Monday, October 17, 2011

Parantha Gali, or The Night I Gave In and Ate Street Food

Since arriving in Delhi almost 4 (!) months ago, I have been (obsessively?) meticulous about what I eat. No unpeeled, fresh fruits or vegetables, no ice in my drinks, and most definitely no street food. This has been rather frustrating, because Indian street food is my favorite kind of food. I adore pani puri, bhel puri, papri chaat, and all of their street snack siblings. But I adore not getting sick much, much more. And since I've seen the guys selling these snacks stick fingers up their noses and pick some deep, deep wedgies, it hasn't been, like, allll that difficult to just say no.

A couple of weeks ago, though, I finally succumbed. I was with some friends in Old Delhi after the Ramlila procession and one of them suggested we grab something to eat in this little alley that is famous for its paranthas, a pan-fried stuffed bread. Paranthas, which can also be found in more high-end establishments, happen to be my latest food obsession. So with just a little bit of peer pressure, I ended up on Parantha Lane.

We chose a place called Pandit Dayanand Shivcharan, which has been open for 6 generations. We got a brief history lesson from its proprietor, who then proceeded to give us a warm welcome by feedings us (yes, feeding us) all a spoonful of curry. From the same spoon. Our attempts at politely declining were met only by a forceful jab of his curry-laden welcome mat.

The paranthas did not disappoint. I had one stuffed with radish and another stuffed with potato. Maybe it's not technically street food, since there's sort of a three-walled building surrounding a small seating area. But I'd say it still counts for my street food initiation. Take a look at the photos and you'll understand why.

Radish-stuffed parantha with chutneys, pickled vegetables, and a curry. The sauce on the bottom left was made with banana and tamarind and it was fantastic.
View from my table of the street.
Our maitre d.

Making paranthas.

Leg hair adds extra flavor!