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Delhi’s sweetest leftover

entertainment Updated: Oct 31, 2010 00:45 IST
Mayank Austen Soofi
Mayank Austen Soofi
Hindustan Times
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The name Khurchan means 'leftover scrapes' in Hindi. Its preparation is simple: boil the milk, scrape off the leftover from the karahi's bottom, slap it on a tray, sprinkle bhoora (powdered sugar) and serve.

Khurchan is gooey, it sticks to the teeth and for some reason, it 's not widely available in Delhi's mithai shops. In Old Delhi's Kinari Bazaar however, there is a shop dedicated exclusively to this dessert.

Hazari Lal Jain Khurchan Wale, like most great places in the Walled City, is a small, seemingly insignificant
establishment. Sandwiched between stores selling wedding paraphernalia (jewellery, saris, currency garlands, groom’s turbans), the shop was founded around 90 years ago by Gauri Shankar Jain, an immigrant from Jaswant Nagar, Uttar Pradesh. His son was Hazari Lal — after whom the shop is named. Following his death in 1983, Sunil, Hazari Lal’s son, took over the mantle.

Khurchan’s quality hasn’t deteriorated over the years. Each slice has a deceptively dry surface, embedded with roughly chopped juliennes of pistachio. As you bite, its inner moistness releases and further softens the sticky texture. It is a bit too sweet, but that’s how a Delhi belly likes it.

Customers can’t get inside the shop. It’s because a large milk container bars the entry. (The shop uses buffalo’s milk; they say cow’s milk is not thick enough.) Inside, four lungi-clad workers, squatting on the floor, stir the boiling milk in their karahis. Each time the cream clots up on the surface, the worker pulls it aside. When almost all the milk is gone, he scrapes off the leftovers — the khurchan. Three litres of milk in one karahi makes half a kilo of khurchan. Priced at R370 a kg, the mithai brings many well-heeled Delhiites to this congested part of the city. During his Lahore bus ride in 1999, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had carried Mr Jain’s khurchan as a gift for his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif.

Three months later, India and Pakistan were at war in Kargil.

Where: Khurchan Wala,
Shop no. 2225, Kinari Bazaar, Dariba Kalan
Phone 011-3253992
Nearest Metro Station Chandni Chowk