Tried and tasted: Head to Kashmere Gate for the best doodh jalebi in Delhi
Makhal Lal Tika Ram in Bara Bazar, Kashmere Gate, does a doodh jalebi that stays etched in your mind.tried and tasted Updated: Oct 29, 2017 10:29 IST
A man called Kallu gave us a lot of happiness when I was a growing boy with a growing appetite. He was a halwai who prepared the most amazing doodh-jalebi – thickened milk and jalebi. He sat next to a huge vessel in which milk boiled through the day, starting from early in the morning. As the milk thickened, hungry hordes gathered around him for a sublime breakfast of juicy jalebis dunked in a tall glass of thickened milk.
He would place the jalebi in the glass, fill it with milk and then top it at the end with a thick wedge of fresh cream, or malai. And we would eat and drink that up, and then start the day full of energy and vigour by bunking our first class.
In north India, doodh-jalebi used to be quite a tradition. We don’t find it in our homes or neighbourhood sweet shops very often these days for a host of reasons – but essentially because of health and time concerns. You may see this being served at somebody’s wedding on a winter’s day. But if you really like your jalebi and your milk, you can head for Kashmere Gate, where the delicious mix still has its loyal share of takers.
Makhal Lal Tika Ram in Bara Bazar, Kashmere Gate, does a doodh jalebi that stays etched in your mind. The shop has been there since 1928. Their grandfather came from Jewar, on what is now the outskirts of Delhi, and set up the shop in what was then called Lothian Road. And, since then, they have been thickening milk for doodh jalebi, and frying bedmis for hungry souls.
The milk was simmering alluringly when we reached there. I had my bedmi – served with aloo-chholey, some pickle and fenugreek chutney – and then waited for my doodh jalebi.
It was like old times. In a glass, the halwai placed two juicy jalebis, and then poured thickened milk over it. He added a nice dollop of malai, and inserted a spoon there. You mix it the way you wish to – and slurp and wolf it down. Each glass, the founder’s grandson Dishant Aggarwal said, contained 100g of jalebi and 250ml of milk. It used to cost Rs 21 when I last went there, and now comes for Rs 70.
It’s a delicious mix, with the unsweetened milk complementing the sweetness of the jalebi and the thick malai somewhat foiling the syrupiness, while adding texture to it. If you stir it well, you get a superb potpourri of tastes and flavours.
The dish reminds me of my childhood, when milk would simmer through the day in a huge kadhai on a wooden fire. In some hours, the milk would get a light brown colour and the wood smoke would get infused in it. On winter days, we drank warm glassfuls, and on a summer’s day, we used to mix it with some cold water and ice and then gulp it down.
Ambrosia then, ambrosia now!
Ingredients: 250g flour, 500g sugar, 1tsp yeast, water as needed, oil to fry
Method: Soak the yeast in lukewarm water for 15 minutes or so. Mix it with flour in a bowl, add some water and make a thick batter. Cover it and leave it overnight. Make the syrup by boiling sugar in 2 1/2 cups of water for a couple of minutes. Keep aside. Take an icing pipe and pour the flour mix in it. Heat oil and squeeze some of the mix out of the nozzle, making a shape like an uneven concentric circle. When it is golden brown, take it out, put it in the syrup and push it down with a ladle for about 10 minutes. Serve with thickened milk.