Holi just went by. And food as usual, adds a lot to any festival, as I say, Food is the material form of love.
Holi has a special association with Gujiya, and every year my mom makes plenty at home, a part of which are sent off to my Bua’s place (father’s sister) and we gorge on the rest. This year however, my mom did not make them, and my dad just bought some from nearby market. One bite into those and it was decided, I hated those gujiyas. They were too sweet, the layer of maida too thick and filling was almost non-existent and unimpressive.
Making Gujiya is an art, known to a select few in the city. The dough should be kneeded the right way, shells created in a certain way, ingredients of filling to be in right proportions, the amount of sugar that goes inside and the ‘tar’ of Chaashni (Sugar syrup) to be coated on should be well monitored.
As with other major festivals, I ended un in Old Delhi again (my Bua lives there), and even though I have been there a million times (not as a traveler or a tourist or explorer), however it just never fails to charm me. The chaos, the madness, the crowd, the smell, sounds, streets, people, sight everything just engulfs me, and I go into happy zone, I can just float around with a Halo on my head and a smile on my face. I am at home.
The walled city can be described in many words, however coming back to food, at my Bua’s place I am always offered where I want my Kachoris from. Eventually after the frantic discussion between Bua ji and cousins they decide on something and I end up eating Kachoris / Samosas / Bedmi / Nagori / Paani ke Batashe (Gole Gappe) / Chaats from different vendors for Sita Ram Bazaar. So this time it was decided that it would be Halwa Nagori, Bedmi Subzi and Kachori from a shop with no name right outside Lal Darwaza in Sita Ram Bazaar. On asked who was the vendor, I was told that the person who runs the shop, his father’s name is ‘Shri Ram’ and that shop is known as Shri Ram ki Dukaan. Expect no signage though At 12 in the noon, our unknown little vendor was out of Kachoris and I had to do with Nagoris and Bedmis. Not that I was complaining, as Shyam sweets was in beckoning.
Coming back to Gujiya, I was fairly confident that I would get the carefully crafted variety at Shyam sweets on Barsha Bulla Chowk and I was not disappointed. They had two varieties, the plain one, and one made in Desi ghee (Clarified Butter) and laced with Saffron. I bought the Kesar waali Gujiya, and boy were they good. They were low on Sugar, thin on shell and had succulent filling. So my quest for Gujiya ended there, and the ones my Mama ji got from Hira Sweets becamse also rans this holi.
And the goodies did not end there, when I left the walled city, had a Dozen Mutter Kachoris and Samosas in my backpack, to be had with delicious Aloo Subzi, in hungrier times.