I love Delhi, people say it is the melting pot of culture and traditions but i think it is more like a salad bowl -where each element mixes beautifully with the other while retaining its individuality and flavours. Same goes true for the various cultures and migrants from all over the world that make this city “Oh So Delhi” or I should say so soulful Delhi.
There are innumerable places in this city which make you believe you aren’t in Delhi and thats THE beauty my friend. From brilliant state bhawan where awesome regional food is served to places like Paharganj and Majnu Ka Tila. Aah how much I love MKT is no secret, anyone who knows me is well aware of my uncanny connection with this Tibetan refugee camp. This place has a certain vibe, either you reject it the every first time you go there or an instant connection happens.
Any one who loves hills will enjoy this quaint, serene and lazy zone on the banks of the Yamunna. The charm and the happiness of the place simply engulfs you!
|Soul satisfying- read to know more|
As I always say- it is the Little Tibet and as you know it is one of the happiest places on the earth.
After my innumerable trips to this place, it surprised me yet again when in the dark aisles found this place called Hot Yak Restaurant in Garkhil House Complex- not so easy to find but once you enter the beautiful view of the Yamunna from the huge glass window will leave you stunned.
|Do have the Apple Beer while enjoying the view|
The restaurant has nice big wooden tables without any jazz and as you make yourself comfortable you will be handed a very elaborate and pictorial menu! Anyway I left that for another day and asked the server about Hot Pot meal which was mentioned on one of the table mats! And then I was handed this huge form to select all the things I want for my hot pot meal!
For the uninitiated, Hot Pot is family meal where the cooking happens on the table over some conversations and happy times. It basically comprises of a pot of bubbling broth or soup with lots of raw or semi cooked seafood, meats, vegetables and noodles to dip it in!
It is almost like the South Eastern cousin of fondue.
The menu had the options of veg, chicken, mutton and beef based broths. We had one vegetarian amongst us, so chose the vegetarian one which gave us the option of a red and a white broth. And we could choose as many meats, seafood, vegetables and noodles we wanted, of course for a price.
It is like making your own pizza where you can add as many toppings as you want.
The meats section had a huge selection to choose from, ranging from chicken balls to prawns to sliced mutton etc. We settled for the safe sliced chicken. The vegetables section had lots of greens, different types of mushrooms and other not so exotic vegetables like beans, carrots and cauliflower. The noodles section had flat and round wheat noodles, rice noodles and glass noodles. And you can pay 30 bucks extra for a bowl of sesame oil.
|Mushrooms taste lovely in soups|
|Freshly sliced chicken|
|Beans add lot of crunchiness while cucumbers are totally avoidable|
Soon enough an induction plate was placed on the centre of the table and a huge pot with white & red broths were left to simmer on it. And beautifully chopped vegetables which we had selected earlier including thinly sliced chicken along with semi boiled thick rice noodles were laid on the table.
Along came the condiment box containing salt, ajinomoto, finely chopped garlic, ginger, spring oil greens and red chilli flakes. And the very cute small soup bowls, chopsticks, laddle, strainer and tiny tongs and this surely left me excited!
The next one hour was spent dunking various things in the flavourful bubbling broth and innumerable bowls of the soup which we customised every single time.
|Two broths arrived like this!|
|These are such a taste enhancers|
|And thats how the table looked|
|Look how beautifully was chicken cooked|
The red soup was super spicy with lots of oil floating on the top where as the white one was more milky having a sweet aroma due to heavy use of star anise.
The flavours of the soup evolve as it is left to simmer with vegetables and meats. I can’t decide whether it tasted better in the starting or after an hour when it had more intense flavours and richer consistency. Nonetheless it just left me wanting for more and more.
|While the vegetables remained crunchy|
We had endless servings of the soup over some hearty conversations on a lazy afternoon. It had almost childlike thrill to play with different combinations of noodles, meat, sesame oil, condiments for each serving.The joy is in mixing the two broths in varying portions, adding & skipping a few things each time! Make sure you don’t put all the vegetables in one go else they lose their crunchiness by the time you are having the last or penultimate round.
Also keep a balance of ordering few green leafy vegetables and some more dense ones like broccoli etc. And don’t forget to order the sesame oil- it is almost like the magic and adds a beautiful layer of flavour with its sweet nuttiness.
|It is so much fun to mix & match each time|
|The bubbling beauty|
|Roasted sesame oil|
The meal is a sensory pleasure with beautiful sight of freshest ingredients chopped with utmost finesse, the aroma of simmering broth, the different textures and riot of flavours and of course the sound of slurping those noodles.
One pot of soup is good enough for 5-6 people and this meal costed us Rs. 880 for 4-5 vegetables, one meat, one portion of noodles and some sesame oil.
I know I have found a treasure and will spend endless afternoons pipping some soul warming soup overlooking the Yamuna while discussing about life and other funny things with my set of favourite people.