Ganesh Fish Corner and Sandoz – FED Raid – By Kapil Bahl

As it is rightly said that the way to a man’s heart goes through his stomach, it was during a discussion at the park plaza dinner that Shashank offered to convert an upcoming FED friends event to a Non-Vegetarian FED Raid in case I was open to lead and I must THANK Park Plaza for the good food we ate there. So, that’s when we decided to open the invite to all fellow FED members for a mid-week raid at Ganesh Fish in Karol Bagh.
Last Friday some of the fellow FED’s had done an Old Gurgaon Raid to some lip smacking places and we had agreed to visit Ganesh fish this Wednesday.
I reached the meeting point by 7:10 PM and was pleasantly surprised to see 12 fellow FED members there. After the exchange of pleasantries we started walking towards Ganesh Fish at 7:30 PM and were out there by 7:45 PM. Since the seating area inside is small, we had to wait for 15 mins so that the large crowd of 12 hungry FED’s could be accommodated.
As we squeezed ourselves in the tiny back alley of Ganesh’s inner seating place (once a backbencher always a backbencher), we ordered Egg Pakora, Tandoori Fish, Fish Fry with bone, Boneless Fish Fry, Mutton Seekh Kebab, Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Pakora, Mutton Korma and Chapati’s.
The Egg Pakora was the first thing to come, it was fresh, the batter soft but overall a bland taste, he sprinkled some Chaat Masala over them but that did not help. The Mutton Seekh Kebabs, looked fresh, and well done. They were soft, chewy and tasteful.
The Tandoori Chicken was the next item to arrive; mildly flavored it was and can be ignored. Probably, the local colony dhaba in your area serves better. We waited for the star item (Fish) to arrive with bated breadth and the first to arrive was Tandoori Fish and a full fried medium sized fish.
The pieces in the Tandoori Fish were large and had a tangy flavor to it. FED members who have tried Paramjeet at Moti Nagar agreed that Paramjeet is way ahead of Ganesh. I agreed to their point of view, even my local (now closed) Dhaba served better Tandoori Fish. It was time to taste the next product, the Fried Fish. Again, the batter had no taste and texture. The batter coating was uneven with uneven frying, looked like a case of trying to fry too much in too little space.
We had Hemant, Shashank, and Inder joining us to check on how the evening was proceeding and after a little chat with them we decided to order boneless Fish Fry and Chicken Pakora with mutton korma and chapatis since we had couple of FED members joining us (took the tally to 14). The boneless Fish Fry was better since it was fried in small pieces and had better flavor to it. The Chicken Pakora is a better bet than Tandoori Chicken in terms of flavor and taste.
The Mutton Korma was bland; it tasted like a Vegetable Curry which had no spices in it. The mutton was rubbery and not at all good.
All in all the fish at Ganesh is fresh to say the least but order if you must, our bet is on Chicken Pakora, Mutton Seekh Kebab and Boneless Fish Fry.
While all of us were mumbling and grumbling regarding the experience at Ganesh there was a Gola urge that hit us from Ajit’s end, he wanted to have a Kaala Khatta Gola….huh…??? After a cheeky commitment to him, and couple of quick SOS calls to fellow FED members we decided to have light dinner at next door Sandoz.
At Sandoz we ordered Dal Makhni, Butter Chicken, Chicken Biryani, and Malai Chicken Tikka. The Dal Makhani was overtly creamed which made it bland and was ignored by all. The boneless Butter Chicken has soft and crunchy pieces with a please to all gravy which was not overtly creamed or buttered bringing in nice decent texture to it.
The Malai Chicken was soft and tender with a sour flavor to it indicating use of cream and curd combination, finally something with taste. The highlight was the Chicken Biryani and the curry served with it. The biryani was cooked to perfection probably a good dum, with an aromatic flavor to it and blended very well with the curry. The quality of rice and chicken used were appreciated by all.
After having much better food at Sandoz, Ajit’s Gola was back to haunt us and there started the quest to search for a Kaala Khatta Gola at 10 in the night. After a short walk we realized that Gola is a mistimed adventure we decided to settle for the famous Stick Kulfi which was the standard fair at 10:20 pm in night.
The best compliment and observation of the night was that we should have such mid-week RAID’s as they energize us to bravely face Tom Tom Thursdays and frying Fridays…:)
Text by Kapil Bahl
Editing by Shashank Aggarwal 
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Breakfast at Standard Burfee, Karol Bagh

After much deliberation on where to eat and what to eat for breakfast on a Saturday morning, I finally decided to settle down at Standard Sweets/Burfee in Karol Bagh.

