Hello everyone, this is Anubhav Sapra from Delhi Food Walks. We are in Agra, exploring it’s street food. We’re finally in Agra and we’re going to start our food journey from a very famous tea shop near Delhi Gate. We will also meet Tahir there who will take us for a food tour. Anubhav: How are you Tahir?
Tahir : I’m great, how are you?
Anubhav: Great, great Tahir: Welcome to Agra!
Anubhav : Thank you Tahir: I am glad you’ve come from Delhi to try the food here Tahir: People of Agra wake up pretty early and this tea joint is open 24×7 Anubhav: okay
Tahir: So weíll start our food journey from here Tahir: Let’s go
Anubhav: Let’s go! Anubhav: So what’s special about the tea here? Tahir: The tea here is very good.. It has ginger, cloves and cardamom Tahir: And they’re called ‘Delhi Gate Chai wala’ because of their location Tahir: It’s always open Anubhav: 24×7?
Tahir: Yes, you can come here anytime. Tahir: I’ve never seen it closed. And they have a speciality which weíll order. Tahir: Bread toasted over coal Tahir: It has a distinct taste
Anubhav: Of course Anubhav: Let us try the bun-maska (butter-bread) as well along with the tea Tahir: Bun maska, tea and the toast all three of them. Anubhav: One tea please? Anubhav: Our Agra food journey is starting from Delhi Gate’s famous tea. And look at the rush here. Anubhav: This man is telling us that there is no shutter in this shop. Anubhav: So this shop can never be closed Anubhav: We have rusk here Anubhav: It’s called paape
Tahir: and it has cardamom in it Tahir: it has a beautiful cardamom flavour Anubhav: and there’s a whole layer of butter on top. Anubhav: and that is coal toasted butter bread. Anubhav: I remember when I was a kid, i used to put butter on top of biscuits and enjoy it Anubhav: The tea has a beautiful flavour of ginger, cardamom and other spices Anubhav: Bun maska has a whole layer of butter inside it Anubhav: A lot of people call bun ‘band’
Tahir: Oh! Anubhav: Yes, in the local language it’s called band (closed) because you’re done after eating it. Anubhav: Where are we headed next ? Tahir: We’ve started the day with tea so our stomachs are ready for more. Anubhav: True Tahir: Now we’re going to eat lashkari (army) food that the Mughal soldiers ate Tahir: We’re at Gudri Mansoor Khan situated in the heart of this city. It’s inside the walled area of Agra. Tahir: This is known as the Gudri Mansoor Khanís Chauraha (crossing). Tahir: It was constructed before the time of Akbar, right after the Lodhi dynasty. Anubhav: A very old world charm in this area Anubhav: We can see very old architecture here. Tahir: Yes, this place is called ‘Nayi Basti’ but only the name is new, the area is very old. Anubhav: The breakfast consists of Nihari and Paaye Tahir: Yes, you get delicious Nihari here. Anubhav: So we’ll try the nihari now.
Tahir: Yes, we’re at Haji Mukhtaro’s shop It’s very famous. This his son. Tahir: The Nihari you get here is authentic and absolutely amazing. They haven’t modified the flavours or tried to mellow down the taste. It has strong spices Just like it used to in the older times. The speciality about nihari here is that boti (pieces) are served separately and the bone marrow is served separately which is very hot Anubhav: What is it?
Shopkeeper: Bone marrow Anubhav: Yes, bone marrow. Tahir: It’s kept separately. Anubhav: Does it have paya also?
Shopkeeper: Yes Anubhav: Nali, Nihari, Paya all mixed up. Anubhav: How long do you cook it for?
Shopkeeper: At least 5-6 hours. Anubhav: So you start preparing it at night itself.
Shopkeeper: Yes Anubhav: And at what time is it available in the morning?
Shopkeeper: 5 a.m. Anubhav: from 5 am to ?
