Call it ironic or sad, but this is indeed the best and the worst time to be in Delhi. ‘But what about all the is suffocating..’, it is indeed true, the AQI levels of Delhi have deteriorated to an all-time low, but after the most excruciating summer, the nip in the air has come by as a gentle hug for almost everyone, whether you are the person who goes out for a jog at 5 a.m wrapped in your windcheater or the one who curls up inside a blanket as soon as the sun goes down. 

Come winter, and we get very particular about our ‘winter traditions’, like the Sunday picnics in Lodhi Gardens or traveling from one corner of the city to another in search of best Daulat ki chaat, gajar ka halwa, chikki, rabdi and savouring the same with family. Similarly, I like to visit the cobbled lanes of Nizamuddin Dargah, especially in winters, not so much for the kabab or korma, but the Halwa Paratha. 

What Goes Into The Making Of This Mammoth Paratha

This gigantic paratha made with dough (that weighs almost 700 grams) is rolled thin using bare hands, it is then poked with fingers. These holes prevent the paratha from puffing up when it is deep-fried in oil. The paratha is not entirely crisp, in fact, one-half of the paratha is deliberately kept softer, so that when you bite it doesn’t really feel like a tart. The paratha that is predominantly made of maida and ghee, is supposed to act as a base for the ghee-laden, vibrant halwa. This melt-in-your mouth halwa made with semolina or sooji is topped with tutti fruttis, cherries and dry fruits and is placed on the paratha before it is served fresh. These parathas are also nominally priced, you can easily get a kilo of Halwa Paratha for 150-200 rupees, a plate would cost you around 40-50 rupees.  

The paratha is the ultimate winter comfort food for millions like me for its melange of textures and flavour. It’s simplicity clubbed with sheer genius, even if you consume the paratha after a while, it does not seem like a soggy mess. It holds its own for a long time, that said, it is best to consume it hot and fresh.

The Sufi Connection

But that is not all there is to this iconic dish. Halwa parathas are one of the popular dishes made in Sufi shrines or dargahs, it is served and distributed for free among those in Dargah as Urus. Many people volunteer to make the halwa and serve the community. Drenched in ghee, this combination of halwa-puri, doesn’t really seem like it has two separate dishes. It is so wholesome on its own, that it will command your attention right till the end.  

Think you can recreate the same magic at home? Do let us know and share your recipe.