What do you call a person who lived in Gurgaon for 7 years but never witnessed the real richness of “Daulat” and ended on having the same especially after making a trip to the country’s capital (along with some professional commitments)? I call that person nothing but inattentive over her passion for food but as they say better less than never, here she is with her experience of having “Daulat ki Chaat”. Now that I am done with the introduction, and that too without mentioning much about the main character, this is the right time to introduce what made me visit “Purani Delhi” this time while I was in Delhi; Daulat Ki Chaat as they call it. The name itself is unique which signifies the richness of the food, where “Daulat” means Wealth and there are very few “Chaat” which are sweet in taste! If we consult Wikipedia for that matter “Chaat is a term describing savory snacks, typically served at road-side tracks from stalls or food carts in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh”. All these details about the particular food item were enough to charge me to visit Purani Delhi to witness the famous “Daulat ki Chaat”.
Though the trip was planned but I decided to explore a bit about “Daulat ki Chaat” before the trip and what I found (there are in fact several write-ups available on “Daulat ki Chaat” and its cousins) Daulat Ki Chaat has two more not so distant cousins who live in the northern India alike Daulat ki Chaat itself which is having its base in Delhi. “Malayo” is what found in Varanasi while “Malai Makhkhan” in Kanpur and “Nimish” in Lucknow. Basically a dessert with its origin in northern India, prepared from milk foam, “Daulat Ki Chaat” and all the other forms are actually milk-based dessert. What I found, there are some famous Daulat ki Chaat- wala in Delhi who are known for selling the same over generations, Rajesh Kumar and Baburam however, when I tried searching google for the details I found a number over there and I called the person who introduced himself as the Chaatwala “Khemchand Abesh Kumar” and I decided to visit him.
I ended on visiting Kinari Bazar on a lovely morning and ended on exploring lonely Delli 6 while waiting for the Chaat. As I started from South Delhi and it was amazing seeing the morning Delhi all through the way and the freshness is what made me mesmerized with the beauty of Delhi again. It indeed was amazing witnessing the early morning lonely market and even I was alone with my camera there. I started talking to the nearby “Zari” shop owners and found these days Mr. Khemchand Abesh Kumar is a bigshot and people often visit him for an interview! He is having a makeshift shop adjacent to the temple in Kinari Bazar where he sells the Daulat Ki Chaat in the morning and at Chandni Chawk in the evening. However, Khemchand ji reached the place at around 9.50 in the morning that too after me calling him several times. What I found, the famous “Daulat Ki Chaat” is available only in the winter and to be precise from November to February as it requires “DEW” to make perfect “Daulat Ki Chaat”!
With that, here I am with the process of making the Chaat. I took my first plate of the Chaat while started talking to Mr. Khemchand and well, was spellbound and stop talking while having my saffron coated milk foam, I mean “Daulat Ki Chaat”! It actually was feathery soft and light, served with tiny chunks of Khowa (milk solid) and “Karara”, the sugar crumble and the heart of the dish is neither solid nor liquid and in fact not in colloidal form, it actually was foam like. When asked the Chaatwala told, a huge amount of cream added to milk and then that is placed under open air overnight to be in touch with winter DEW and the end result is a more thickened cream which then turned into foam followed by some mysterious method (which I assume rigorous beating). The foam then mixed with Kesar and it is served with crumbled sugar and solidified milk chink or Khowa and topped with Pistachios. I asked him why the name “Daulat Ki Chaat” and I found his answer quite fascinating “because how much will you have it, it will not sufficient for your appetite and that is what wealth does and hence “Daulat Ki Chaat”, what a philosophical thought! I ended on capturing the entire discussion luckily and you may check the video to see what is it all about the “Daulat ki Chaat”. There are, however, several stories available on the origin of this dessert which include the origin being in Gujarat or in Kanpur by the Nawabi Khansama but I found Khemchand’s explanation quite practical, that one can have several servings but that cannot fulfill the appetite and that is what wealth does after all.
Khemchand sells one plate for 50 bucks (this rate I found in 2016) and while the season is over for “Daulat ki Chaat”, he sells Golgappa at Chandni Chawk. Here is the coordinate just in case (I know you do) wanted to have your portion of “Daulat ki Chaat”.
Goodbye until we meet again with another incredible food from my motherland!