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Dilli 6: Culinary legacy continues against all odds

Originality, legacy, a loyal customer base and word-of-mouth via social media are taking their businesses forward in times of rising inflation and rapid influx of a variety of cuisines, say Purani Dilli's much-loved street food vendors

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The "Daulat ki Chaat", once served to the rich and the Royals, is a frothy and sublime sweet made from churned milk under the moon only during the winter season. Wikimedia Commons
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Jamaluddin Siddique has been serving up delectable kheer cooked up with his great grandfather’s 150-year-old recipe. There’s also Khemchand Adesh Kumar, who has been selling the sweet winter delight “Daulat Ki Chaat” from his humble “khomcha” on the streets of old Delhi for the last 30 years.

Originality, legacy, a loyal customer base and word-of-mouth via social media are taking their businesses forward in times of rising inflation and rapid influx of a variety of cuisines, say Purani Dilli’s much-loved street food vendors.

“Options have increased tremendously, but true food lovers value the originality and legacy. We have been serving ‘Daulat ki Chaat’ for more than 30 years now. We have a base of loyal customers who travel from far off places just to savour this winter delicacy.

“A lot of kids and youngsters also come to us and tell us that they read about us online. So, considering the quality and legacy of our product, business sustenance is never an issue,” Kumar, who belongs to Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, told IANS.

Also Read: These 10 Food Items are Popular with Indians and not to be missed this Monsoon!

The “Daulat ki Chaat”, once served to the rich and the Royals, is a frothy and sublime sweet made from churned milk under the moon only during the winter season.

“The soft, cottony foam is carefully collected overnight under the dew as it requires low temperature for the formation and is served along with khoya and saffron fresh in the morning,” explained Kumar, who gives a plate for Rs 40.

Besides, as Siddique said, it worked like a pull for people, who left with a promise to explore the culinary-rich bylanes of Chandni Chowk. Wikimedia Commons
Besides, as Siddique said, it worked like a pull for people, who left with a promise to explore the culinary-rich bylanes of Chandni Chowk. Wikimedia Commons

When he is not selling his seasonal delight in peak business months from November to January, Kumar makes money with a Golgappe and Chaat stall in Burari here.

“Inflation remains a key challenge, but our customer base has always seen a positive trend.

This has helped us cope with price rise,” he said, adding how foreigners find it intriguing and fancy to know about the six-hour process behind the making of “Daulat Ki Chaat”.

Also Read: 4 Startups which changed the face of Food and Beverage Industry in India

For Siddique, the pride in his Bade Miya Ki Kheer business comes from his belief, “We are not just serving kheer, we are serving our legacy of 150 years”.

“Richness of our ingredients and authenticity in the taste, a method of preparation and presentation keep us strong in business. We are moving ahead with time and using several strategies to sell our product and combat inflation.

“There are a lot of restaurants in Delhi which buy our kheer every day from the Lal Quan shop, plate it differently, and serve to their young customers.

Jamaluddin Siddique has been serving up delectable kheer cooked up with his great grandfather's 150-year-old recipe. Wikimedia Commons
Jamaluddin Siddique has been serving up delectable kheer cooked up with his great grandfather’s 150-year-old recipe. Wikimedia Commons

“This helps us in making good profits,” said Siddique, whose outlet satiates the kheer-craving of two people within Rs 250.

The kheer, he says, is made by using full-fat milk, slow-cooked on a charcoal fire for almost eight hours, with rice and pure ghee. The result is a thick, creamy pudding, full of smoky aroma and a rich golden colour, and sold in dry leaf bowls.

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“A lot of people ask us what is that one secret ingredient that makes our recipe cult and we feel it’s “Allah’s blessing” that does the magic every time.”

There’s also Ram Babu Kushwaha, whose winner at his forefather’s eatery Hira Lal Chaat Corner is the “Kulle Chaat ” — scooped out potatoes and other fruits and vegetables filled with delicious stuffing, a recipe he claims to have discovered out of an experiment.

“Our clientele is getting diversified as a lot of young people keep coming to us when they read about us on social media sites. They come to our shop, make videos and click pictures of our ‘kuliya chaat’ which helps in putting a word out,” said Khushwaha.

These vendors were among around 20 old Delhi “chaat-walas” who participated in DLF Mall of India’s “Chaat Festival” in Noida last month.

“We want to introduce our legacy to the modern generation. We feel that is how it will grow. Instead of thinking that mall culture is a threat to our business, why not use them as a platform to reach out to a wider audience?” he added.

Also Read: Being Vegan Good For Environment: Study

Besides, as Siddique said, it worked like a pull for people, who left with a promise to explore the culinary-rich bylanes of Chandni Chowk. (IANS)

(Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at radhika.b@ians.in)

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Dusshera In Delhi Casts A Dark Blanket, Air Quality Worsens

System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) labelled NCR's air quality as toxic

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Delhi's air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons
Delhi's air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons

The National Capital and the regions around it continue to suffer a “very-poor” air quality on Friday, which according to experts, may worsen due to combined effects of Dussehra and meteorological reasons such as low winds in Delhi.

Between 6pm to 8pm, over 48 areas across the National Capital Region — 36 from Delhi alone — suffered ‘very poor air-quality’ with pollutants registering over four times the national safety standards.

Weather analysts say this may worsen as Delhi currently has very light variable winds with no definite directions, which is likely to help in aggregating the pollutants.

Air Quality
In New Delhi, levels of the most dangerous particles in the air are sometimes 10 times higher than the safe limit, the survey noted. wikimedia commons

“Delhi has a negligible wind speed and morning temperatures are low. Also, many effigies were burnt across the region on Dussehera. This will push up the pollution levels,” said Mahesh Palawat, director private weather forecasting group, Skymet.

The air-quality was already ‘severe’ at Anand Vihar in east Delhi and Rohini in north Delhi, Bawana in northwest Delhi, Mundaka in West Delhi and Bhiwadi in Rajasthan, acoording to the real-time monitoring taken up around 8pm by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The average presence of major pollutant PM2.5 or particle with diametre less than 2.5mm, was 129 unit across Delhi-NCR and 133 units in Delhi, which is more than twice the national safe limits. Rohini was the most polluted with PM2.5 concentration at 166 units, about three times the safe limits.

Air Quality
Air pollution can also damage your kidneys. wikimedia commons

The permissible range or PM2.5 is 60 as per national standards and 25 by the international standards.

At 4pm, the Air Quality Index (AQI) of Delhi was 276 marked ‘poor’ against ‘moderate’ mere 48 hours back.

Also Read: The Farmer;s Protest In Delhi Makes The Indian Police Take Severe Steps

Meanwhile, System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) labelled NCR’s air quality as toxic and recommended keeping relief medicine handy. SAFAR advised everyone to avoid tiring outdoor physical activity. (IANS)