Ramadan came to an end yesterday and I didn’t have to move an inch to be swept up in the celebrations. At about 9 last night, one of our landlord’s emissaries arrived bearing gifts from Old Delhi: namkeen and sweets from the wonderful Chaina Ram. Mr Zahoor is definitely my kind of landlord: whenever there’s a Muslim festival, we pay the rent, or have guests to stay, he sends over an enormous tiffin tin full of Biryiani, Korma and Shahi Tukda, enough to keep us going for about 3 days.
The boxes Mr Zahoor sends from Chaina Ram can make even rent day feel like a celebration (‘Hurrah we can still afford to live in Delhi!’). Chaina Ram are the Delhi ‘Halwais’: originally from Lahore and in Old Delhi since 1947, their little shop nestles in the walls of the Fatehpuri Mosque at the bottom of Chandni Chowk. Their speciality is Karachi Halwa, a chewy sweet stuffed with dried fruit, and old-fashioned varieties like Sevaiyan (semolina) Burfi and Motipak. But pretty much anything you put in your mouth at Chaina Ram reminds you why they regularly sweep the board in ‘Best Sweet Shop’ awards and assures you no corners have been cut in the milk, nut, sugar and ghee departments. They also do a great Aloo Puri at breakfast time.