in making Fruit stuffed with Kulfi.

Finding the shop, is a bit of a challenge as u walk through narrow unknown streets, looking at ur google map, and one point it just refuses to work, then the age old human google maps, come to rescue, when u can ask anyone and they will direct you.

As the weather was not that anyone would crave for a kulfi, it looked like I was one rare visitor of the day. And as a customary practice what I got myself packed was some seasonal apple kulfi.

While walking  around the spice market, what all I bought back for myself, was Some Kamrakh(star fruit), Some amazing persimmon. do not go around asking for Persimmon, either spot it or ask for Japani Phal.

Some missing in my Pictures are a lots of spices, like Kokum, Kachri, Kattha( Acacia Catechu).

While the Kachri went into Marination of meat, Kokum made me some amazing summer drinks, https://milesnmeals.com/kokum-sharbat-kokum-drink/, Kattha or the Acacia resin, which is otherwise used for the beetle preparation, was used as an Ingredient to my Hair oil.

Delhi 6 is a maze of streets and every time you, make sure you explore the unexplored.

Persimmon, and Star fruit got me a bowl of salad, and Breakfast bowl.