City Food – Nagori Poori-Sooji Halwa, Arihant Sweets
A traditional breakfast.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Made from sooji (semolina) and maida (white flour), the deep-fried nagori poori is so crisp and delicate that it shatters on touch. As part of a traditional Delhi breakfast, it is always partnered with sooji halwa. Swarming with ghee and sugar, the not-very-gooey halwa tries its best to kill the deadly power of the searing-hot chickpea curry.
This combination of three dishes is the Sunday specialty of Arihant Sweets, a dreary-looking establishment in Daryaganj.
Each week loyalists arrive from across the city to have this morning meal. Founded in 1991, the sweet shop is situated on the ground floor of an old mansion. This part of the Walled City neighbourhood is home to the Jain community. That’s why the gravy is without garlic and onion. This great loss is compensated by the addition of various spices, including a generous quantity of coriander seeds, and therefore you are not likely to feel the absence of the forbidden flavours. Indeed, the ajwain-flavoured poori provides an additional perspective to the aforementioned collage of tastes.
The eatery has tables, but no chairs. In the morning the street remains empty, most shops lie shut, and the homeless are still asleep on pavements. Only the lungi-wearing cook seems alive, and it is his halwa-poori alone that matters… well, not exactly. Also on offer is the wonderfully cold, thick, creamy lassi. Served in an earthen cup, the frothy drink concludes the meal on a pleasantly sweet note.
Where Dayanand Marg, near Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, across the road from Golcha Cinema Time Sunday morning Nearest Metro Station Chawri Bazaar
The Sunday treat