Eat Mubarak | Old Delhi sweets for this eid-ul-fitr!

Bazaar Old Delhi
Bazaar Old Delhi

Best sweets to eat in Old Delhi during Ramadan

For the love of festivals in India and the colourful times ahead, I’m back with this year’s Eid special.

As mentioned in last year’s Eat Mubarak, I celebrate all festivals, especially to enjoy the diverse food they bring along. As a kid, I would visit Majeed Uncle, my mother’s colleague, for Eid feasts at his home. Although, I was too young to realize the significance of the festival, I definitely loved the heavenly food they served.

A few days back someone asked me if I knew the best place to have Haleem in Old Delhi during Ramadaan. That got me thinking and I became restless to find out more on this. Now as stupid as it may sound, I never realized that its Eid-Ul-Fitr, the sweet Eid. So, quite literally, it was time for the sweetest conversations with food.

So one day, I got ready and boarded the Delhi Metro to visit the most characteristic part of the capital, Old Delhi. Though I really don’t have a sweet tooth, I felt a yearning to to explore the famous sweet eateries of Delhi-6 on foot.

Kheer at Old Kheer Shop (Hauz Qazi)
Address: Hauz Qazi Chowk, Chhoti Baradari, Chandni Chowk, Delhi – 110006
Phone: 09899315773

“Milk, sugar, rice and blessings of well wishers is the recipe of our Kheer”, said Jamaluddin Siddiqui, the third generation of owners at the Old Kheer Shop, which started in 1880. As soon as I entered his place, Mr. Siddiqui smiled and greeted me with affection. Before I could ask for anything, he placed two little bowls of kheer on my table. One look at the light brown colour of the kheer and you could tell what sets this apart from others. The lovely texture, the creamy mix of milk, sugar and rice and the taste of caramel achieved by gradual cooking, make the kheer a sheer delight for your taste buds. I promise, you would be asking for a repeat. While I was leaving, I wished Jamaluddin bhai ‘Eid Mubarak’ and his peaceful face lit up to shower blessings on me. Humbled and moved, I left for my further exploration of old Delhi sweets.

Shahi Tukda and Rabri at Cool Point (Matia Mahal)
Address: 973, Bazar Matia Mahal, Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Delhi 110006
Phone:093501 61298

Last year, I had gorged on the rich Mughlai dessert, Shahi tukda at this very place. I couldn’t resist doing the same, this time around as well. The rich delish mix of bread, sugar, milk, ghee, dried nuts and khoya, is a must have at this place. Another delightful offering is the Rabri. The richness of these desserts and generous servings just uplifts the festive mood. They are also famous for serving kesar (saffron) and badam (almond) milk that sells faster than any Keventer’s. Masood bhai, a visibly busy man, told me that their production of sweets changes according to the season. During winters, they serve the rich slow cooked sweet milk with nuts and malai (fat) on top. However, Shahi Tukda is the constant attraction of this place, which one must eat.

Phirni at Karim’s (Matia Mahal)
Address: House No: 16, Gali Kababian, Jama Masjid, Delhi 110006
Phone:011 2326 9880

Phirni - Karims
Phirni – Karims

I admit that this would seem like a usual choice, but I really tried hard to find phirni at other places. Fortunately or unfortunately, I couldn’t find any place that serves better Phirni than Karims in Old Delhi. Nobody gets the combination and the consistency of rice, milk and sugar as heavenly, as the talented cooks at Karims. The only other phirni that I absolutely love is served at Tunday Kebabi in Lucknows Aminabad. So, in case you wish to try phirni in Delhi, you must pay a visit to this legendary eatery that’s world-renowned for all the right reasons.

Jalebi at Old Famous Jalebi wala (Chandni Chowk)
Address: Dariba Kalan, Chandni Chowk, Delhi – 110006
Contact: 011-23256973

145 years old, looked after by 5 generations of a family, this place is a landmark of Delhi-6. Currently looked after by an evidently proud man, Kailash Jain, lovingly known as Raja Babu. Their secret recipe for unarguably, the best Jalebi in the whole country, has remained a well-guarded secret amongst family members only. As I mentioned earlier, I barely eat sweets and if there’s one thing that I eat even less is Jalebi. To my surprise, the freshly made jalebi was subtly sweet, crunchy, ligh and hollow from the middle – the best, I have ever had. As for the recipe, all I could find was that they use more flour, less urad daal (lentil) and some ‘magical sugar syrup from heaven’. Unlike other Jalebis I’ve had, this one didn’t leave any sour taste towards the end..

With my mouth full of sweet, I further walked down to Laal Kuan, Fatehpuri and other areas, desperately searching for a place serving cooked Sewai. As I walked around around in the lanes, I noticed people breaking their fast for iftar. Looking at them, I felt hungry and decided to have an early dinner at Al Jawahar. No opportunity should be wasted to eat such yummy Korma, Biryani and Kebabs. While leaving I asked the friendly owner of Kallan Sweet Shop (Matia Mahal), whether I could get cooked sewai anywhere in Old Delhi. To my dismay, he told me that it’s next to impossible, as they don’t remain fresh for long. However, he was kind enough to share a recipe that I could try at home.

Finally, I came back home, with the lovely memories of people buying Dry fruits, Pheni (uncooked sewai), Khalija (crispy giant puris eaten along with kheer/milk), Khopras (sweet bread) and taking out their families for an outing. And it goes without saying, these are enough reasons to love festival time in India.

Sewai (Pheni) @Old Delhi
Sewai (Pheni) @Old Delhi

As an afterthought, I feel we should all be like sweets. We can look or smell different. We might even belong to different areas, regions or communities, but if we decide to let go of our prejudices, just like sweets, we would all leave behind a sweetness, a flavour that one can cherish long after we are gone.

Eat Mubarak! Eid Mubarak!

Khalija @Old Delhi
Khalija @Old Delhi



You May Also Like