All my birthdays and Christmases came at once last Thursday when good friend Nita offered to help me explore the area around her family’s office in Khari Baoli Spice Market. Now, I never need much of an excuse to go to Old Delhi but when an insider offers to show you around, it’s time to drop everything and run!
Three of us set off mid-morning for what would turn out to be one of my most memorable days in Old Delhi. We started at the Naya Bazaar end of Khari Baoli – Nita’s friend and foodie extraordinaire Anil, on holiday from his home in Paris, also came along and brought a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’ to the jaunt. Anil has the most amazing ability to get people to behave naturally in front of the camera and I spent a lot of time pestering him for tips – hope something has rubbed off!
For once, though, this wasn’t an eating trip, but a time to look, listen and try to scribble down as much as possible as fast as possible – Nita was wonderful at coaxing out the kind of in-depth information that my ‘tuta puta’ Hindi prohibits, and by the end of the day my head was swimming with the discovery of new foods, recipes, folklore and family history. We also returned home with a whole heap of new (to me) ingredients to play with. Wah kya bat hai? as they say in these parts!