Tuesday, November 9, 2010

UPSC Chaat, Shahjahan Road

All right, what do I get to say about this place. As a kid I remember, coming to India gate on weekends, to play around in the park, revel at the majestic india gate and then having chat at this place next to the UPSC building at Shahjahan Road. Back then, it was difficult to enter this bylane, and there used to be this rush. Being a kid, I just had memories of a few street vendors making sizzling tikki’s, and this rush of people just trying to place their order.

After many years, today, I decided to go venture to delhi. As I started my car, I had no ideas of where I would be going. The idea was just a weekend drive, with my mom and brother and just enjoy the perfect weather. Right after diwali, not too warm, a little nip in the air, no ac required, and after having finished with the commotions of commonwealth games, durga puja, dusshera, diwali, and perhaps just before Barrack Obama’s visit, I thought, this is the opportune time to oblige the city with a visit.

There were a few options, Dilli Haat, CP, Indira Market and Al kauser’s biryani. As I drove aimlessly, I figured, the rashtrapati bhawan or the president house, india gate would be a worthwhile drive. After all, staying aat delhi, we often forget the majestic grandeur of these power centers of the country. I am sure any amount I say will not suffice to express the awsomeness of the president house. This coupled with the impenetrable security preceding obama’s visit, and the city painted with American and Indian flags.

Coming to the UPSC chat place on Shahjahan road, let me just say this is the perfect set up for street food. A quite little shop “ Shree Prabhu Chaat Bhandar” in the UPSC lane, adjoining UPSC building. One table where you oay and get the coupons. Started off with the Gol Gappa’s which were really great. Tangy water, aptly filled with potatoes and chickpeas, with the sauth kki chatni. A plate costed about 15 bucks and had 5 gol gappas. I was surprised and loved the fact that delhi was so cheap. I mean , in Gurgaon, any tom dick and harry with no substance overcharges you. Delhi is like killer man, I mean, just love it. even the parking is uniform ten bucks through out unlike the wild wild west, with the Jaat boys and the Veer Gurjar parking attendants who are ready to shoot.

Coming back to the grub, the next item on the list was bharwan gol gappas. I was just intrigued into what this was. Simple gol gappas with a sumptuous filling topped with curd, mint chutney, sauth chutney. This resembled more like paapri chaat, except that it had gol gappas.

Next on the menu was the aloo tikki’s. simply awesome. Piping hot, fried in front of you and then served with curd and chutney. One bite and it made you realize the combination of cold curd coupled with mouth burning hot tikki’s. Great stuff. The tikki was really great, and given a chance, I’d love to come back again for the tikki.

As I sat in my car and thought what next, I was saddened at the thought of going back home and living the routine life and getting into the grind of working from Monday. It was a bit depressing, and the fact that my small food adventure was coming to a close. Suddenly, I started feeling claustrophobic. It was like thopse innumerable scenes in movies, when the hero is stuck by a lightening and self realization dawns upon him that its now or never. When the hero decides to pursue and proclaim him undying love for the lady, and give it his best shot, so that there is no regret at the end. The last dash to claim immortality.

And so behold, I was feeling claustrophobic, confused. Would it be another plate of chaat or not. Would I just go away, and spend the rest of my life thinking that this last plate could have been mine. Or should I just suffer defeat and kill the spirit of that last plate of chaat. So, as I moved in slow motion, marching towards the man on the counter, innumerable questions encountered me. Would it papri chaat, or gulaab jamuns to finish it off. Or should the last item for the day be the one that rocks my evry existence. One look at the man, eye to eye, and he knew what was coming. One plate of Alu Chaat. Tenderly fried crisp potato cubes, with spicy chutney. As I gave the token to the chaat maker, he asked me innocently how spicy should it be. Being in the war mood, I said bring it on. Lets see what you’ve got. He turned, and started creating his masterpiece. After 5 minutes, he served the delicious looking potato cubes, with toothpicks. As I picked the first cube and put it into my mouth, I knew my life had radically changed. This was officially the spiciest alu chaat of my life. An inferno, which made my taste buds flame with the heat. It was where I had never gone before. The tangy taste of green chutney, the hotness of the red chilli and the secret masala, coupled with the lime juice. It was orgasmic.If I had ten voluptuous ladies, standing in front of me, waiting to be ravaged, this was the time. The heat of the chaat could have ensured I would have worn them out.

Simply put, it was fabulous. Bite after bite, I knew I couldn’t go on, but I just kept on going on. As the Alu chaat climax finished, I lay on my car seat, thinking of what had just happened. To relax, there was no cigarette after the session, like they show it in the movies. Instead, it was cup of ginger cardamom tea, just perfect.


  1. You had me in splits , with this one:-)

    Good writing there!

  2. Must Say a Mouth-Watering Blog..:) !!!