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The sight of a well-made paratha with a golden brown, shining surface is a delightful sight and a temptation for the taste buds. Be it the basic one without any filling or one of the large variety of innovations available, each type of paratha has its own set of loyalists.
Paranthe wali gali traces its name back to the famous by lane of Chandani Chowk in Delhi, where one particular family from Gwalior started serving the stuffed paratha and a small revolution began. On the same lines, Durbari, the contemporary Indian restaurant in Swissôtel Kolkata Neotia Vista, has come up with an exclusive festival named ‘Paranthe Wali Gali’ till the 25th of September.
A whopping collection of 17 varieties of parathas is lined up for the guests; this includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. While in the vegetarian section, there are traditional ones such as the tawa paratha, methi paratha, badshahi lachha paratha and warqi paratha, the chef has come up with some superb innovations that cannot go unnoticed, such as the hare gobhi paratha (translated into ‘broccoli stuffed paratha’), the arbi ka paratha (taro or colocasia roots) and the soy paratha. The parathas are made with whole wheat flour and each one has a different texture due to the different fillings. The broccoli paratha surprises with the absence of a strong broccoli aroma; it is almost like a cauliflower paratha with added texture and colour. The soy paratha would probably be indistinguishable as vegetarian by any meat lover – it is almost as good as a chicken or a mutton paratha.
Any paratha festival in Kolkata remains incomplete without the inclusion of the king of parathas, the Mughlai paratha. This rich paratha (stuffed with a generous amount of mutton kheema and coated with an egg and then pan fried on a tawa) is like a bounty of food. The street version of this paratha is quite oily since it is deep fried, and has more of the paratha and less of the filling. Each bite of this golden heaven is more delicious than the last. While there are other varieties – such as gosht kheema paratha, chicken kheema paratha and malai prawn paratha – the chicken tikka and cheese paratha is strongly recommended here. Well, it is cheese but not your run-of-the-mill processed cheddar cheese. The flavour of this paratha is heightened with the use of the mild and fudgy gouda cheese with the chicken tikka. It is a pocket of cheese inside a paratha – and who does not like cheese? Every bite of it is quite sensational. All of the parathas are served with some aloo subzi, yogurt and onion lachha, making it a complete meal.
Paranthe wali gali, as a concept, is immensely popular across the country. It has gone international too, as the name ‘paratha’ evokes home-cooked family meals. Many a time, the paratha is tinged with nostalgia and the memories we look forward to when we bite into one. Oh yes! If someone is looking for the famous and one of the most popular breakfast staples, the aloo paratha is also there in this festival in the form of the Amritsari aloo paratha. The parathas are available on all days for dinner and on Friday to Sunday for lunch as well.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.