City Food – Netra-Geeta’s Stuffed Paratha, Sadar Bazar, Gurgaon
A couple’s offering.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The temptation is irresistible. This entire lane in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazar in the Greater Delhi Region is infused with the scent of steaming parathas. And not just any paratha, but aloo paratha—the delicious aroma of boiled potatoes on slow roast is immediately discernible even though the street itself is a miasma of various pleasant and unpleasant smells.
There’s also that familiar hissing sound of cooking oil crackling around the paratha-in-progress.
Netra Bahadur’s aloo paratha stall is very new. “We opened two months ago.” The 31-year-old gentleman explains that he co-manages the stall with his wife, Geeta. The young lady is sitting in an adjacent rickshaw, grating potatoes.
Migrants from a mountain village in Nepal, the couple earlier ran a momo stall in Sohna Chowk nearby. “Now we’ve jumped from momos to parathas,” Mr Bahadur chuckles, shaking his head. He says he was bored of making dumplings. “Switching to paratha was a good idea, we are selling well.” Some unavoidable circumstances, too, played their part. The momo stall at Sohna Chowk had to shut down due to events beyond his control, admits Mr Bahadur. Around the same time he got to know of a ‘reri’ space available in Sadar Bazar.
This is that site.
Its lunch time and a crowd has formed around the cart, comprising of the market’s ATM security guards and delivery men sent by shopkeepers.
Mr Bahadur is swiftly shallow-frying one paratha after another on the coal-black girdle and tossing them into a casserole. Soon his wife joins him by the cart.
The couple’s paratha is divinely fresh and tasty; just a bite sends one straight into childhood memories of home cooking. The stall is next to Sadar Bazar’s Holi ground, and serves daily from 9am to 3pm.
Scent of the street