The Kismet of Jamaluddin and a Recipe for Kheer

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So finally Korma, Kheer and Kismet – the product of years of joy (in Old Delhi) and heartbreak (at my desk) – is here. Although I still can’t quite believe it and do a double take every time I see it in a shop – my little book out there trying to make its way in the world.

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The response to the book so far has been incredibly cheering, particularly in Old Delhi itself.  As soon as I got back from my holiday in Scotland I went straight there to give copies to the vendors who feature in it.

First stop was Bade Mian’s shop in Lal Kuan.

The Siddique family’s kheer shop is a stone’s throw from the Chawri Bazaar metro and I always start any Old Delhi jaunt there – sitting at one of the tables at the back with a cup of chai and a tiny square metal plate of kheer. Jamaluddin is a wonderful character who is always ready with a colourful story – many of which I can’t understand because he seems to speak in Urdu rhyming couplets.

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Making Street Food at Home: A Recipe for Shakarkandi (spicy sweet potato)

One of Delhi’s signature winter street foods is Shakarkandi.  We all breathe a sigh of relief in the autumn when the spicy sweet potato vendors appear: we know the cooler weather is truly on its way.

As with much Indian street food, a plate of Shakarkandi is a tapas-sized portion and ideal for those between meals  dilemmas.  I particularly love ordering a plate late afternoon when dinner seems a long way off.  I ordered up this plate outside Lodhi Gardens after a Republic Day walk last Tuesday. I love watching the ritual of assembling the Shakarkandi – the sweet potato is first plucked from the small pile warming on a pile of coal, slowly peeled, cubed and tumbled into a plate.  The cubes are then liberally sprinkled with masala and lemon juice before being mixed with an expert flick of the wrist.

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