Exploring Ramadan cuisines in old Delhi

Chicken Burrah
Chicken Burrah
Chicken Burrah

By Ankit Sinha

 It was a unique culinary walk that included a visit to old Delhi’s famous eateries for food sampling when Muslims break their fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Curated by Abhishek Basu, executive chef of luxury boutique hotel The Park, the culinary tour had four pit-stops – Anwar Food Corner, Al-Jawahar Restaurant, Karim’s and Haji Tea Point.

“The whole idea of organising this food walk is to make people aware of the rich cultural heritage of Delhi. We talk a lot about the culture and history of the city, but very few are actually able to get an insightful idea about it. With the Ramadan walk, we aim to acquaint our guests with the delicious cuisines of old Delhi,” chef Basu said.

After assembling at The Park hotel in the evening, the invited guests were driven to Gate No. 1 of Jama Masjid – the food walk’s inception point. Illuminated with coruscating lighting, the historic mosque looked stunning under the darkened skies. And from there began an enthralling, scrumptious tour which led us to four of old Delhi’s most iconic eateries.

The first was the famed Anwar Food Corner, opposite Jama Masjid, where chef Basu led us through the chaotic, traffic-laden street of Jama Masjid to an enigmatic food paradise. The menu comprised of three dishes: chicken haleem, chicken tikka with butter and boneless fish surmai with butter.

Rich with the aroma of garlic and ginger, the chicken haleem was the highlight among the three dishes. Capturing a veritable mix of its varied ingredients — chicken, lentils, cardamom et al — the haleem had a tangy, soupy taste. If that were not enough to satiate my taste buds, the chicken tikka and boneless fish surmai made my mind go into a food-fuelled state of transcendence.

The next pit-stop was at another famous eatery of Chandni Chowk – the prominent Al-Jawahar Restaurant. However, we spent very little time here and were served just one dish – shammi kebab and rumali roti.

Moving on, the penultimate pit-stop was the hallowed ground of old Delhi’s historic foodie trail — the iconic Karim’s restaurant. Always buzzing with visitors, we had to wait a short while to get inside the the eatery. But the wait as well worth it, as we were served with mouth-watering mutton seekh kebab, chicken burrah, nihari and tandoori roti.

The food walk came to an epic closure with a cup of hot milk-rich tea at the Haji Tea Point, which was still brimming with visitors and curious onlookers even as midnight was approaching.

A perfect way to end a perfect evening and the question remains: will it happen again next year?