Delhiwale: Step into pakoda paradise
Go to this stall if you love fried food come hail or shine, and watch artists spin out 11 enthralling varietiesdelhi Updated: Jun 13, 2017 18:28 IST
Some dishes are unlucky to be ghettoised with a certain kind of weather. Pakodas, for example, are romanticised with rain. But Delhi’s average annual rainfall of 630mm is hardly sufficient for pakoda aficionados.
That’s why we have the Khandani Pakodiwalla, on the Ring-Road Sarojini Nagar intersection. Here, they have been frying pakodas every day since 1962, come monsoon or drought. The stall was started by the current owner Omprakash’s grandfather. Khandani loosely means ancestral in Hindi.
If you want death by pakodas, you must visit its pakoda-stuffed counter shelves. The table behind it is covered with pakodas as well. The floor is taken over by baskets full of pakodas. The air is rich with the aroma of, well, pakodas.
There are 11 varieties including cauliflower, lotus root, spinach, potato, green chilli, onion, paneer and bread. Served with pale green chutney, the bread pakoda is rectangular, the onion pakoda is round and the cauliflower pakoda is lumpy.
One variety is called ‘seekh kebab’, which is a deep fried roll of channa daal, green peas and potatoes. Despite being treated with piquant spices such as ajwain, fenugreek and cumin, the cauliflower pakoda retains the vegetable’s delicious raw flavour. The onion pakoda is like a city secret — a pleasant surprise enclosed within the everyday trappings. Beneath the golden brown crust sits the whole onion, translucent and sweet.
Watching the pakoda-makers in action is engrossing. The cook picks the round slices of the egg-plant, dips them in the batter and fries them. His hands move like a drummer, now banging on the cymbal, now striking the tambourine. Applause for his virtuoso performance.