Memories of food conversations that turn into actual meals at Nagpal di Hatti in East Delhi
It was a conversation many years ago in a barber’s shop that led me to one of the most sublime kachori outlets in Delhi. I was getting my hair trimmed when a fellow customer began telling us all about the (dal) moth-topped kachori in Multani Dhanda, Paharganj. We all drooled as the barbers snipped away. Soon after, I went looking for moth kachori — and ended up forging an everlasting relationship with it.
A few years ago, a foodie reader of this column told me about a place in East Delhi where this moth kachori was available, too. We went to Nagpal di Hatti (Phone: 9213741815 and 9213275645) in Gandhi Nagar, near Geeta Colony, and I recall we had a great time trying out the fare there.
In these isolated times, we look for happy memories. I suppose that’s why I had a yearning for some moth kachori a few days ago, at lunchtime.
I found out that Nagapl was on Zomato, so I promptly placed an order for two plates (₹40 a piece; ₹75 for two), and since I was going down the greasy path, a plate of chholey bhaturey (₹90). Because one should have a balanced diet, I asked for a plate of saag (greens) and rice (₹80) as well. All this at ₹449 — street food rates.
First, let me tell you about the kachori. This Multani speciality (which was introduced to this city after Partition) consists of a crisp kachori filled with a paste of dried dal, and topped with moth, with surprising specks of rice in it, onion strips and chutneys.
I broke a kachori into half, and found it deliciously crunchy, the softness of the dal complementing it. The moth dal on top, of course, set it apart from others, giving it a different taste and texture.
I had a small piece of the bhatura, and found that it was nicely stuffed with paneer. The chholey that came with it was rather good. Surprisingly not very oily, it was just rightly spiced. I loved the palak — the spinach was creamy and well cooked, and had little besan dumplings in the gravy that gave a delicious twist to what could have been a plain dish. Though it came with a plate of jeera rice, I had mine with a roti, and enjoyed it thoroughly.
In these pandemic times, it was nice meeting my old friend, the moth kachori.
And I am happy to have struck a new friendship — with Nagpal’s palak and kofta.
The writer is a seasoned food critic