From Gaajar Halwa to Daulat ki Chaat to Gond (edible gum) ka Halwa, Delhi has had a long love affair with winter sweets. However, with the winter retreating, this is the last chance for Delhiites to munch their winter favourites.
Daulat ki Chaat
Kishan Pal, 25, who hails from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, has been selling Daulat Ki Chat over the last five years in old Delhi’s Chandni Chowk. “Daulat ki Chaat is made only in winters. It is sold from November till February. It is a froth of milk in which saffron is added along with cream, milk, pistachio and we place it on a bar of ice all day.”
Traditional makers of this sweet still work through the night in parts of northern India, churning huge cauldrons of milk into a delicate froth, and then adding sugar and saffron as well as a liberal garnish of nuts and silver foil. The end result is an opulent yet light dessert with a nutty sweetness and a foamy melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Rs 50 for a small quarter
Rs 80 for mid-quarter
A variety of Halwa
Delhi is known more for its spicy delicacies but there are hidden gems in the form of halwa. Chaina Ram Halwai, the 122-year-old sweet and confectionary shop in Chandni Chowk, offers plenty of options.
They keep a variety of halwa like Gajar Ka Halwa, Moong Dal Ka Halwa, Karachi Halwa, Sohan Halwa and Habshi Halwa.
“Only a few sweet shops, including us, make Habshi Halwa. It helps in keeping the body warm in winters. Cloves, milk and cardamom are added to it. All this is available only in winter, there is no demand for these in summer, so we also do not make them, they are in demand only in winter,” says Kunal Balani, one of the owners of Chaina Ram Halwai. There are shops in Ballimaran near Chandni Chowk that sell solely this product.
There is the Gond (edible gum) Halwa which Shyam Sweets (Chawri Bazaar) among others sell. Sheeren Bhawan in Chitli Qabar (near Jama Masjid) sells White Gaajar Halwa. Also, pinni, gond laddu as well as Aloe Vera Halwa are available in various sweet shops in the Capital, especially in the old city.
Manish Gulati, a 54-year-old customer, says, “I have been coming [here to old Delhi] since my childhood for moong dal halwa and gajar halwa. Eating hot halwa in winters gives a different pleasure. We eat sohan halwa and sooji halwa or almond halwa every day in winter for breakfast.”