Sunday, January 19, 2014

Paranthawali Gali: A century old flavour

For some it’s dark and dirty, for others it’s lively and exciting, for some it is poor, for others it is the coffer of our cultural heritage, for some it is stingy and shabby but for others it is a mini India. Rich in food, art and handlooms, Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi is a home to some of oldest jewels of our history like the magnificent Red Fort and the Jama Masjid. But a little away from the grandeur and the limelight is a small restaurant, Shri Kanniyalal Durga Prashad Dixit Paranthe Waale, which has been there for around 140 years and is an important ingredient of the famous Paranthe waali Gali.

The fragrance of freshly fried paranthas adore the whole place and it is so irresistible that you can’t escape it however you try. Founded in 1875 by Late Kanniyalal Durga Prasad Dixit, the small restaurant serves around 30 varieties of vegetarian parathas including the parathas with exotic fillings like kaju, badam, rabri, khoya etc.

“We have been serving people the real Indian Paranthas for more than a century now. We are the fifth generation in the same business,” says the proud owner while he fries a mouth watering Nimbu parantha. “There are more than 1500 to 2000 visitors in a day in the Gali. Business is great but more than that we love the fact that we have been able to keep the dream of our forefathers alive and it is flourishing with each passing day,” he added.

From the famous personalities like Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru and Akshay Kumar to a common man, the restaurant has seen them all and inherits the real taste of the rich Indian cuisine. The parantha is usually served without onions and garlic with sweet tamarind chutney, mint chutney, mixed vegetable pickle, paneer and potato curry, potato and fenugreek curry, and a mash of sweet pumpkin. A chilled sweet lassi adds to the taste.

“I come here very often with my friends and we enjoy the real taste of Indian cuisine,” said Deepankar Pathak, a software engineer and regular customer of the shop. “While I love gobhi parantha, my girl friend is a fan of nimbu paranthas. It is a good change from the mainstream junk food,” he added.

The culinary journey of the Parantha waali Gali has traversed a long journey. It has moved beyond the small lanes and elegant Havelis of Chandni Chowk to some of the biggest malls. Not only this, the gali is internationally acclaimed. The well known Mela restaurant in UK is imitates the ambience of the Paranthe waali Gali.

It might look old fashioned for a large chunk of the Pizza generation but for a larger chunk this is the real taste of India. What is more surprising is that in a small lane lies the flavours of a culture which is more than a century old.


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