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Even paranthas have history

The famous paranthewali gali of Chandni Chowk got its name in 1911. Just like the capital, the gali too is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

entertainment Updated: Jan 16, 2011 00:31 IST
Vaishali Bhambri

It’s not only Delhi that is celebrating its 100th year anniversary as India’s capital. The city’s iconic food street too is celebrating its 100th birthday. In 1911, an alley in Dariba Kalan - a bazaar for jewellery - got its own identity. It was renamed as the

paranthewali gali

.



The first

parantha

shack was started by Pt Gaya Prasad in 1872. The locals liked the deep-fried parantha stuffed with ingredients of their choice: grated carrots, mashed potatoes, split green chillies, urad daal and paneer. Word-of-mouth publicity increased the eatery’s fame. Sensing an opportunity, Prasad’s relatives too opened their shacks. The rest is history.



In the 1980s most of these shacks closed down. Now, three remain: Babu Ram Devi Dayal Paranthewala, Pandit Kanhaiya Lal Durga Prasad and Pandit Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan. They are now managed by the sixth generation of the extended family. At the time of its inception, the horse-driven

tonga

may have been the only way to get there, but now Chandni Chowk Metro Station is the easiest way to get there.



In the olden days, the food here was served on a banana leaf but with time steel utensils have taken over. Ignore the soot-covered walls as they are just reminiscent of the years gone by. “I am just taking forward the tradition of our forefathers. I have heard from my grandparents that in 1911, a

parantha

cost about 1

aana

,” says Manish Sharma, owner of Pandit Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan

parantha

shop. The prices of paranthas now range between Rs.30 to Rs.45. The variety includes the conventional fillings (potato, cauliflower, peas and carrot to cottage cheese) and the unconventional (

papad, khurchan

- milk by-product obtained after boiling,

rabri, mewa

and

okra

). You can also enjoy the

kela parantha, kaju parantha

and the roll

paratha

.



“The bestseller is the

papad parantha

which is stuffed with fried

papad

and boiled potato. Mixed veget-able

paratha

is also liked by many," adds Sharma. The

gali

, though, is not meant for non-vegetarians, as the preparations don’t include even onion and garlic, leave aside mutton and chicken.



Instead of using

tawa

for making the

paranthas

, frying pan (

kadhai

) is used. Those on a diet, note that the

paranthas are

deep fried. The

paranthas

are served with pickle,

kele ki saunth

,

pudina chutney

,

aloo mutter sabzi

and

pethhe ki sabzi

.



However, Sharma is afraid that the legacy may not be carried forward by the next generation. “The young ones want fancy and air-condition-ed offices, they aren’t interested in the shabby

gali

. I can’t say whether this shop will exist after me or not,” says Sharma. Will the

paranthewali galli

exist in 2111?