History of Paranthe wali Gali – Chandni chowk

January 16th, 2011  |  Published in Restaurants, Reviews

While Delhi is celebrating its 100th year anniversary as India’s Capital, but there more to celebrate. The city’s iconic food street too is celebrating its 100th birthday. In 1911, an alley in Dariba Kalan – a bazaar for jewellery – got its own identity. It was renamed as paranthewali gali.

The first parantha shack was started by Pt. Gaya Prasad in 1872. The locals liked the deep fried parantha stuffed with ingredients of their choice: grated carrots, mashed potatos, split green chilies, urad daal and paneer.

Word-of-mouth publicity increased the eatery’s fame. Sensing an opportunity; Prasad’s relatives too opened their shacks. The rest is history.

In the 1980s most of these shacks closed down. Now, three remain: Babu Ram Devi Dayal Paranthewala(established in 1886), Pandit Kanhaiya Lal Durga Prasad(established in 1875) and Pandit Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan(established in 1872). They are now managed by the sixth generation of the extended family.

All of these shops had photographs on the wall that showed Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Vijay Lakshmi Pandit and Babu Jagjivan Ram festing at Paranthe Wali Gali.

At the time of its inception, the horse-driven tonga may have been the only way to get there, but now with the arrival of Delhi metro – Chandni Chowk Metro Station is the easiest way to get there. Going from Hari Nagar, I board the train from Tilak Nagar and get down at Rajiv Chowk and shift to Kashmere Gate Lane, then get down ISBT (Kashmere Gate) and broad the train towards Chandi Chowk. The journey is pretty easy and time saving.

In the olden days, the food here was served on a banana leaf but with time steel utensils have taken over. Ignore the soot-covered walls as they are just reminiscent of the years gone by.

The prices of paranthas now range between Rs 30 to Rs 45. The variety includes the conventional fillings (potato, cauliflower, peas and carrot to cottage cheese) and the unconventional (papad, khurchan – milk-by-product obtained after boiling, rabri, mewa and okra). You can also enjoy the kela parantha, kaju parantha and the roll parantha.

The gali, though, is not meant for non-vegetarians, as the preparations don’t include even onion and garlic, leave aside mutton and chicked.

Instead of using tawa for making the paranthas, frying pan (kadhai) is used. Those on a diet, note that the paranthas are deep fried. The paranthas are served with pickle, kele ki saunth, pudding chutney, aloo mutter sabzi, and pethe ki sabji.


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