Had a plate of Chhole Puri, with a plate of dahi, then a Kachori (served with same chhole), and halwa with puda. Chhole Puri were fantastic, amongst the best that I have ever had. Highlight of the entire meal was the Aloo ka achar that they serve. It actually went very well with Puri Chhole, tantalizing on taste buds and unlike anything that I have ever had before. 

Though halwa and pude seem to be quite famous there, however one bite into puda, it managed to kill my appetite. It was an overdose of Desi Ghee and that left such a strong flavor in my mouth that it overwhelmed my senses. Halwa was quite nice, however I am not sure how can people enjoy that puda. Or maybe I just got a bad piece.
Now kachodi seemed to be the one which had maximum to loose after that bite of Puda. Either I was overwhelmed by the Desi Ghee or we can call it law of diminishing returns, but Kachori received least favor from me and was left half uneaten. Plus I like kachori with Aloo ki Subzi, and standard serves it with Chhole itself.

All in all, absolutely brilliant Puri Chhole (make sure you order a portion of curd with it), and I would definitely go back to try other stuff once again.

My Rating – 3.5 / 5 (if only Puri, then 4/5)

Chhole Bhature at Roshan Di Kulfi

When opportunity presented itself to have breakfast from outside, I thought of giving McDonald’s breakfast menu a try and order in. However they do not deliver in Rajendra Nagar and that is where my office is situated. Going to one of their outlets was an option, however if I have to go out, I would not go out for McDonald’s specifically. For me, they have always been about convenience more than the food. Subway came to mind, and so did Roshan Di Kulfi, which is hardly 5 minutes ride from where I work. And no prizes for guessing where I landed up.
Those who know me, they know that last thing I want to eat before I die is Chhole Bhature. And while god has gifted me with this life, I want to make most of it by sampling as many as I can. Stepping into Roshan Di Kulfi, I could feel the old school ambiance, the seating arrangement that I used to see couple of decades back, waiters in black trousers and white shirts, walls lined up with ceramic tiles, and the place is still a clear favorite with locals. There were several gentlemen in latter halves of their lives, having breakfast and chit chatting over lassi. 
Roshan Di Kulfi’s name pops up every now and then, and it is never for the Kulfi but more often than not, Chhole Bhature. Though they serve a great deal more, and kulfi obviously is their specialty however I decided to commit the blasphemy and not order their kulfi. I started by ordering a plate of Chhole Bahture, which by looks of them looked pretty ordinary, however as I was checking my mails and they were sitting on my table, a whiff of Desi Ghee took my attention, and paying attention to the smell of the food in-front of me, I realized that it was made in Desi ghee. First bite of Bhatura, and it was evident that it was of plain variety (no paneer or aloo stuffed in it), though non greasy from outside; however had a moist feeling from inside, which clearly was from the ghee present there. 
Puri Subzi
Subzi made of mixing Aloo and Chhole
 Overall Chhole Bhature were good, however I would just limit myself to saying that they were ‘good’. After this experience, I can say for sure that making Bhatura’s in Desi ghee is not a good idea, Puri is fine, but not Bhature. Since they were serving Puri Subzi too, I decided to give them a shot. Puris were made of Atta and were of non-crispy variety, the subzi being a mix of Chhole and Aloo. Again, the taste of Subzi was over powered by Desi Ghee and I could hardly taste the spice, but it still went down well. A helping of Dahi (Curd) added to subzi would have helped a lot. Then came the Lassi, in tall steel glass, which definitely is one of the better ones I have had in Delhi. It was quite thick, not too sweet, and went down very well. 
Tall Glass of Lassi
Talking about pricing, though Rs.60 per plate for Chhole Bhature sounds steep, however I will give in to the fact that they actually use Desi Ghee, which is quite an expensive proposition. Paid Rs.40 for lassi and Rs.20 for one Puri I had.
I am definitely going back there to have more of their Puri (with dahi along with subzi this time), however I will not go their specifically for Chhole Bhature, but won’t mind eating them if I am there.
PS : Please pardon the quality of pictures, as they have been shot using a mobile phone camera.

