Sunday, September 06, 2009
The squall came suddenly and violently – but it brought some relieftoo. The moment the temperature dipped, I decided that I needed to goto the Walled City. I hadn't been there for a while, and the soundsand colours of Purani Dilli had been beckoning.I went there in search of some milk cake, which figures in the list oftop five sweets in my house. Some days earlier, I had had aconversation on food with food consultant Gunjan Goyala. She told methat there was a little shop in a little lane which sold the mostamazing milk cake in Chandni Chowk. So, of course, I had to try itout.Gunjan had given me details, but I wasn't very clear about where I hadto go. I wound my way from one lane to another, looking for my milkcake man. Every lane, of course, had its own landmark, with a crowd ofpeople in front of it endorsing its ware. Somewhere there was a manselling Japani samosa, somewhere else there was a mound of pedeysbeing sold. Finally I reached Kucha Ghasi Ram. And sure enough, Icould see a platter of milk cake there.The shop has no name. And that didn't surprise me, for there arecountless shops in Chandni Chowk with no name. People know them eitherby the food that is being sold, or by the name of a great grandfatherwho is no more.To reach this shop with no name, I would suggest you take the Metroand get down at Chandni Chowk. Start walking towards Fatehpuri. Onyour right, you will find the famous Shiv Mishtaan Bhandar. Right nextto it is Kucha Ghasi Ram. Go down the lane till you reach a Tjunction. Turn left from there. After five or shops, you will shopnumber 336 on your right.The shop is about 70 years old, and is run by Anoop Gupta (phonenumbers 23974849 and 9891183455). It is essentially a tea stall, andsells tea and sweets. The shop is known for three kinds of sweets –burfis made with pure khoya, rabri and milk cake. The first two arefor Rs 200 a kilo, while the milk cake is for Rs 220 a kilo.This time, I was on mission milk cake, so I didn't try out either ofthe other two sweets. But let me tell you, the milk cake was simplydelicious. The milk had been cooked over hours, so it had a nice browncolour. The sweet was a little granular, and so soft and fresh that itactually did melt in the mouth (and around the front of my shirt, Imight as well confess).I think this is what makes Chandni Chowk so special. It is full oflittle treasures that you discover every now and then. In most otherparts of Delhi, restaurants look the same, and food, even sweets,taste all the same. In Chandni Chowk, every trip leads to a treasuretrove. The squall and the rain may not have led to a rainbow, but Icertainly found my pot of gold at the end of it.