Thursday, April 30, 2009

Eating Kulfi in Delhi

A couple of weeks back I was in Delhi, attending a launch party for the book (will write in more detail about that in the next post). The day after the party, I and my wife and father had some time on our hands, and we did some sightseeing.

Before pushing off to the Qutub Minar and so on, Dad told us about a nice place in Karol Bagh which served good snacks - we could have a good brunch there. And so we set off. We had chat, lassi, pakodas, and then I thought of having a plate of kulfi to end things.

The menu for kulfi had some six items on it: Apple Kulfi, Orange Kulfi, Muskmelon Kulfi, Malai Kulfi, and some other stuff. I chose Orange Kulfi, to see what it was like. After taking the money, they said they were out of Orange, would I like Muskmelon, since it was the same price?

Okay, I said.

Behind the counter, two guys set to making the kulfi plate. Now I don't know what sort of kulfi you've had, but from what I know of it, a plate of kulfi usually involves one stick of kulfi, sliced into four or eight pieces, with some toppings. Since this was Muskmelon kulfi, I expected that they would either put bits of melon on top, or have it mixed into the milk while making the kulfi.

About 10 minutes went by. They were still readying the plate. At one point, I noticed them put a large pile of kulfi-coloured pieces in a plastic plate, push the plate to one side, and continue cutting. Ah, I said to my wife. They seem to be cutting the entire day's supply right now since we're the first folks to order Muskmelon Kulfi.

Finally, the two guys turned towards us, each holding a plate piled high, and put them on the counter. One of them called to me and said, "Leejiye sir."

I must have looked confused, because the guy continued, "Aapki Kharbooja kulfi."

I said, "I only ordered one kulfi." From the size of the plates, it looked like half a dozen kulfi sticks had been cut up.

"No, this is one plate. It's one muskmelon stuffed with kulfi."

I stared at the plates. It was indeed one complete muskmelon, opened out, filled with kulfi ingredients, and then closed and frozen, and finally cut into chunks. There was no way I could eat all that.

I carried the plates back to our table. Dad and my wife stared at them, then up at me. "How many plates did you order?" my wife says.
To make a stomach-churning story short, we finally picked out the kulfi parts, left all of the melon parts, and made sure to eat very light meals through the rest of the day.

When we'd finally finished the plates, my dad said, "Thank goodness they didn't have a watermelon kulfi option."