Mr. Dutt is still frying those Samosas

I shared an older post of mine on Facebook couple of days back, which was about an age old samosa maker in lanes of Karol Bagh, here is the one that was shared : Samosa from Karol Bagh
If you see, I added few lines at the end of it, and with in few hours I got a response saying that our old guy was still alive and kicking. However the post made Sandeep Rathore, a fellow FED, go a step further and actually visit the place, and he reports that out Mr. Dutt is doing fine, and still frying his samosas.  And the best part is, he shot few pictures, and very kindly shared the same with me to post them here.  I am sure these pics would bring a smile on many faces
 
Mr. Dutt

 

Eating Out – The Health Quotient

Being a foodie and trying to loose weight, it sounds like a bad combo. But Yours truly is sailing in that boat, trying to loose weight, in worst case, not to gain more and stay as active as I can be. And this requires me to be very careful of the portions and things I eat, well, atleast for 4 days in the week ;-).
Now there are times when you need that quick breakfast or an evening snack to get you going, and everywhere you look, you find the same fried stuff. Mind you, I am talking from perspective of very average men, and food we can eat on day to day basis. Yes, Subway is there, but somehow I don’t think it would fit an average pocket for regular consumption, and we all know about that option, so there is no point in talking about it. For past few days, I have been trying to find ways to avoid Chhole Bhature, or Poori Chhole or Kachori or Samose et al, unless I really want to have them (and that is quite often 😉 ). So what does that leave me with? My office is in Old Rajendra Nagar, and I live, lets say in the underbelly of Patel Nagar. So this would be very local to my area, however I hope some of the ideas can be ‘implemented’ wherever you live.
Talking about breakfast, there are times when you cannot eat at home or do not want to eat at home, and it always leaves me scratching my head, on what can I have without sending calorie meter in an overdrive. Now if you want to avoid  Bhature/Poori/Kachori, where does that leave you? Well, the only sensible option I was able to figure out was a South Indian Cafe in the Shanker Road Market (New Rajendra Nagar). I was there a few days back and they served a fabulous Upma with Sambar and coconut Chutney. Freshly made idly tasted heavenly at that hour as well. They had vadas on offer, however they again are fried. These guys start to serve at around 7:30 AM, and by 9 odd in the morning, they have Uthapams and Dosa ready as well. What I like is that they can make a dosa for you, without using any oil, which makes it a very healthy option. Now I am assuming that such small south Indian places are aplenty in Delhi, so you might want to find one and check when they start serving. My Breakfast of Upma and an Idli was sorted out in under 50 rupees. My quest for something different, also took me to Shudh in Karol bagh, where they have a buffet breakfast for Rs. 150 per person, however then again, buffet is not my idea of on-the-go-food, and anyhow, I found it to be very average.
Upma with Chutney and Sambar
Coming to evening snacks, I have discovered couple of decent options in my area, one being a small outlet called “Tummy Tull” (I love that name :D), near Patel Nagar Metro Station, they serve various types of rolls. I am not gonna talk about all of them here, however the one that got me interested was Double Egg Nutrine roll (as they call it). Its a roll with base coated with eggs and filled with Soy nuggets. They are quite eager to oblige any special request. So I ask them to make a roll with egg whites only and fill it up with Soy Nuggets. That works out to be a very healthy option, however I have to be carefull and keep a check on the person who makes them, as he is trigger happy when it comes to use of cooking oil in making the parantha (base). I literally have to force his hand into not putting any oil in it when he makes it for me. Grab a can of diet Pepsi, and you are all set for quite filling snack for Rs.50. Again, such roll wallas are all around Delhi, and non-vegetarians can use Chicken instead of Soy Nuggets. Just find one who is ready to oblige you, and makes yours using egg whites and minimal oil.
Last one on my list is another cafe called “No Guilt Cafe” in East Patel Market (next to Domino’s), they serve Frozen Yoghurts, and snacks targeted at health concious clientele. I have been there couple of times, and encountered over-eager but much clueless staff. It gives an impression of a wannabe chain, in which money has been invested but without any sense of taste or class (in terms of decor). However I was really surprised to have their corn and Spinach grilled sandwitch. It was made in whole wheat brown bread, grilled with almost no butter, Spinach tasted deliciously smooth and sweet corns did the balancing act against the  minute bitterness of spinach. The sandwich was just above Rs.100 including taxes, not exactly cheap, however I am not complaining. Also tried their Fruit and Nut sundae with frozen yoghurt and was disappointed by the miniscule amount of nuts and fruits in it.
Corn and Spinach Sandwish
Fruit and Nut sundae with Frozen Yoghurt
No Guilt Cafe, East Patel Nagar
This is as far as I have reached as of now, however my quest conitunes and I hope to discover more such places, where one can have a quick bite, without any guilts. On that note, would love to hear your experience of finding healthy food, do let me know if you have any recommendations / solutions.
PS : All the photos have been shot by my mobile phone, so if you found the quality to be poor, my apologies.

