Thursday, November 22, 2007

Aur Thoda: UP Gastronomy

I just completed almost a cross-state run across Uttar Pradesh. Landed in the morning at Lucknow. Drove down to Kanpur. Then onto Varanasi via Allahabad.

And the food just kept on coming.

First, the Jet Lite breakfast. They managed to redeem the industrially produced omelette with a very good corn-and-potato salad. And just in case the non-veggies are dissatisfied, they managed to throw in a chunky chicken breast as well.

After reaching Kanpur, my bosses confessed that they had slept through the flight and needed food. I pretended likewise as we zoomed in on Tewary Sweets. Gulzar may not have written lyrics about his shop but he makes a mean motichur ke laddoo. Anyway, we avoided the laddoo and put down a couple of piping hot bedvis (a kind of poori made of suji and flour, with daal fillings) with aloo subji. And to put the UP icing on the cake, some jalebis were requisitioned. A snazzy halwai will always manage to make the rings of the jalebi thin (baarik, as they call it) and yet dripping.

While reviewing sales figures, there were some more jalebis available (to be had with dahi).
Dahi Jalebi is apparently a dish meant for the gods. Since I don't have dahi, I will have to take others' words for it.

Anyway, the lunch is always from Gyan Vaishnav, about which I have gushed before. I claimed at the lunch that it is far better to have lunch at the eatery itself because the rotis are served piping hot but this disappointment was not apparent from the number of rotis that disappeared with the baingan bharta and ghee-laded daal.

Thus fortified, we headed towards the city of Jawaharlal Nehru, Amitabh Bachchan and Mad Momma.
Allahabad has this wonderfully laid back and helpful culture, which reminds me of Calcutta from my childhood. But then as my wife says, everything reminds me of Calcutta from my childhood.
We reached the office and were promptly served masala cashew nuts. They also got some Balushahi - a sweet which is rather undescribably good (apparently). Since I don't have it, you will have to take the help of Google.
Just when I was about to drink some water and close for the day, they came across with an Allahabad specialty - mini samosas filled with masala instead of aloo. This should be banned because of its addictive and unhealthy nature. I - needless to say - popped them in at about 12 per minute, washing them down with some famous masala Thums Up from a shop in Civil Lines. When I was about to collapse, the Sales Manager put in a couple more on my plate.
"Mar jaoonga, Dikshit-ji", I squealed.
He contemplated this. And smiled. "Lekin woh maut bhi kya haseen hogi, Dipta..."
I felt like Bhagat Singh as I had about half-a-dozen more!

If I wake up alive tomorrow, I will talk about Benares.


Anonymous said...


"Lekin woh maut bhi kya haseen hogi, Dipta..."

I seriously bow down & worship you...Tempting stuff...Can't wait to eat Dahi-Jalebi & Balushahi now!!!

Please be alive enough to write about Benares.


Diligent Candy said...

That's a deadly quote.

Bhagwan kare ki aap khaate raho aur humein kisse sunate raho...

Anonymous said...

dipta, bus bus, aur mouth is watering, man!
Keep some lomotils with you if you intend to go at this rate!


Squiggles Mom said...

I'm so jealous........... UP food is yum!!! You were clearly enjoying it :)

Rimi said...

Yes, you know, I don't understand this at all. Why, WHY, do I see posts full of delicacies whenever I return after a hiatus? First it was the biriyani post, which about killed me, and now this. I hereby register my complaint.


Onerous Oneiric said...

I am drooling over my screen after reading this. After eating dahi-jalebi and Aloo subzi with khasta ( yea, thats what we call them in Awadh-not bedvis) for my breakfast all my life, i have stopped even looking at what other places have to offer. UP rocks!!

the mad momma said...

humph. u didnt tell me. would have organised a big reception committee for you.

thequark said...

are Waah. I always get senti-mental jab bhi kanpur ka naam ata hai. Next time you are there do taste Banarsi Mishthan Bhandar you will forget Tiwari. I guess you had visited UP in a non winter season else how can you miss malai makhkhan, I do not know if it is still freshly available in Birhana Road (without the crappy cream version), I had it near Vishwanath ji's temple in Banaras, early in the morn last year