(This video was first published in 2019. It has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark the month of Ramzan.)
Video Editor: Kunal Mehra
Camera: Mukul Bhandari and Shiv Kumar Maurya
Yes, you read that right! Vegetarian delicacies.
Having kebabs and biryani during the holy month is just too cliché. But old Delhi has so much more to offer if you are ready to go beyond the beaten culinary path.
So The Quint’s Zijah Sherwani, a true-blue old Delhi girl, took her colleague Yagya Sachdev out on an exclusively vegetarian Ramzan food trail.
As they explored the galis of old Delhi for vegetarian delicacies, some myths around Ramzan were also busted. Like these, for example:
Non-veg food consumption increases during Ramzan as people hog biryani and kebabs all night.
First, iftaar food is mostly vegetarian. This includes fruit salad, pakodis, chana masala, dal masala, etc.
Second, no one hogs all night. Spicy and greasy food dehydrates and would make fasting the next day really difficult!
Third, Ramzan is about self-control and the whole purpose fails if one eats uncontrollably after breaking fast.
The first stop was this age-old shop, Shereen Bhawan, known for its Ramzan special ‘Khajla’.
Khajla: Prepared with Karigari
It is made in desi ghee and a zillion layers of wheat flour. Mildly salty and smooth in taste, once you bite into a crunchy ‘khalija’ the overwhelming taste of ghee takes over and then it’s hard to stop the munching!
Does swallowing saliva break your fast?
Swallowing your saliva doesn't break your fast, neither do other things such as street dust or toothpaste while brushing your teeth!
Next stop, Madina Bakery near Chitli Qabar. And on the menu was Coconut Parantha.
Coconut Parantha: North meets South
It is a baked not fried. Made of wheat flour and coconut. Tastes sweet.
The paratha can be washed down with lovingly named ‘Sharbat’ called ‘Mohabbat-e-Sharbat’. It’s a mixture of milk, roohafza, jaggery syrup and watermelon.
Controlling your desires also includes intimacy with your partner? No sex for 30 days?
Well, after breaking the fast couples can get intimate. The kind of things that need to be controlled is cussing, gossiping, lying, etc. After Ramzan gets over, ideally these things should continue to be avoided.
Sheermaal: Not Your Regular Sheermaal, This Is 'Yummy' Sheermaal
Sheermal is a common word for many kinds of breads, from dry fruit-filled to sweet and salty ones. Typically a sheermal is eaten with a curry. But the Ramzan exclusive sheermaal is basically a smattering of jam and butter on a beautifully baked bun.
In this case, the curry is replaced with with tea or milk. Flora Bakery serves one of the best sheermal of old Delhi.
On our way to the last snack, we halted to try other famous delicacies. Like, kala jamun, pakodis, dahi bhalla, black jalebi and shahi tukda. All these delicacies can be easily spotted on the street side.
Yagya’s reward for trying out these vegetarian snacks was ‘keema samosa’. Since fried food grabs most space on the iftaar table, people fashioned keema samosa and noodle samosa. What amazing is its grand size and, of course, the heavenly taste.