Samosa from Karol Bagh..

I heard about this Samosa walla in Karol Bagh area through EOiD (Eating out in Delhi) community, and was curious to try it out, since I live quite close to the area. I was there yesterday evening with Neeraj Kumar, a close friend, and we decided to give it a try, as per the directions reached the front gate or Jessa Ram Hospital and with our back towards Pusa Road, took right into the street opposite it  (Technically the service lane of Pusa road, this shop is behind house no. 14 Pusa Road), and spotting the shop was not a challenge then. As there are hardly 2-3 shops there, and spotting the halwai was an easy job.
The shop looks quite run down and old, I doubted the quality of the stuff after first glance. I was told that there were some really old guys managing it, however I saw couple of young guys manning the counter. They said that samosas were being fried and we have to wait for 10 minutes, decided to sink our teeth into a Ras Madhuri sitting on the counter in the meantime (cannot say much about it, as was too sweet and syrupy for me, but texture seemed nice). Later on we were told that even those guys were customers and and the famous old man was busy making samosa on the backside. This establishment enjoys tremendous loyalty, so much so that people wait patiently for 15 minutes, while samosas are being made.
Now coming to the samosa, the main reason why it is famous is because they do not fill the mashed potatoes, but they cut them into small pieces, roast them and then fill them. It was lovely to eat, the old man had taken his sweet time to fry them, this ensured that the crust was nice and crispy. The potatoes had subtle spices, nothing over powering the flavor, every bite was an experience in itself.
Mr. Dutt, or Pandit ji
We were quite satisfied with the samosa and started chatting with the old man (Mr. Dutt or popularly known as Pandit Ji), he said that shop was originally owned by his Mama Ji and he worked for them since beginning. it opened in 1942 and the owner was staunch follower of Nehru-Gandhi school. In-fact Nehru Ji himself has visited this shop on several occasions.
He also made us sample some Sandesh made from “Khajoor Ka Gud”, which comes straight from Bengal and a type of Mathri.
The Menu
Sandesh
News Paper Article
Original Owner
 

Other Pictures
PS (Dated : 27th June, 2011) – There is something about such places that go beyond food, something that brings a smile to your face and satisfaction to your heart. The simplicity, the charm, the stories gives them a character, which can only be experienced when you are there. Not sure if they are still surviving, would have to visit them again, in the meantime if you have some update or intelligence of the place, kindly share with us in the comments section.