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VEGETARIANISM Delhi’s Vegetarian Delights


With its history of culinary arts and broad range of regional styles, India offers a dazzling cornucopia of choices for vegetarian foodies


I By Lavina Melwani, Delhi


n india, it’s all about food—and if you are vegetarian, India simply has no com- parison. As a traveler from the prosaic West and eater of quick sandwich meals,


I was delighted that my return journey to Delhi, the capital of India, brought me to the fabled magic table of remembered childhood where you have to merely clap your hands to get undreamed of delicacies. Even before 5 _ 5


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the balcony of our apartment in Connaught Place every year. Yes, food was always an intrinsic part of


our outings—be it plates of alu tikkis (potato Rô 3G õ _


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chole bhature (chick L 3U


U gulab õô a vegetarian or


vegan meal. And once you land, no mere sal- ad, pizza or boiled veggies here—the complex dishes that appear on the dining table are de- liciously intricate, from Rajasthan’s Ghatte Ke Curry Z


the Punjab’s Besan Koftas Zõ _ 3 U 5


ô _ õ 5


RUG. As a toddler, I remember our fam-


ily cook Shankar, who used to work on a coal oven in the open courtyard and hand-feed us hot, simple sabzis ZRô55 ô3G S


ô3 3 S ô


telling stories from the Ramayana. Those tastes linger after decades, as does the taste of Sindhi channa dabalroti—chickpeas simmered in a golden gravy made from chick pea _


õ 3ô Rôõ Rô 3 ô3


with a topping of sliced onions and 3 U _


ô3L murmula. This was


served to friends who came to our home to view the grand Republic Day Parade which passed below


62 hinduism today april/may/june, 2017 53G


jamuns at roadside stalls. Delhi is famous for its chaat shops, fiery ammunition centers that scorch your tongue and make you weep with pani puri, bhelpuri, gol gappas, and sa- mosa chaat Z 3


3 S 3


ôõ _ ôKG


ô õ õ Rô55 ô Then there were the visits to Old Delhi, my


father’s go-to destination for a special hun- dred percent pure pista mithai. Seems at the


age of four, I would eat only this rich, dark green pistachio sweet and my dad which Dad would sometimes make special trips to get for me. If happy occasions involved food so did


sad ones. There was the season of shraddas— meals commemorating the departed—when carloads of uncles, aunts and cousins would descend on the home for prayers and feeding the pujari the delicious treats the ancestors had loved. Then we, too, would feast on the wonderful food. There was Sindhi curry and rice, saibhaji—spinach cooked with seven vegetables, pakoras and samosas, daibhallas and, of course, all followed by gulab jamun and jalebis Z


ôõ 5ô S ôô 3GK


Each part of the extended fam- ily would bring their own special dishes, and it would be an endless talkathon and eatathon. With so many uncles and aunts around, life meant a lot of feasting after the holy days’ fasting. So I returned this year to an India exploding with food memories. The


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Turn off your calorie counter: (above) Masala House in Sundar Nagar takes snacks to a new level; (left) Indian food giant Haldirams’ modern vegetarian self-serve res- taurant on Jaipur-Gurgaon Road in Delhi’s IT corridor


lavina melwani


vishal grover


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