Friday, 27 December 2013

A visit to the National Street Food Festival

What's cookin : You know your blog is reaching out to people, when instead of the greetings as "Hello, how you doing", people say "Hey, what's cooking today "... Feels good, not only because friends and others start sending you pictures of their cooked dishes, or asking suggestions to make a particular dish but talking about food makes my day :)) So now, the conversations have changed from Movies-to-watch to Restaurants or food places- to-visit!!! :))

One such recommendation from a friend and food blogger Maneesh Srivastava was the National Street Food Festival that was held for 3 days ( 20-22 December ) at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi. I was excited when i read about the festival, but a-midst the bookings of my canine clients ( my pet sitting job ), and house hunting ( we have to shift next month), i was not too sure if hubby dearest would want to wake up in the morning and travel all the way for food. But it so turned out that he too was as much excited to go as i was !!! So, on a winter chilly Sunday morning we left to experience a gastronomical experience... 

The entrance had a big queue for tickets ( it was reasonably priced at INR 30). We didn't pre-book the tickets on Internet, as we were not too sure if we would go...

The stadium hosts lot of events, concerts and sports including the latest 2010 Commonwealth Games. The stadium was constructed to host the 9th Asian Games in 1982. Named after the First Prime Minister of India, the stadium also hosts One day International Cricket Matches and Football matches.

The unidentified monument at the entrance...

After standing in the queue to take the food tickets ( this was relatively a shorter queue, as there were lot of ticket-stalls placed in all corners), we headed to see the stalls... Some of the food items were new to us, and some the same old stuff that was available outside the festival gate at every nook and corner... Because we wanted to try something new from around the nation, we headed to the stalls where the names of the dishes sounded alien...:))

As much as hubby wanted to try the non-vegetarian stuff, we first munched on the Veg Manda Pitha from Odissa. Its basically steamed rice flour covering with a sweet filling. Like we have steamed momos or steamed Modak ( in Maharashtra), Manda Pitha had filling of paneer, coconut and jaggery. Traditionally, they make it in Odissa for festivals and the filling is of Chenna ( curd cheese ). The Chakuli Pitha is like Uttapams (Rice based fried pancakes with onions, corriander leaves, salt etc...The main ingredients being mustard oil or ghee to fry )

Chakuli Pitha being cooked

Chakuli Pitha, Manda Pitha and Mutton Curry

Manda Pitha

Then we headed to the stall from Indore and hubby had the Green chicken with Pav. He says, it tasted nice. A smiling sweet lady was warming the Pav's on the tava and a young boy was taking care of the counter and serving Chicken. I asked her what Jarda meant, and she said it's a specialty sweet but she didn't make it that day and hence was cut from the board. I later did some R n D and found out that Jarda is like a halwa made from rice, sugar, khoya and dry fruits.

Meeting Friends....

With Maneesh Srivasta

Since Maneesh is from Bihar, he suggested we taste Litti Chokha ( i heard the name for first time and then understood that it is like baati...different places, different names..though the taste and texture varies a lot.) This Litti is a specialty snack in Bihar made of wheat and sattu (powdered gram, very good for health). The flours are mixed with spices such as ajwain, ginger, garlic, red pepper, mustard oil and salt and formed into balls and then roasted. They are then dipped in ghee or ghee is poured into the hole made in the ball. It tastes delicious as it is with any chutney, but it can also be eaten
with yogurt or aloo bharta or baingan bharta (known as chokha in Bihar). It is also served with Murgh Korma for the non vegetarians. In the festival, it was served along with curd and mustard chutney and Chokha (Chokha is little watery version of bharta as Maneesh mentioned they put lot of tomatoes ). It was super tasty and i loved this dish :)

Then hubby and Maneesh headed to the Mutton Biryani stall from Dharwad ( Karnataka ) and they also tasted the Mutton curry with Missi Roti. The Mutton Biryani, they found too sweet and the Missi Roti was not up to the mark...

I headed to the sweet section and "Lehsan di Kheer" caught my eye. I thought it's a new dish from Lucknow... and kheer made from garlic?? That's really new... I stood in the queue ( yes, there was a queue to have the kheer ) for almost 15 minutes. I did enquire about the specialty kheer, and the guys said this kheer is their invention and it is not found in any shop in Lucknow. Curious to try it out, i found out that there was no lehsun but only dry fruits in it ( mainly almonds). I wonder why they named it lehsun di kheer... The kheer was tasty, but the name was mis-leading.

We checked out some other stalls too but didn't try anything from here..

Being a true Mumbaiite, aloo vada caught my eye...I had to try this!!!! This one was a speciality from Gujrat ( the taste does vary from the mumbai vada pav) but it was super tasty... Loved it to the core....

And last, but not the least... we ended the food trip with a dessert... Delhi's roller ice cream!!! Roller ice cream is a famous street food. It is a huge slab of ice cream in the shape of a drum which is revolved with the hand-motor. Layers are scraped from it and served in a bowl. It was fun seeing this and the ice cream tasted heavenly....

It was nice to see a lot of crowd coming out of their homes and enjoying this food mania...Was a nice experience and wish we get many more such events in the future to enjoy cuisines from all over India at one place! Kudos to the team...

Standing alone amongst the crowd...
The men-at-work behind all this... Salute to them for their hard work...

The "Cookin in pajamas" team came out with happy faces and full tummies :))


  1. very it...

    1. Thank you so much...Glad that you liked it :)

  2. interesting blog.. (Y)
    for more pics of festival plz visit my group link:

    Amit Singh
    admin, Ghaziabad Photography Club & Noida Photography Club

    1. Thank you Amit for dropping by and appreciating... will surely check the link...:)


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