A melting pot of Indian street food, The Masala Trail by Osama Jalali has the most exquisite flavours and an ambience that would make you relive your childhood. A review by Chhavi
A well-lit setting, comfortable couches, and a colourful display of jars of rectangular-spherical sweets, called out to us, as we entered The Masala Trail in Janpath, Delhi. A visit on a winter evening, we were met with the utmost warmth by owner Osama Jalali and his staff. An expert in culinary affairs himself, Osama’s venture to put the indigenous vegetarian food under one roof has culminated into something joyous and enchanting. It is a must visit for everyone who has a penchant fro street food (or just everyone). Here are the details of food through pictures, for you to indulge in.
We started with Banarasi tamatar (tomato) chaat, one of the best-sellers of the place. The tangy dish with a dash of sweetness is a favourite in Varanasi. It is richly garnished with fox nuts and cashew nuts.
Inspired by a vendor in Kanpur, next on the platter was a tower chaat. With layers of tikkis, ram ladoo, bhalla and papdi, along with curd and date and tamarind chutneys, the mouth-watering combination is what one can call a chaat sundae.
As delicious as these were, we could not help ordering a third- Kanpuri gadbad chaat, which true to its name had all these layers of hot and cold ingredients- potato shillings, yogurt, garnished with Indian syrups.
Bringing indigenous snacks and chaats to Delhi, the idea as Osama explained, was to give people a slice of Indian street food all at once. From north, south, east and west, and the menu divided likewise, my experience of the place had definitely started leaving a trail of luscious desi flavour on my taste buds.
The Gujarati cuisine is all about sweet food? This Gujrati Dabeli breaks the stereotype! A desi burger with an edge, it is garnished with peanuts, coconut and and pomegranate. The masala (spices) are specially brought from Ahemdabad to retain the essential spicy-sour taste. It was served with a garlic, red chili dip.
With rice batter steamed between banana leaves, the Guajrati Panki was a personal favourite. A side-step from the general tanginess associated with Indian snacks, it had a unique and refreshing flavour.
Chalukya dosa, a dish from Mangalore is a must-have. Its speciality is the gunpowder masala that is spread in the middle of the dosa brings a lip-smacking spicy flavour to the regular South-Indian recipe. Served with tomato, coriander and coconut chutney, and sambar, made for a wholesome delight.
The relative blandness of Idiyappam, with the sharp flavour and the subtle sweetness of korma or coconut milk, were set in just the right combination, as the taste lingered on our taste buds.
With minimal effort on presentation, the idea of the place is to deliver the best quality and most organic taste of the street food. The distinct expertise in every cuisine is a remarkable factor of the place. A blend of desi flavours – tangy, peppery, spicy and savoury, the chefs brought in from various parts of the country ensure that the zaika of the food remains brilliant.
The satiated stomachs could not resist the lavishly made Rajasthani dishes of Madhua ki roti, sattu liti dipped in desi ghee, chokha and bajra khichdi.
The place maintains its desi standards for sweet tooth as well. Taste of home in a bowl of phirni and the richness of fruit cream were as fulfilling.
We relished every bit of the vendor-style food to our heart’s content, with a promise to return to the flavours of this place very soon.
We also spoke to founder Osama Jalali, who explained us the USP of this outlet and much more! Check out the video below:
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