4 January 2011

UPSC Chaat

The UPSC Lane on Shahjahan Road is New Delhi’s very own miniature KHAU GULLY! It’s most famous outlet is the Shree Prabhu Chaat Bhandaar, better known as ‘UPSC Chaat. Long ago, I was mightily stunned when my dear friend Marina mentioned this place to me despite never having been to the capital until then. She still hasn’t had an opportunity to taste their chaat, though I have done my bit of sampling and gorging! The Chaat Bhandaar has their oil simmering throughout the day but it’s only in the evening that the lane starts buzzing, with other outlets dishing out chowmein, bread pakoras, samosa-kachori, and a juice-walla to complete the course!

The Chaat Bhandaar follows a neat system of having you purchase a token before picking your order, to ensure the notes don’t get messy! The Aloo Tikki is stuffed with mashed peas and coriander leaves, garnished with grated raddish, making it a fine winter snack to relish. Sadly, the outlet couldn’t impress us with their consistency, as during my third visit the tikkis turned out to be uber-spicy and I unearthed 4-5 dices of green chilly making it difficult to hold back the tears. Ignoring that ONE unhappy incident, their other preparations do a good job of leaving the tongue tangy and happy!

Bharwa Gol Gappa

The “Bharva Gol Gappa” is a plate of small puris stuffed generously with soaked bhallas [vadas] and topped with curd, red and green chutney, and their “chaat masala”. It is the capital’s version of west India’s “Dahi Puri”. The “Papri Chaat” is a quick yet fine preparation of papris [7-8] sprinkled with mashed potato and copious amounts of curd with seasoning to top it off. And finally, a comment on Amitji’s favourite street snack… the “Aloo Fry”. This is essentially small pieces of boiled potato seared in oil and garnished with green chutney and chaat masala. When not bordering on unbearably spicy, this is a decent preparation too.

That one experience of tears notwithstanding, I’ll definitely go back again, especially for their Bharwa gol-gappas!

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