If you are from Delhi and have been here for long enough, you would know the city’s love affair with street food. A walk around the by lanes of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi would introduce you to an array of unique street food like Jaleba, Papdi Chaat, Ram Ladoo, Gol Gappe, Shakarkandi ki Chaat, and so on. Around winter season, you may also chance upon a pristine white dessert which is frothy, foamy and topped with nuts, cardamom or saffron strands called Daulat Ki Chaat.   

If you are thinking about its off-beat name, then you are not alone. Rest of the Delhi is arguing about the same. But whoever has had it, happens to agree that cloud-like dessert is simply a heavenly experience. One can only have it for a few months during the winter season in Delhi and some neighboring states like UP, where it is known by different names such as Malayo( Varanasi), and Nimish (Lucknow). The dainty dessert involves long process, beginning from the evening till the wee hours of the morning. It involves boiling milk, mixing it with some cream, post which it is allowed to cool outside under the winter sky to set and soak in the dew. As per some vendors in the Old Delhi, the dew drops of a chilly winter night add lightness to the milk and help in aeration while blending later. Early in the morning, the milk is churned constantly using a mathaani which takes about three to four hours to transform the milk into a feather-light foam. It is solid enough to hold together in a dona (big plate) but light enough to melt in your mouth soon enough!  

Daulat ki chaat is topped with cardamom, pistachios and almond slivers. In Varanasi, where it is also offered to Lord Krishna and is known by the name of Mallayo, it has a lot of saffron lending a beautiful yellowish tinge to the dessert, along with oodles of malai which adds a lot of richness to the decadent dessert. In Delhi one can find flavours of khoya, mawa, kewra and crumpled chena over daulat ki chaat, balancing crunch and froth. 

You can find some vendors selling Daulat Ki Chaat at Dariba Kalan and Sitaram Bazaar and Nai Sadak. It is better to grab them early in the morning as this fragile sweet treat tends to puddle as the winter sun starts to soar. Due to the time-consuming process with little returns, this age-old ‘chaat’ is slowly fading away with upsurge of modern snacks. Its fleeting appearance between November-February in the lanes of Old Delhi is proof. Daulat ki chaat is an incredible, comforting winter experience that you must have, when in Delhi.