Delhi is a haven for chaat lovers. From the ubiquitous golgappas (we refuse to call it panipuri or puchka) to the grand Raj Kachori, you’ll find it all here. Every market, every colony and every mall has a chaatwaala or two. No shopping trip is complete without a visit to our favorite chaatwaala. We’ll gossip and nod approvingly as we pop another golgappa in our mouths or dig into the paper plate of papdi chaat laden with curd and chutney. Any visitor to Delhi will want to try the famed chaat varieties first and then maybe move on to other things. It’s inexpensive, easily available and satisfies those mid-meal cravings like nothing else does. And the sheer variety! There’s lachha tokri chaat, dahi bhalla, aloo tikki chaat, aloo chaat, shakarkandi chaat, and even idli chaat and chinese bhel! You name the dish, and we bet an enterprising Dilliwaala can turn it into a chaat.
So imagine our surprise when we, who have tried all the varieties of chaat that Delhi offers, came across something that was unusual, even unheard of. Ladies and all lovers of chaat, we bring to you the Bread Tosa chaat!
The Real Deal
Right opposite the Pristine Mall in Faridabad, a smiling middle-aged man runs a chaat stall set up on an e-rickshaw. The 53-year old Ajay Goyal serves up the usual fare – aloo chaat, bhalla papdi, tikki – but he also makes a chaat that’s not usually found at other chaatwaalas. He smears a mixture of potatoes, chana dal and spices on both sides of a slice of bread and then deep fries the entire thing. Then that coated and fried bread is cut up into tiny pieces and a chaat is made out of it. It’s garnished with still more fried potato bits, chhole, onions and chutneys before it’s served to his customers. This is the Bread Tosa chaat, a chaat unlike any other, and as delicious, if not more, than the best that Delhi/NCR offers.
Goyal is passionate about food – his girth is testament to the fact that he loves consuming it as much as he enjoys making it. He has been working at food stalls for over 30 years now. “As a youngster, I worked, or rather trained, at a lot of food stalls before I decided to set up my own,” he reminisces. He ran a chaat stall at Nehru Place for 15 years before moving to Faridabad and setting up his current business 10 years ago. “This is where I introduced the Bread Tosa,” he says proudly.
And apparently, the Bread Tosa is a big hit with his customers. Goyal opens his stall between 4 and 5 in the evening and continues serving up delicious fare right up till 10:30 pm. Between that time, he serves up to 50 people everyday. “And most of them want Bread Tosa or my other bread preparation – the bread tikki chaat,” he says.
Goyal has no helpers at his stall. “I like preparing all the food by myself,” he says. His wife helps him to clean up and set up the stall every day. When the day is done with, they both take the dirty utensils home – which is only half a kilometer away from the stall’s location. Hygiene is a priority at Goyal’s stall. “Since I’m the one doing everything, it’s easy for me to keep everything clean and tidy,” he says.
So, did he name this chaat the Bread Tosa? “No, no,” Goyal laughs, “When I was a kid, we used to live in Chandni Chowk and there were vendors who served something similar to this. They called it Bread Tosa.” He admits that he tried to replicate the recipe from his childhood but made modifications to suit the modern palate. “They used to serve bread coated with plain potatoes. I’ve added the chana dal, methi, ajwain and saunf into the mixture used for coating the bread before frying. I’ve tried to make it more chatpata!”
Goyal is also proud of the other bread dish he serves up – the bread tikki sandwich chaat. He claims that no one in Delhi makes it like he does. Seeing his clientele return again and again to sample his stuff, we readily believe him.
We suggest that the next time you’re in that part of the NCR, head on over to Goyal’s food stall to find out if his claims (and ours) are true or not!
Where: Opposite Pristine Mall, Sector 31, Faridabad
When: 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm
Cost: Under Rs 50 per person