Sunday, January 30, 2011

Veiled City

Several parda nasheen women pass by Skeety as she walks towards Lal Kuan after getting off the Chawri Bazaar metro station. A five minute walk later she reaches Bade Mian kheerwale. The widest of wide smiles greets her as Jamaluddin invites her in. Skeety feels as if she was the only customer he had been waiting for whole day. Such is old world hospitality. Though in this part of Delhi women walk around in veils and are seldom unaccompanied, those from outside this world are treated with equal respect. Tehzeeb reigns supreme. Skeety is made to sit on a rickety chair but is treated no less than a princess on a PINK chair.
Conversations with Jamaluddin are devoured even as the taste buds await the kheer. Questions shot by Skeety are answered with perseverance.
And then enters the much acclaimed kheer. Converstaions halt. The dessert made from rice, milk and sweet (sugar and/or jaggery) over slow fire, enters the mouth. New age gelatos cannot match this taste that takes you to pre-cooking ranges age. An earthy, sweet flavour bursts in the mouth as one takes a bite. The rest four senses stand still. Such is the spell cast by the flavours.
P.S.: Jamaluddin tells Skeety that the kheer sold at his shop became famous as "bade mian's kheer", when food writer Rahul Verma started calling it so.
From the mouth of Chawri Bazaar metro station, start walking towards Lal Kuan. On your right, you will find this shop. Skeety can give you the exact location, but then she's never upto any good. *wink*