Opposite Natraj's Café is the entrance to Paranthe Wali gali. The gali in the past had over ten to twelve shops but today there are only five left. Chandni Chowks Paranthewali Gali is a bylane in the market devoted to only parantha sellers. Paranthas are a type of unleavened bread that are stuffed and then shallow fried in clarified butter. Kanwarji Bhagirathmal Dalbhajiwallah's 150 years old confectionary shop graces the entrance to the gali. This shop is well known for its namkeens like dal bhuji (fried pulses), aalu ka lachha (spicy fried potato sticks) and sweets like barfi and imarti. The riots in 1984 started right outside Kanwarji's,10 feet away from the gali and the gali was completely burnt down. The shops present today in the gali were the only ones to be rebuilt, post the riots.
In the heart of old Delhi's commercial hub, Chandini Chowk, lays a historical landmark since the time of the Mughals - the "Paranthe wali Gali." A very famous street, "Paranthe wali Gali" ('gali' means street that sells 'paranthas' - an Indian food delicacy, sort of chapatti) has seen almost three passed centuries. It houses descendants of the royal chefs of yore who make Paranthas that taste heavenly. So much so, that the Parantha is perhaps the only food in the world to have an entire street named after it! The first impression of the gali is that of a bustling narrow by lane, crowds walking, bikes, cyclists' driving past, people browsing through the sari and jewellery shops! But as one strolls deeper into the street there begins an irresistible tingling sensation in the nostrils.
And one looks around sniffing the air for more of it and then you know for sure that you're in the right place. Sizzling hot paranthas are being fried here! Each day the dexterous hands of these chefs toss out the most amazing concoctions of a parantha. Plain paranthas, salted or sweet paranthas, dal (pulses) ka parantha, gobhi ka parantha minced cauliflower), radish parantha, pudina parantha (mint), popadom parantha, cashew nut parantha - the variety is endless. You name it and they have it! All one is required to do is to knead some dough into small balls, roll it on a wooden base, addfillings ranging from cottage cheese, potatoes sprinkled with chopped ginger, and exotic Indian spices, fry it in ghee or butter and viola, it's the perfect recipe for a lip-smacking parantha. At the moment there are about 40 varieties of paranthas and these chefs plan to add another 50 varieties in the coming years. The Paranthe wali gali caters only for the pure vegetarian - even no onion and no garlic!