Published on: Saturday, March 7, 2020
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Old Delhi or Purani Dilli is the most historic part of the greater city of Delhi, India. It was founded as a walled city named Shahjahanabad. It is known for the monuments and numerous bazaars lined with shops selling almost everything ranging from garments, books and jewellery to spices, perfumes and electronics. It is now a city caught between the nostalgia of a bygone age and the haste of modernisation. The chaos that ensues from this polarity is what gives Old Delhi its distinct character. Anubhav considers it to be his second home not only because it has been his prime workplace for nearly a decade but also because it over here he has fostered some cherished connections with the genial locals. And when we think of Old Delhi its lip smacking food scene hogs the limelight.
Today’s video is not about any gastronomic expedition across Old Delhi. Rather it is about the grand wedding feast colloquially known as Dawat-e-Walima of Old Delhi’s one of the most loved dessert vendors Danish Bhai from the celebrated Cool Point in Matia Mahal, Delhi-6. We were so glad to be invited for this scintillating celebration that allowed us to get along with some old friends and well wishers that includes the proprietors of some of the legendary eateries in this area and also some of the best Mughlai Chefs from Delhi. It was a full Old Delhi styled feast where all the dishes were part of the quintessential Old Delhi cuisine. And for this Danish Bhai had brought in the best chefs representing the different areas of Mughlai cuisine.
As we had intended to cover the whole feast scene, we reached the venue quite early. At one part of the wedding venue the marquee was being erected and decorated while on the other side food was being prepared on a humongous scale. We first met Imran Bhai and Nayeem Bhai who are a specialist in gravies, curries and biryanis. They were preparing the all time favourite main course dishes Mutton Biryani, Nihari, Kashmiri Chicken and Mutton Korma. We saw how these rich, robust and opulent dishes are prepared. Each one of them tasted heavenly. The deep flavours and aromas from the same is still etched in our memories. Nayeem Bhai and his associates are masters of their craft.
Next was the turn of an array of traditional flatbreads that are an indispensable part of Old Delhi’s cuisine. The bread maker was again a renowned baker from Okhla. The sight and smell of the tandoor baked bread made us restless. We were fascinated by the dexterity of these bakers who were speedily doling out these fresh stuffs with such mastered ease.
Finally the venue was ready for the guests. Food was set. For the starters there were the iconic chicken and fish fry that was being prepared by the team from Haji Mohammed Fried Chicken Shop. This humble fried thing was so irresistible. The joy of eating this delicacy multiplied when Haji Bhai himself joined us in the feast. Sharing a plate of fried chicken and halwa paratha was such a cherished opportunity. We wrapped up our eating spree with a luscious serving of Shahi Tukda and Kheer that came from the bridegroom’s workshop followed by an evitable Paan. What an ecstatic time we had at this wedding reception bonding with our friends from Old Delhi and tasting the best Mughlai dishes. We thanked Danish Bhai for the arrangements and also extended our greeting to him for the occasion.
About the host - Anubhav Sapra:
Anubhav Sapra is an avid culinary explorer who loves to travel and explore different cuisine primarily the street food, not just for the sake of gustatory pleasure but also for quenching his deep thirst for nurturing new cultural connections through the kaleidoscopic canvas of food. He believes that the vibrant and delectable street food tradition across the globe has the power to bring communities together and foster harmonious human existence. To know more, visit www.anubhavsapra.com
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Design and filmed by Rahul Singh
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Text by Swetaleena Nayak