Delhiwale: Potatoes, a la Chawri
Ram Babu Kushwaha claims he invented the kulle chaat and named it after kulhar, an earthen vesseldelhi Updated: Jun 07, 2017 10:00 IST
He picks up a whole boiled potato, scoops out most of its flesh with a knife and fills the void with delicious stuffing.
Depending on your taste, he can substitute the potato with melon/cucumber/shakarkandi/mango/apple/banana.
This is the famous kulle chaat at the humble Heera Lal Chat Corner in Old Delhi’s Chawri Bazar.
Sitting next to a framed picture of the aforementioned delicacy, Ram Babu Kushwaha says that he invented it at the turn of the century. “One day I was experimenting by hollowing out the potato and filling it with spices and lemon juice,” he says. “It tasted nice and I started selling it along with our other items. We named it after kulhar, the earthen vessel we traditionally use to drink tea in. Our customers appreciated the new recipe. Later, I added boiled chickpeas. That made it more popular. To make the chaat colourful and tasty, I later also introduced pomegranate seeds into the filling.”
The eatery is named after Mr Kushwaha’s father but it was founded by his grandfather, Rati Ram, who had moved to Delhi “many, many years ago” from Najibabad, a town near the Himalayan foothills. The former farmer began his life in this city by selling fruit on the pavements of Chawri Bazar. Today, Mr Kushwaha, assisted by his two brothers, is carrying forward the legacy.
Although the stall serves classics such as golgappas and paav bhaji, you need to focus only on these scooped eye-catchers — they stand out thanks to the juicy pomegranate seeds glistening like pink diamonds. As you pop a kuliya in your mouth, it explodes, leaving you reeling under a multitude of flavours. And then you pop in another one, and another.