Shopkeeper : 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. Anubhav: And you eat it with Khameeri Roti (fermented bread) Anubhav: So it’s a proper tradition of Delhi and other cities such as Lucknow to eat nihari for breakfast. Let us also try it. Tahir: Yes, let’s go. Anubhav: So we’re in Nayi Basti, Agra to try Khameeri Roti and Nihari. Anubhav: It’s very rich in Flavours, spices. Very different from Delhi’s Nihari.
Tahir: Yes of course. Tahir: The meat, since it was cooked overnight, has melted and fused with the curry so there’s no individual taste along with bone marrow and spices, there’s just one combined taste.
You can not taste them separately. So This nihari is not available anywhere else. At other places khada masala (whole spices) have a distinct hit of flavour. Anubhav: No, here the spices have a wonderful fragrance. Tahir: Yes, that’s why i prefer this place. Anubhav: I’ve seen that at a lot of places you have to ask explicitly for the Nalli (bone marrow) or bheja (brain) But here they’ve mixed everything. Paya as well.
Tahir: True others give the paya and bone marrow separately. Tahir: Here you can just tell them your preference, everything is in there but if you tell them that you want more bone marrow then they’ll add more of it. If you want more of Raan (thigh) they’ll add more of that as well that’s the system here. They’re less of NIhari sellers and more of Hakims (doctor) Tell them the ailment and they’ll give you the solution Anubhav: It’s more fun to eat Nihari during the winter. When it’s really cold outside. and you get steaming Nihari and crisp roti early in the morning It’s absolutely wonderful. Tahir: You can eat it sitting right next to the tandoor (indian oven) where the naans are made. Anubhav: Hot rotis right next to the tandoor
Tahir: Absolutely fresh roti right from the tandoor. It’s a ritual to eat piping hot food in Agra. Anubhav: Yes, both hot and spicy. Tahir: Another kind of lashakri (army) food is Haleem. We’re going to try that. Anubhav: Haleem.
Tahir: Yes, this shop is in kashmiri bazar (market) Tahir: They sell haleem here early in the morning They wind up around 10 or 11 am. Anubhav: We’re finally trying Haleem. Tahir: Yes Anubhav: It’s very thick There’s a lot of protein in Haleem It’s very nutritious
Tahir: Yes it’s very healthy If you eat it once, you dont need to eat anything for the next 7-8 hours. Anubhav: Wonderful! Anubhav: They’ve used a turmeric while preparing it. A lot of it. Tahir: The fibres of the boti have completely melted in the daal, if you notice. Anubhav: Yes
Tahir: So they start at 8.00 pm and pressure cook it until 5 am and from 5 am to 7 am they puree it with their hands. Not with machines. Anubhav: It’s absolutely delicious
Very well cooked The spices have a beautiful flavour especially turmeric. Tahir: This area is near Nayi Basti only, it’s called Kashmiri Bazaar It used to be a part of the main market of that era. It has always seen a lot of commotion. So you’ll find something to eat the whole day. there are different dishes during different parts of the day Whether it’s morning, noon, evening or night. and completely different at midnight. Anubhav: So what we just had was morning breakfast. Tahir: Yes
Anubhav: We’ll go to a different place for lunch Tahir: of course
Anubhav: and come back here Tahir: we’ll come back here at night. Tahir: We’re in Namak ki Mandi now to visit a very old and famous sweet shop Munna lal Sweetshop Tahir: Bedia or Bedmi puri (stuffed fried bread) and Moong Halwa is very famous here. Anubhav: Can we have a plate? Tahir: Give us the spiciest puri, he should enjoy it. Anubhav: Yes and absolutely fresh. Anubhav: This is bedai. It’s also called bedmi puri in Delhi and is served with potato curry and curd. Anubhav: So crisp
Tahir: Yes and flaky. Tahir: This is also prepared in Ghee (clarified butter) Only available in the morning. The potato curry has paneer (cottage cheese) in it. Anubhav: It is served throughout the year. The filling is made of daal (pulses) The bread is stuffed with urad daal (Black Gram) It’s very flaky. The size of the puri is a little small halfway between kachori and puri in terms of size. Tahir: To explain this I call it the younger brother of kachori and the older brother of puri It’s heavier than puri but less stuffed than kachori very thin filling Some people don’t like thick filling. Anubhav: It’s delicious. Anubhav: If we talk about Agra then the first dish that comes to mind is Bedai And it’s very special, even the dough is coarse in texture The filling is made of black gram. And then it’s deep fried. in ghee. It’s been served with potato curry and fox nuts. Tahir: cottage cheese too. Anubhav: There is some yogurt for a tangy flavour Anubhav: Amazing. Ghee (clarified butter) has a beautiful flavour Tahir: The flavour and fragrance fills your mouth. Anubhav: with the flavour of Ghee. Anubhav: What are we going to have next? Tahir: We’ve come to Kala Mahal now. There’s a strong influence of the Sindhi community here. There’s a sindhi dish called Pakwaan. Sindhi Pakwaan. Anubhav: Daal Pakwaan.
