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Thursday, Dec 02, 2021
Outlook.com
capital cuisine

The Food Of Love

In Nizamuddin's warm bylanes, an age-old culture and cuisine face the restorer's axe

The Food Of Love
Jitender Gupta
The Food Of Love
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Recipes From An Urban Village, compiled by Charmaine O'Brien and published by the Dargah Hazrat Inayat Khan Hope Project, is perhaps India's only ode to ace cooks like Anwari; people whose hands yield a modest income conjuring up a wealth of traditional dishes on a cheap two-burner chulah. This trusty steel hob laid on the floor is all Anwari needs to produce kormas and koftas for a party of 100, made in the presence of four mongooses. Her pets, who scurry around hungrily, waiting to be fed rotis soaked in meat stew or tinda gosht salaan, each recipe inspired by the culinary richness unique to this basti.

Encircling the great white dome on the grave of Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya, this seven-century-old settlement is also where poet Amir Khusro composed qawwalis that continue to be sung in the dargah every Thursday and during Urs. Located close to Humayun's Tomb and the home of Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit, the basti, which houses around 15,000 people now, has been inhabited right from the 12th century. It also houses unique monuments, from those built during the slave dynasty period under the rule of its fourth Sultan, Ghiyasuddin Balban, in 1265 AD to those from the last days of the Mughal era. But while traditional Sufi poesy, chanted by the descendants of the original qawwal bachchey trained by Khusro continue to soothe pilgrims, it has also been food that has nurtured and nourished both the seekers and the dwellers in this urban village. Food flavoured with unconditional love, ishq-e-haqiqi....

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