The Lucknow Food Trail – Part 2 (Chowk ki Chaat)

The Lucknow Food Trail – Part 1 (Dastarkhwan)

Barely had I recovered from the intoxicating effects of the Kebabs, we found ourselves at our next stop – Chowk. Located in the old city, Chowk is quite literally an intersection, surrounded by numerous eateries. Thankfully, the traffic jam at Hazratganj gave us a much-needed breather before we could gorge on the famous chat of Lucknow.

On our way, Devang kept insisting that we must try Chhole Bahture and Lassi at Shree. Quite clearly he was craving for them for than anyone else. So our first move was to get him a plate of chhole bhature and a glass of Lassi. No wonder, when the plate of food arrived on the table, Devang had a huge smile. And obviously, we all took our share of generous bites.

Lassi @Shree
Lassi @Shree
Chhole Bhature @Shree
Chhole Bhature @Shree

It had been drizzling for a while and the chill in the air was growing. I saw some people enjoying hot Gulaab Jamun. It was so tempting that I couldn’t help but order one for myself. It was warm, soft and succulent.

Gulaab Jamun @Shree

Meanwhile, I had called Shivanshu, another Lucknawi friend of mine, who shares our common love for food. As promised, he promptly took us to a roadside counter at Chowk and made us taste Makhan Malai. Exclusive to Lucknow in winters, it is made from the fat of milk, beaten into a fluffy cream, which is called ‘Malai’. It’s served along with sweetened milk, topped with nuts and kesar(Saffron). None of us expected it to be so good, but after one sip all of us ordered our own portions. This was the best discovery of the food trail.

Malai Makhan
Malai Makhan

Even though I’m a baker, I can’t really say I have a sweet tooth. I wondered what was in the air that I was enjoying the sweet dish in Lucknow like never before. Perhaps the weather and company made all the difference.

All this while it had been drizzling. We didn’t mind it much, but suddenly it started pouring down heavily. Not allowing the rain to dampen our spirits, we headed for Prem Mishtaan Bhandar.

Although, by now my stomach was full, but after looking at the chat counter I couldn’t resist it. Pani ke batashe, Aloo Tikki chaat and Matar Tikki at Prem Mishtaan Bhandar looked really fascinating.

Pani ke Batashe are similar to Gol Gappe, Fuchke or Panipuri. What sets them apart and makes them extremely special is the filling. They are filled with mashed matar (similar to chickpea) and water, available in different flavours – Heeng, Lemon and Saunth. Believe me when I say, with each batasha you’re in for a surprise.

Pani Ke Batashe @Prem Mishthaan Bhandar
Pani Ke Batashe @Prem Mishthaan Bhandar

Matar Tikki is another dish, that I had never heard of. I was already salivating when I saw the cook preparing it. It is garnished in two different ways. One can choose just lemon juice & green chutney or get it topped with Kesar Curd and Saunth. Garnished with potato fries, this dish has the perfect blend of sweet, sour, crunch and softness.

Matar Tikki @Dahi Puri @Prem Mishthaan Bhandar
Matar Tikki @Dahi Puri @Prem Mishthaan Bhandar
Dahi Puri @Prem Mishthaan Bhandar
Dahi Puri @Prem Mishthaan Bhandar

Aloo tikki is prepared in the same style and with similar ingredients, except for the tikki, which is made out of mashed potatoes and shaped into a disc. Although, Aloo tikki is widely available all over Delhi, I can assure you that this is something you wouldn’t find anywhere else.

The place is real easy on pocket as the bill came up to Rs 125.

The rain forced us to take refuge under a shed. We fought the rain and chill with a nice cup of hot & comforting tea. As soon as the tea got over, we took leave from Shivanshu and headed back home.

This was the end to a day that was all about eating like never before and perhaps never again!

The Lucknow Food Trail- Part 3 (Tunday Kebabi)

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