City Food – Kailashji Samose Wale, Kotla Mubarakpur
Small town taste.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The bazar is a haze of moving faces. A sense of stability is gained by focusing on the unmoving landmarks rooted to their spots—Chhabra Bag House, Hans Furniture, Intimate Laundry and Turant-Turant Instant-Instant Passport Photo.
Without doubt the greatest landmark of the place however, here in south Delhi’s Kotla Mubarakpur, is Shri Omkareshear Shiv Mandir, its spire towering above the market roofs. Many people in the know might agree that the next landmark in significance is Kailashji Samose Wale. The eatery’s name is displayed on the signage in large lettering, along with the much smaller ‘Since 1975.’ This evening, a large crowd has formed in front of the counter. Armed with a ladle, cook Vikram (both ears stylishly pierced) is deep-frying a fresh batch of samosas. The customers are silently watching him manoeuvre the gigantic karahi. Nobody is pushing or shouting, but this appearance of decency is somehow compromised by a glimmer of restrained greed shining from each one’s eyes.
Minutes later, the samosas are ready to be served. The huge tray empties within a minute. The people at the counter go away, but the crowd doesn’t decrease, continually being replenished by more patrons.
Too busy to excuse himself from the counter, the friendly Rahul informs that the shop was named after his father, Kailash Chand, who passed away in 2016. The samosa’s recipe hasn’t altered since the founder’s departure, he says.
With no disrespect to the cooks, the particular joy of the samosa here is in the cozy ambiance of the place. These shops with their charming names, the people sashaying around with seemingly no haste, and the aforementioned temple evoke the aura of a small-town market. Being here feels like we were inhabitants of Khurja or Nagina,, and that we had stepped out of the house for a sundown pet-pooja. To be sure, Kotla Mubarakpur is one of the many villages of Delhi, and its easygoing pace does seem far from the life of anxiety-inducing metropolises. That the grand showrooms of South Extension market are a few minutes walk away is unbelievable.
The shop’s samosa, however, stands out on its own, too. The shell is cracklingly tasty and the aloo stuffing is delicious but without being spicy, intensely flavoured with the aroma of whole dhaniya seeds. Open from 9 am to 9 pm, come during the evening rush for the best experience.