Monday, 30 April 2012

99% Delhi. Irshad. Shahajanbad

(Text and Photography by Pupps Roy)

"This cannot be cooked. It has to be prepared you see and it takes almost 2 hours". It refers here as Haleem. And beside the big Haleem pot there is also a huge handi of Biriyani. If you get down at Chauri Bazar Metro station and take a walk towards the Balli Marang Main Market through the crowded gully of Qasimjan street will find him at a historian landmark. Irshad from Shahjahanabad (now known as Old Delhi) sits right across the house of Mirza Ghalib with his food cart. He sells Buff Biriyani and Haleem. His clients are mostly local muslim from the neighborhood. His biriyani is almost sold out and its just 6pm. The meaty aroma filled my nose as he opened the lid to show me the Biriyani. Spicy, succulent meat pieces cooked over fine aromatic colorful rice. Looks rich and tastes great. It does not taste oily. Or did he use Ghee? "People wont spend much money here but they like my Biryani so its almost over now. A plate of Biriyani for 20 Rs and Haleem too is sold at the same price". He meekly stands and serves his customers back to back with a long grin. Its difficult to make a name in the walled city for Biryani where there is a Biriyani wala in every 50 metres. Biriyani is again a very sensitive subject. If you praise Dilli ki Biryani to anyone from Lucknow they will give you a funny look. While people from Hyderabad will consider Delhi Biriyani as Pullao. Irshad manages to thrive easily in midst of all these controversies. "No one complaints from anyone for Biriyani worth 20 Rs. I mostly know all the people who come to eat here and they keep coming back to me", Irshand proudly says that. Just then the Muezzin calls out for prayer. Irshad looks at the sky packed with electrical wires, closes the  Handi lids and enters the house next to his cart.

Irshad with his food Cart

flavour flavour and flavor

Crowded sky

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