Old Delhi is never gonna earn a breather, somewhere in some part of Delhi, is always singing the tune of this place either by simply visiting the place or getting the food ordered here; But the road less traveled is taken by few chefs who hail from the place and curate a complete festival in and around Shahjahanabad (former Old-Delhi). This time its none other than reviver cum impresario Osama Jalali with his mother and wife as a team of Jalali’s; head to head with Tanveer Kwatra executive chef for Le Meridian, Gurgaon at the coffee shop named, Latest Recipe for a festival named Shahjahanabad Classic.
The festival has home style food from the region with a hint of Rampuri taste as the family hails from the place, the food is unlike the modern food that you get here now, it’s the real home style food of Delhi, away from the oil-laced, butter-dunked and spice coated food available now. My pallet started with Seekh kawab which are rich and juicy with natural fat and mild flavours and impart a great soothing aftertaste.
The Fish Tikka is succulent and is great departing from usual Basa being forced fed in every pallet, this one was Surmai which is one of my personal favorite. The Queema ki Goliyan is lovely raw minced meat balls served with cranberry chutney on side, they are simply lick-worty. This is something that’s found mostly around Ramazan in Muslim Household for Iftar.
From the Vegetarian section the Kathal Ki Galauti was mesmerizing with the cooked and minced jack-fruit, prepared with Khade-masale this is supposed to be a special one from Jalali’s secret kitchen. In the main course section there were a number of dishes but I plan to mention only 2 the first one is Urad ki daal ka Gosht and the second one being Chane ki daal ka bharta where the former is tender goat meat cooked with unsoaked urad dal with its husky shell intact cooked with meat over slow simmer and giving it a thick paste kind of rich texture, imparting great flavours.
The Chane ki daal ka bharta is beautiful depart from the usual lentils where the lentil is pulverized till it becomes completely smooth, which can either be done in a grinder for an easier take or the tougher way round would be doing it thru a Sil-Batta which leaves an option to keep it grainy as per your choice.
The dessert section has Shahi Tukda, Gulatthi and Shahi Zarda where Gulatthi clearly trumps the old-Delhi finesse with its generous Rampuri churning of milk and dry fruits.
The festival is a must visit for anyone looking to try the authentic Shahjahanabad cuisine and not the usual butter dunked food available now in the locality. The PLF for the place is 1650 INR plus taxes for 1, the festival is on till the 20th of September and even Sarah Todd was located licking her fingers to this divine blessing, so make you way before the days pass by for lunch or dinner.