Tahir: Yes, Sindhi Daal Pakwaan. Tahir: We’re going to eat that. Anubhav: This is basically a bigger version of Matri. Anubhav: It’s called Pakwaan and it has been served with Daal. Chana daal (chickpea lentil) tempered with green chillies. And onions. Anubhav: So you were saying there are a lot of Sindhi people here.. We saw a Sindhi temple on the way. Tahir: Actually a lot of communities have settled here over time. This area is near mathura (land of Krishna) So when the Mughals started ruling it, they made it a world renowned city. Then the Jains came, followed by Marwaris. Finally, during partition the sindhi community settled here. So in the whole area you’ll get different cultural cuisines. Anubhav: It’s a cross cultural influence of all the different religions. Tahir: They all co-exist together, everybody eats all kinds of food and that leads to communal harmony Anubhav: The daal is spicy not just in terms of chilli but otherwise. Tahir: They’ve added extra oil on top to make it spicy specially for you. Anubhav: It’s special indeed. Anubhav: This s a very old shop. It’s been there since the 1840’s? Tahir: Yes Chimman lal puri vala has been there since 1840. It’s like a museum of Agra’s food. Anubhav: This is the breakfast thali (platter). It has 2 puris, potato curry, chickpeas Pumpkin, Peas-Cottage cheese curry and pickle. curd and rice pudding. Anubhav: The puri has fenugreek in it. Anubhav: Let’s try it with the Pumpkin. Anubhav: The pumpkin is slightly sweet. The bedia had a stuffing of daal Urad daal (Black Gram) But this is plain flour based and without any filling. And the second puri has fenugreek. Anubhav: All the curries have a distinct flavour. Anubhav: A little bit like Banaras. quite similar to that. The curries taste just like this over there as well. Tahir: There’s a particular taste of Agra. During weddings, there’s something called ‘Pattal wala Khana’ That’s what this is. Anubhav: We’re in a kitchen right now. They make petha here From white pumpkin (petha) Tahir: Petha comes here from Maharashtra. They take it’s pulp and separate it from the seeds then it’s cut into slices It’s washed properly And then poked in that machine. Tahir: Then it’s boiled after boiling it is dipped in sugar syrup. Tahir: There are different flavours like kesar (saffron) Anubhav: It’s soaked in sugar syrup. Tahir: It’s very fresh. tastes a bit raw right now but over time the taste gets enhanced. Anubhav: So we’ll end our Old City tour on this note It was a great journey. We tried a lot of things. Bedai, Haleem, Nihari and finally the famous petha of agra And the first thing that agra reminds you of Is petha and then bedai It has a nice rose water flabour too. Tahir: Gopal Das’ shop is very old. It’s being run by the third generation now the taste is absolutely authentic. Yes we saw how it’s made. Tahir: Petha is also known as poor man’s sweet. because during the 1960’s and 70’s all the sweets were made with clarified butter and nuts So they used to be very expensive, but the poor could afford petha. Then the market developed. different flavours were introduced and then Petha got famous. otherwise it was meant for the poor only. Anubhav: Poor or not, the petha is delicious. Anubhav: Thank you so much