Friday 25 October 2013

Tradition meets Modern : A visit to Dastkar

I have enjoyed going to exhibitions always, for the mere joy of seeing something different there from the regular popular hangouts we normally go to, at restaurants, cafes and malls. There is so much of art, culture and moreover, you get to meet the "Creators". Yes, a lot of people host their own stall so they are able to explain the products to their customers better. Its fun talking to them and knowing their backgrounds and how they developed this hobby/ passion or craft. Festival times always invites exhibitions at various places with people willing to splurge on clothes, gift items, jewelry, decoratives and everything you can think of. Not to forget Food!!!! Yes, the food stalls at exhibitions are worth a mention. People normally get tired shopping and stop by to have a snack or drink at the food stall. I was amongst such people until i started this blog. Yes, a visit to Dastkar recently confirmed my love for food and the dedication i have towards writing this blog when i headed straight to the food stall first than seeing the shopping stalls :)))) And i wondered, "Have i started enjoying food more than shopping?", as i literally spent an hour of my time at the food stall seeing all the things around, talking to stall owners and enjoying the delicacies and got very little time to see all the shopping stalls around...( Apart from the fact, that we reached late - just 2 hours before closing time !!! )

Dastkar ( ) is a Delhi based NGO. It organises bazaars and exhibitions to help promote craftsmen from all over India. This year's Dastkar had around 22 states participating and craftsmen were happy to get a platform to showcase their products to the urban crowd. Each year, bazaars are held in Delhi and also in Bangalore and they have been getting tremendous response from the people. I didnt know about this until a friend Sonia Vasudeo mentioned it to me and tagged me in photos of Dastkar exhibitions. I found it really interesting ( especially the hummus with Pita bread photo caught my eye :)) and went to see it with my husband on weekend.

As mentioned, we headed straight to the Food stall and what caught our eye at first was this super colourful "Thela-gaadi" ( Cart ) selling all the sherbets and juices. We wanted to eat something first, so we didnt stop over this stall at first. Though there was a huge crowd of kids surrounding this thela when we went, it is popular with the elders too who want to sip in some fruity flavours ! A quick round through the food stall and we came across " The Kathi's" where they were serving delicious Kathi kebabs, A rajasthani stall serving samosa, kachori, pani pudi ( as they call it ! ), aloo chaat etc.... There was even "Bombay ki bhelpuri" ( still calling it Bombay and not Mumbai :)), and the famous chuski !!! Its called "Gola" in common language...This sweet icy drink is famous from "Bombay" ( !!!! :))),normally on choupatty and beaches ). And yes, This stall did mention " The famous Kala khatta chuski". I wonder why there was so much promotion of mumbai food here in Delhi... But nevertheless, it all was tasty ( No, we didnt try it all... we could make out from the crowd savouring all the delicious dishes from every stall around)

Must - mention is the "Kiki's Kitchen" here...Its an open stall and a sweet smiling lady greeting us always. Specialising in omlettes and sandwiches and burgers, Kiki had it all in a small corner under a tree with just 3-4 work-tables. She had a gas stove and 2 pans to make things warm, a toaster and all the ingredients and herbs you can think of!!! We opted for the "Open sandwich" and were asked for the option of being served with fresh fruits or boiled eggs. Hmmm... Boiled eggs it was !!! And we stood there and watched her make it. It was a delight to watch. There were cherry tomatoes, salad leaves, sun dried tomatoes, pomegranate, bell pepper, cucumber, oregano, salt, and freshly crushed pepper( my favourite )- i dont know if i am forgetting anything... But it was super yummy...Yes, as it looks :))

Being from mumbai, i always crave for the famous vada paav here in Delhi. In fact, the last time i went mumbai was after 6 months of being in Delhi and the first thing i did when i landed was have vada paav :))) I especially dont like the paav that we get here in Delhi. The paav in Mumbai are soft and thin... Here we get packet ones which are not as soft, and they are big...huge (as you can see ). But minus the paav, the vadas were worth it at "The Maharashtra food stall". It had the real taste of Maharashtrian food. Owned and run by Shubhangi Chiplunkar, they also have a permanent stall at Dilli Haat. She was happy to tell me about her 95 % punjabi customers who are regulars and also about the huge orders they get for the Diwali "Faraal" of chaklis, sev, chiwda, ladoos etc. A sweet female, she instructed her cook to make special sev puri for us as we were from mumbai!! Yes, the food was yummy and very authentic. As much as we wanted to try the Shrikhand and Gaakar and pithla, we were full !!! So maybe next time at the stall at Dilli Haat :))

And the last mention is the "JugMug Thela".( loved the name, loved the decor and loved the wooden benches kept in front of the stall to sit ! Why JugMug? When i asked him, the owner Jatin said, "Its because of all the jugmug of lights around the stall and also signifies a jug of coffee and a mug of tea!!!" Started in Feb 2013, JugMug thela is a mobile kiosk that serves Artisan chai and coffee from India and around the world. The menu was interesting ! But i prefered being asked  personalised questions of " whether you like your coffee sweet or bitter, whether milky or strong etc..." The coffee was rich, creamy, hot and aromatic, just the way i liked it! They even have coffees and homemade tea masalas for sale. Also some fresh baked cookies and cakes along with your coffee/chai. And yes, not to forget the popular-with-kids Ice pops with flavours of Ginger, Aloe vera, Grapes, Fresh fruits in honey and green Tea.

As much as we are paan and mouth freshner lovers, we headed to the stall of "Mahesh Supari" selling churans and suparis. Some of them were really yummy, especially the "Khatta Meetha", "The gulkand paan" , and our all time favourite "Anaardana". There are pickles and readymade gol gappe puris (fry and serve) and also papads in different flavours. The next stall had very interesting packets of Gajak's (Peanuts in peanut butter, sesame seeds in sugar syrup... its like chikki), Gatte ( Of Rajasthan fame, which i bought a packet of and am going to make the yummy Gatte-ki-sabzi soon. Gatte are basically chicpea flour dumplings dried and then cooked into a gravy) and some Namkeens too.

Finally, we headed to the shopping section and were amazed to see all the different crafted antiques from various parts of India, some from remote villages. Salute to all the artists and craftsmen and i wish more exhibitions like these keep happening all over.

And we love this " Man amongst God "
A fun filled Saturday it was - All Thanks to Dastkar ! :)

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