Visit old Delhi this Ramzan for some baked goodness

  • Nikita Saxena, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 17, 2016 19:54 IST
Old Delhi offers varieties of rusk, fain and tabarak roti or saunf ki roti. (Shivam Saxena/HT)

Ramzan is on and chances are you will find yourself in the galis of Purani Dilli, looking for something delicious to gorge on.

Apart from the kebabs and tikkas that the area offers, there are bakeries that date back to the times of British Raj, offering several delightful options that include varieties of rusk, of ‘fain’ or fan such as marodi, ajwain fain or masala fain, and tabarak roti or saunf ki roti.

HT City brings to you a few delectable options that the bakeries of the Walled City offer.


Rusk is undoubtedly the most popular offering of the area, with shops making it in quantities of around 60kgs to 100kgs daily. Better known as pappe, these are made using rava or semolina, wheat flour, sugar, khus khus or poppy seeds, cardamom seeds, and salt. To make rusk, first the bread is prepared. Once it cools down, it is cut into the shape of rusks and then baked two to three times. The process takes anywhere from 16-24 hours. What makes these pappe special is that instead of yeast, a special masala is used to make them.

The process of making rusk takes around 24 hours. (Shivam Saxena/HT)

“Hum subah 5 baje rusk banana shuru kar dete hain. Usko bana ke rakhte hain sham 5 baje tak, phir usko sookhte sookhte raat ho jaati hai. Agar cake rusk banate hain, toh thoda aur samay lagta hai,” says Abdul Rashid, the owner of Diamond bakery that stands since 1914 in Chitli Qabar.

Fain or Fan

Fain or fan, a kind of puffy pastry, is the most popular offering after rusk in the bakeries of Old Delhi. The list of ingredients for fain includes wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oil, and salt, sugar or garam masala depending on the type of fain. The process of making this pastry is much simpler than that of rusk. The ingredients are first made into dough which is flattened using a rolling pin. The flattened dough is then cut into small rectangular shapes and baked for around 45 minutes.

Marodi fain, a variety of fain in which the fain is twisted before being baked. (Shivam Saxena/HT)

“Fain 4 type ke bante hain: plain fain, marodi, ajwain fain, sugar fain aur masala fain. Rusk ke baad, logo ko sabse zyaada yahi pasand hai. Snacks mein bahut khaaya jaata hai ye,” says Muhammed Rizwan, of Al Madina bakery, whose bakery was started in 1961 and is located at Chitli Qabar.

Tabarak roti or saunf ki roti

Tabarak roti or saunf ki roti is a baked roti made using fennel seeds, semolina, milk, wheat flour among other things. (Shivam Saxena/HT)

Tabarak roti is a baked roti made using semolina (rava), milk, wheat flour (maida), poppy seeds (khus khus), fennel seeds (saunf) and sugar. The items are made into dough and flattened using a rolling pin. Rotis are then cut out from the dough using a round cutter. The rotis are then baked till they get hardened and garnished with fennel seeds.

“Waise toh tabarak roti pure saal milta hai, par Rajab ke mahine mein ye bahut bikta hai. Tab hum isko specially banate hain. Rajab Islamic calendar ka saatva mahina hai,” adds Rizwan.

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