During Ramzan, Matia Mahal, the lane opposite Gate-1 at Jama Masjid, turns into the go-to destination for Delhi’s foodies. Apart from the usual lip-smacking delicacies this place has to offer all year round, one can also sample sheermal, Sharbat-e-Mohabbat, and pheni (a variation of vermicelli) from small shops that pop up here at specifically this time of the year. Though the pandemic may have paused this culinary tradition for two years, iftaar-themed foodwalks are back in the capital again this year. Here’s your guide to the festive feast this place has to offer.
RAMZAN SPECIALS: PAHALWAN KI BIRYANI AUR SHARBAT-E-MOHABBAT
“There are a few items which are sold only during this month of the year and among these are the keema samosa. The ones made by Kallan sweets are sold out before 6-7pm, hence one should aim to reach here much before that if they want a bite. Another must-have delicacy here is the Pahalwan Ki Biryani,” suggests Anubhav Sapra of Delhi Food Walks, adding that one must also not miss out on Sharbat-e-Mohabbat or the different varieties of sheermal. He says that if you face any difficulty finding these spots, “all you need to do is to ask for directions from anyone near the Jama Masjid Gate-1, and they’ll guide you.”
OF KEBABS, NIHARI AND ROASTED CHICKEN
And then there is the extensive kebabs fare to feast on. In fact, there are several chicken corners lined up in Matia Mahal, which include shops like Haji Mohd Hussain, Fried Chicken, Aslam Chicken Corner, and Changezi Chicken, where you can explore iftaar- special delicacies. Usman, who works at a chicken corner, says, “Nihari, roasted chicken, sutli kebab and shammi kebabs are the most popular. A number of shops which were closed in the last two years have also opened up this year and their loyal customers have been visiting Matia Mahal to enjoy their favourite food again.” Several walk organisers also advise giving the eateries a call ahead of your visit, to find out if their iftaar specialties are in stock, as most items are sold out within hours. Some of these eateries also Sharbat-e-Mohabbat
DIG INTO DESSERTS LIKE MANGO KULFI, RABRI & KHEER
Gulshan, a seller in the Jama Masjid area, says, “Sharbat-e-Mohabbat sells ten times more during the Ramzan month than on regular days. We use rooh afza, watermelon, milk and ice cubes to prepare it.” One must also try the Gud (jaggery) Ka Sharbat at the corner of pahadi imli in the Chitli Qabar area. Those with a sweet tooth will be spoilt for choice, as there is mango kulfi, rabri, kheer, and various types of sheermal available here. Some of these eateries also deliver across NCR if the order is above a certain amount – which makes for the perfect spread for an iftaar party at home.