Winter is the season to be in Delhi. Everyone’s woollens come out of the cupboard. Drycleaned to remove the smell of naphthalene balls. The dull sweaters of last year. Some of them ugly. Colourful jackets bought a couple of years from Sarojini market that need quite a bit of stretching to fit and fancy mufflers and shawls. Everyone tucks their tummy in and dresses up and goes out with their finest. Delhi is also the land of Louis Vuitton. I doubt if the company makes that many products, as much as one finds on the streets of Delhi or in its innumerous marriages and other functions. This is also the time for sweets, decadence and merriment. Old Delhi is no different and is a treasure trove of mithai which come out just in the winter season. Many years ago, I discovered a unique Old Delhi sweet – the White Gajjar Halwa.
Jama Masjid is a world in itself. A walk down Urdu Bazaar savouring the succulent kebabs from Qureshi’s. The really-famous-with-tourists Karim’s and Al-jawahar and now the big daddy of Matia Mahal – Aslam Chicken, which started off as one shop and is now two big restaurants. Chitli Qabar is down the road from Matia Mahal and has the local favourite – Shabrati Nihari. It is also home to a unique Old Delhi sweet. The White Gajjar Halwa at Sheeren Bhawan.
The white gajjar that Sheeren Bhawan uses to make their white gajjar halwa is some sort of desi or wild carrot. It could be either a version of the wild carrot (caucus carota) or perhaps a desi version of the parsnip (pastinaca sativa). Parsnips are not known to be native to India and have a slightly different taste, but are generally sweeter than carrots when cooked. The white carrot, like the red and black carrots, is a winter vegetable and comes into season in December and January.
The white carrot halwa at Sheeren Bhawan is similar to a regular red carrot halwa, that one finds in winter months. Slightly on the sweeter side with a nice envelope of ghee and khoya (thickened milk solid). Definitely a must try when you’re at Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. The white gajjar halwa is usually available from Dec 16 to the end of January.
You can call Sheeren Bhawan on 9818480314 or 9999877867 to check availability of the white gajjar halwa. The regular red gajjar halwa that one gets there during the others months is also quite decent.
Happy hunting and chowder-on!