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Bustling narrow streets, bursting with cyclists, motorbikes, rickshaws driving past; men and women browsing through the colourful sari and jewellery shops, road side tea stalls, rusted signs and sprouting satellite dishes - this is the first impression of Old Delhi to many of us. However, if one explores it a little deeper, it is easy to find yourself in a street filled with smoke coming out of large pans that send irresistible tingling sensation in the nostrils. Look around and there you see traditional chefs tossing out one of the best and most amazing concoctions, a PARANTHA!
Hidden away in Chandni Chowk (Moonlight Square) at the heart of Old Delhi is the famous and historical “Paranthe Wali Gali”. ‘Gali’ translates to street and yes, this is the street selling Paranthas – an Indian delicacy which almost every home in India makes. The Paranthas are a kind of chapatti or rounded oily bread with different flavours and stuffing. The paranthas of this street tastes so heavenly that parantha is perhaps the only food in the world to have an entire street named after it!
Aloo (potato), gobhi (minced cauliflower), radish, mint, cashew nut, and cheese, sweet or salted, the list of fillings is endless. Just choose a flavour and the experienced chefs will prepare!
All that’s needed is some dough shaped into small balls, rolled on a circular wooden or marble platform with the help of rolling pin, stuffed with the desired filling, and then mixed with ginger and other exotic spices. This is finally fried in clarified butter for a lip-smacking parantha.
Despite being a common food item in households across India, the folk of Paranthe Wali Gali have their own style and secret recipes. The paranthas from these royal chefs of yore have seen almost three centuries pass and the history of these shops can be traced to as far as 1850s – with business being passed down through generations. However, in recent years more and more families have diversified into alternative, more lucrative business ventures and for many of them it hasn’t been possible to carry the baton further. There were around 20 shops in early and mid 80’s which now have been reduced to just 3 families in the once famous Paranthe Wali Gali.
Let TransIndus take you on an interesting journey, where you can discover how the sixth generation of these 3 families has endeavoured and struggled to preserve the street name and offer the flavour of the past to the present.
Most of our group tours and private journeys to North India begin with a tour of Old Delhi and we would be happy to include a visit to this hidden gem for you.
Some of the trips which can easily include ‘Paranthe Wali Gali’ are: