Tried and Tasted: Here’s where to have the best milk cake in Delhi
Hemraj Ladli Prasad in Kucha Ghasiram, a lane off Chandni Chowk, is a small tea shop popular for three kinds of sweets – burfi, rabri and milk cake.more lifestyle Updated: Jan 14, 2018 10:30 IST
There is nothing quite like hot tea on a cold day. And if the tea steams up in a small conical glass, it tastes even better. In fact, the very sight of tea bubbling in a pan, and then poured into these small glasses, works like magic.
I always enjoyed stopping for tea at dhabas on my road trips to hill towns in the north. But there are also quite a few small tea shops in Delhi, where you get the old-style tea – water and milk boiled together, with sugar, tea leaves and some spices. One such shop is in Hemraj Ladli Prasad in Kucha Ghasiram, a lane off Chandni Chowk.
They are essentially milk and curd sellers, but are known for their sweets. This is not the place for those seeking exotic-sounding sweets such as dil bahar or chak-a-chak. They have three kinds of sweets – burfi, rabri and milk cake – and are known far and wide for just these three varieties. Many believe that they have the best milk cake in town. And I certainly think so.
The shop, now run by Anoop Gupta, was set up about 80 years ago. It was started by his great-grand father, Hemlal, who handed over the business to his son, Ladli Prasad. When I first went there, many years ago, Ladli Prasad’s son, Gopi Kishen, was in charge. Alas, like many other Masters of Chandni Chowk, he has also left for the big sky.
It’s a small place with a bit of space outside where people can sit on benches and drink their tea. In a big kadhai behind the shop, the sweets are prepared. When carrots are in season, they also prepare gajar pak – a carrot and milk preparation that is not as thick as gajar ka halwa, and somehow a lot more satisfying. When I was there last, a fresh paraat of gajar pak had just been prepared, and was being put on the wooden counter for sale.
But, for me, this place is all about milk cake, colloquially also known as palangtor. What makes the milk cake different from the ones you get elsewhere is its softness. Elsewhere, milk cake is usually thick and hard. Here, because it is freshly prepared every day, it is moist and crumbly. I am told it lasts for ever, but I have never put that to test, for I usually end up eating it within a day or two.
Freshness is the USP here. They make as much as is consumed every day, or as ordered – for many buy kilos of sweets from this shop as temple offerings. I like their burfi, too, but the wonderfully warm and soft milk cake is a particular favourite of mine. And not just mine, I discovered that a happy dog who sits outside the shop is equally fond of it. If a piece of the sweet is chucked at her, she jumps up swallows it in one satisfying gulp.
Every dog has its day. This one, clearly, has it through the day.
Recipe: Milk cake
Ingredients: 5 litres of full cream milk, 500g sugar
Method: In a big pot boil the milk and sugar, stirring all the time. Let it simmer, but keep stirring. When the milk solidifies and turns brown because of the sugar, take off the heat and serve.
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