Korma, Kheer & Kismet took me back to the streets of Old Delhi

od delhi- via Telegraph.co.uk

Once I took a travelling friend from another city to the Old Delhi for sightseeing (or just eating!). After taking the metro from Central Secretariat we reached the Chawadi Bazar station. The sight after we exited the metro station was so different than what  we had left behind. At Central Secretariat, the view of the Lutyen’s  Delhi was very impressive- clean roads, beautiful Government buildings and rows of expensive cars in the parking. But the sight outside Chawadi bazar station was chaotic, disoriented traffic including hand-carts, autos, rickshaws, the shouting vendors and endless rows of crowd. “Do you really like this place ?” My friend asked me. I gave him an “obviously” nod.

We headed towards the Ashok Chaat house and ordered the “Mirchi wale alloo” ( boiled potato wrapped with the red chilli power fried in ghee). It is served with yogurt and pickle of kachalu (a vegetable from the potato family, similar to Taro(arbi) or elephant’s ear. I have only had it in Delhi and no where else. Also one friend explained me kachalu as “Arbi ke papa”!  ). After eating 2 other chaats there, we headed toward Kucha Pati Ram and ate the amazing Falsa ki Kulfi. After that it was his turn to say, “Man, I love this place.. ”

Korma, Kheer & kismet- Book cover

There are many interesting stories about Old Delhi. The visits to Moti Mahal & Al Jawahar, Sunday book market in Daryagunj followed by Chole Bhature near Delight cinema- all these memories came fresh with Pamela Timms’ Korma, Kheer & Kistmet- 5 seasons in Old Delhi. The cover is beautiful, hard bound, full with colors. Pamela not only celebrates the food, the flavors and the festivals of Dilli, but also the chaos, uncertainty and some awkwardness of the old city. I am happy that many of my favorites got listed in the book.

What I love about Pamela’s effort is that she goes back & try to find the background story from each of these food legends. Some of them are shy but others are outspoken, some of them are secretive and others have nothing to hide.  Her quest also took her to the workshop of ” Daulat ki Chaat” where she encountered an unpleasant place for food but at least she crushed the rumor that Daulat ki Chaat gets its flavor from the natural dew of winter.

She is not the first one from Scotland to write an amazing book on Old Delhi ( Yes, I am talking about William Dalrymple’s City of Djjins ) and maybe she won’t be the last. I hope that she will keep spreading the joy over her Delhi style Chai and mahfils around the world. You can follow her on her blog Eat & Dust however she is not posting anything new in it these days but you can always read her old post.

I rated Korma, Kheer & Kismet, a 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads– a nostalgic trip to the gastronomical khumbh mela. And the good thing is that you don’t have to wait for 4 years for it.

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20 thoughts on “Korma, Kheer & Kismet took me back to the streets of Old Delhi

    1. Hi Alok. I will recommend you to experience the wave of difference in Old Delhi than that of other parts of NCR. You will feel that you are part of history- which has some sort of chaotic beauty in it. Thank you for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have been to old Delhi many times, few years ago but didn’t explore much of it’s gastronomic delights. Even though it’s a crowded place, I like it -that lends it a character. this is precisely what is missing in malls. Same brands, same stuff in all malls -almost! It is these markets which offer us variety. what do you think?

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    1. Old Delhi sure has a character but it’s not always the pleasant one. One of my first visits, i went to khari baoli which is the food & spices market. I really didn’t enjoy being there because it was a hot summer day and too much crowd and noises. So, I always say that it cannot be “love at first sight ” for Delhi.

      In terms of variety, if you mean in terms of fashion, then I am not really too sure as I have not explored much in fashion there. Honestly, for Fashion, I will prefer shopping in malls.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Avinash! I can perfectly understand what you are referring to. All I wanted to point out was that there is uniqueness and choice in terms of variety vis a vis malls. All malls have similar brands selling similar stuff. Traditional brazaar offers a change from this.

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    1. Actually, i had picked this book based on your recommendation ( your blog or goodreads…i don’t remember ) . I really enjoyed reading it & it was nostalgic for me as I lived in Delhi for quite a few years. So, thank you for your recommendation for this book 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can totally relate! Having lived in Delhi myself for almost two years, a visit to Old Delhi was a mandatory and non-negotiable trip at least once every two months. The wonderful thing is coming across such articles that send me on such a nostalgic memory lane. I extend an invitation for you to read some of my encounters on http://www.lbbexperience.wordpress.com 🙂

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment. I agree with you that Old Delhi trip is non-negotiable and I am glad that my post took you back there,
      Thank you for leaving the link for your blog- I am very happy check them out. Keep Blogging 🙂

      Avinash

      Liked by 1 person

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