Tuesday, June 20, 2006

bedmi sabzi

THE PUMPKIN is a strange vegetable. Call it what you will, the sitaphal or kaddu, it is mood insensitive. In parts of northern India, it is a must for all ritualistic meals - on happy or sad occasions. Sitaphal has to be served for weddings as well as for tehrvis to mark the dead. So, not surprisingly, the sitaphal was an integral part of my youth. And unimaginable as it may sound - the poor pumpkin, after all, has its share of bitter detractors - I have quite a fondness for the vegetable. As college students in Meerut, we visited Gokul Halwai at least twice a week for breakfast. For one rupee, we got six puris, aloo ki sabzi, some thick raita and a healthy dollop of sitaphal ki sabzi.

Delhi was an eye-opener after life in a mofussil town. All those small non-vegetarian stalls found a ready customer in me. But I also spent time scouting all the lanes and by-lanes of Old Delhi in search of vegetarian savouries. Every gali had a puri-sabzi stall or a hawker peddling his wares on a cycle. But what disappointed me was that though one could always get some good bedmis (lentil-stuffed puris), the accompanying vegetable was usually made of potatoes or chholey. So my craving for some sitaphal sabzi could only be fulfilled when a relative got married - or died!

Jain Sahab

But, one day an informer whispered into my ear that there was this small shop in Daryaganj that served sitaphal with its bedmi. Daryaganj is such a maze that I took the help of a friend who spent his childhood and most of his youth in the area. Even he needed to ask some locals for directions before we finally managed to reach Jain Sahab's shop.

Now that I know the directions, it is not all that difficult to find Jain Sahab. All you have to do is reach Golcha cinema hall, cross over and take the broad road which links up with Ansari Road at a T-junction. Just before the junction, on your left, is a small place called Arihant sweets and their bedmi counter. The locals refer to it as Jain Sahab's bedmis.

A revelation

My first time there was a revelation. I saw a large crowd of men, some sitting by a table and eating bedmis, and the others waiting for their orders to materialise. Like a true Delhiwallah, I rushed towards the owner, Jain Sahab, yelling for two plates of bedmis and waving a currency note in my hand. I was in for a humbling experience. Jain Sahab gave me a cold look and said: "This is not New Delhi. First you eat, and then you pay." I was put in my place, but knew that very instant that the bedmis sold by a gentleman steeped in tehzeeb would be great.

The bedmis - one plate of two bedmis comes for Rs.8 - were small and crisp. With the puris came a dona of aloo-chholey sabzi with one moong-dal ka kofta. The potato vegetable was delicious, and the methi ki chutney that laced the dish gave just the right taste of tartness to it. But it was the sitaphal ki sabzi - served on a separate sal leaf - that floored me. It was lightly spiced, and the sweet taste of the vegetable dish nicely balanced the masalas of the aloo-chholey.

I couldn't resist it. I ate six puris and drank a kullar of lassi. And then I rounded up a great meal with four delicious pedas. Going to Jain Sahab's was like going back home. My relatives are pretty happy that I have found the perfect place for sitaphal in Delhi. I no longer call them up, asking eager questions about marriageable nephews or nieces, or making solicitous enquiries about the old and the ailing.


Atul said...

Awesome ... old favourite, the Bedmiyaan, and nice to see them being blogged about.

Unknown said...

i have searched a new website............
giving list of street food new south delhi.........


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

By chance I came across your blog and enjoyed reading it.
I have lived in many cities in India before moving to US and have sampled street foods of all the cities.
Our Sunday breakfast in Varanasi was Bedami with aloo subzi and malpua.
The best Bedami i have had was made by a friend of my mom. the lady belonged to Kanpur.The stuffing was flavored with ginger and hing and the poori came to the plate,puffed up straight from kadai.
The subzi had amchoor and was garnished with fresh cilanthro.
A tip passed on,do not chop the boiled potatoes with a knife instead crush with hands...notice the difference in taste.

Unknown said...

Hi Rahul JI,
thanks first of all for being our esteemed customer of Kachori (bedmi) with kashifal sabji , I appriceate your likings and ur taste still remembered , I am Dinesh Gupta , the third generation into same family bussiness , do give me a call on 9897598985 , I prommise I will arrange you a special treat again (bedmi with kashiphal sabji)
Gokul sweet shop
Budhana gate
p.s thanks admin for such a good work done .

Unknown said...

I thank you for this complete post, I was looking for post like this. I like your blog

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LifeMantras.com said...

Hey Dude (courtesy one of my friend) I came across your Blog and i will give more than 1000 likes to it..I have been born and brought up in Delhi a big time foodie but upon reading your blog i think i have missed most of them...a suggestion for you Rahul if you can cover up the NCR part as well...

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I couldn't resist it. I ate six puris and drank a kullar of lassi. And then I rounded up a great meal with four delicious pedas. Going to Jain Sahab's was like going back home. My relatives are pretty happy that I have found the perfect place for sitaphal in Delhi. I no longer call them up, asking eager questions about marriageable nephews or nieces, or making solicitous enquiries about the old and the ailing.
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