Friday, November 4, 2011

Dilli Paneeri

After living in Delhi for 17 years, I realized that the only best title that can be given to Delhi in regards to food is "Dilli Paneeri". Delhi has always been known for its delicious and high caloric food. Daal Makhani, Butter Naan, Makki ki Roti Sarso ka Saag, Chole Bhatoore, Aaloo Poori, Paneer Tikka, etc. are some of the top menu items that one will always find in any restaurant and Dhaba.

One of my cousins from Mumbai is so tempted by Delhi food especially the Chaats that he visits us only to enjoy the food. I will probably never forget his visit to Delhi this time because I was the one who was dragged to the Bazaars (Market) of Delhi every evening to munch and hog on the Chaats and Pakodas, Naans and Bhatooras, Daals and Sabzis and not to forget the giant glass of Fruit Beer.

Our trip to the local bazaar always scared me of the high possibility of stomach upset but at the same time, I didn't want to miss this chance of enjoying North Indian delicacies. What surprised me the most this time was that every single menu item at any restaurant was well equipped with Paneer (cottage cheese). Even a simple dish like Daal (lentils) will have fine chopped Paneer as dressing.

Pakodas will be stuffed with a slice of Paneer, a menu of 20 items would have at least 10 items with Paneer in it, Naans and Rotis (Indian breads) will have crushed Paneer stuffed in. You name a dish and you can customize it with Paneer, this is what Delhi restaurants are today.

Meal without Paneer is probably not a complete meal as if Paneer is the salad for the modern Delhi. I was just getting used to this new meal structure when I was hit by another shock. Delhi is not the only city that is hit by Paneeria (imaginary disease of Paneer like Malaria) but all of the North India is under the clutches of Paneer.

It is so amazing to see how people can be so innovative and creative with vegetables and vegetables substitutes, Paneer being one of the many options, and people on the other side of the globe wonder, "what do you vegetarians have to eat if you don't eat Stake, Chicken, Meat"?



sharell said...

Unfortunately, I don't like paneer. Nothing more annoying when I order a vegetarian dish and find it's got paneer in it! If I want veg -- that's exactly what I want, veg. ie. vegetables! None of these "substitutes". Otherwise give me some meat please! ;-)

Poor In Java said...

I agree Sharell. To some extent and once a while it is fine with me too but in everything, OMG

Ms. Neha Gandhi said...

ohh my God... i am now craving for the chaats and the bhaturas... and i wanna experience this new paneer explosion in the delhi chaat market :)

Poor In Java said...

@Neha: You'll have to go to India first which I know you would be soon and then you will have to make a visit to Delhi. Only then you can enjoy the Paneeria :) fever

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