Melting sweetness, crisp and succulent

FESTIVE DELIGHT

The City’s sweet tooth is legendary and it is difficult to imagine an Indian festival without sweets. Today being Holi, every household in Delhi will have a mandatory box of inevitably delectable Gujiyas, which have become synonymous with this festival.

Delicacy Meetha samosa aka gujiyas by Chaina Ram Halwai in Fatehpuri, Chandni Chowk.

Through ages, the carefully crafted gujiya has been prepared by many - both professionally and at homes. The recipe remains largely the same but the final taste depends on how the preparation is carried out. Some keep the sweet content high whereas others believe in the sumptuous filling. But the method, used by some of the oldest shops remains a mystery waiting to be unravelled.

Metrolife embarks on a gujiya trail to bring you the best of the delectable delicacy available in the choicest shops of Chandni Chowk.

Kanwarji Bhagirath Mal is situated right at the entrance of Gali Paranthewali in Chandni Chowk. This is a different establishment from its original counterpart which stands right next to it on the main Chandni Chowk street. Though the original Kanwarji built its reputation on daal-biji and nariyal barfi, few pass it up when it comes to gujiyas on Holi.

A week before the colours fest, the shop is hounded by people from all over the city for its succulent gujiyas. Established in 1850, the shop serves gujiyas which are just right in sweetness, soft in texture and have a typical kewda flavour in the sugar syrup wrapped around it. One of the current partners, Sunil Kumar Gupta says, “Our gujiyas are fried in desi ghee and we make sure that they have substantial filling and are not too sweet. Also, they have a long shelf life which is why they are in high demand.” Available at Rs 360 per kg, these gujiyas are worth taking a bite into.

However, if you feel that the price doesn’t suit your pocket, head for Sita Ram Bazaar, where almost every second halwai is making gujiyas for Holi. But if you don’t want to compromise on taste, then visit Babu Ram Halwai’s shop in this narrow winding lane. This shop is more than 70 years old and is without a board, so be careful lest you miss it.

There are two kinds of gujiyas available here; one fried in oil and available for Rs 120-160 per kg whereas the other one is a desi ghee product priced at Rs 300 per kg. The desi ghee version is a must try with its mouth-watering green filling. An employee at the shop, Subhash Chand shares, “The filling is green since there is a high quantity of pista in it. It also comprises other dry fruits such as kaju, badam and chironji mixed with khoya, to give it a perfect taste.” And to be precise, this one is not dipped in the sugar syrup after frying and retains its orginal flavour. If you want to place an order make sure you do so one day in advance or be ready to hear a negative response.”

The one-stop-destination for all sweet lovers for whom price comes a distinct second to taste is none other than the famous Chaina Ram Halwai at Fatehpuri Chowk. A prominent name in sweetmeats since 1901, the shop is currently run by five partners belonging to the Gidwani family, who make sure that your festivities on Holi are definitely sweetened the right way. Interestingly they make two variants of gujiya - one is the more popular version in the crescent shape and the other looks like a sweeter version of a Patty and called meetha samosa.

The latter is a divine indulgence with a unique crisp fan like structure on the outside and a succulent filling inside which melts in the mouth. Priced at Rs 400 per kg, it is filled with mawa and dipped in syrup. Sunny Gidwani, one of the family refuses to share its recipe but divulges, “Our meetha samosa is rich in saffron and cardamom along with dry fruits that form a major portion of the filling. It has six to seven layers on each side which make it crisp while the filling makes it soft.” How about getting a patent for this one-of-its-kind dish? “We are not planning to get a patent because nobody can make it as well as we do,” he smiles.

These shops start making gujiyas 10 days before Holi and wind up in the week of Holi. So if you have missed trying any of these then there is still time for you to indulge more and celebrate the taste of Holi!

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