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HomeDelhiDelhiwale: Fasting with khajla | Latest News Delhi

Delhiwale: Fasting with khajla | Latest News Delhi

Delhiwale: Fasting with khajla | Latest News Delhi

A hand reaches out in the night sky, plucks the full moon, plunges it into a cauldron full of hissing hot oil. The moon swells up, turning brown.  

Rustled out of maida and ghee, the sweet flaky khajla pops up briefly each year, during ramzan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. (HT Photo)

You may now eat it.

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Rustled out of maida and ghee, this is the sweet flaky khajla, which does look like a deep-fried moon. It pops up briefly each year, during ramzan, when Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. This being one of the days of the sacred month, khajla is adorning numerous eateries and stalls, especially those that surround the city mosques—the Jama Masjid in Gurugram’s Sadar Bazar, the Jama Masjid in south Delhi’s Zakir Nagar, and the historic Jama Masjid in Old Delhi. Khajlas are often piled up in gigantic baskets, though one evening in Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti, they were strung along the street like some festive bunting.

The delicacy surfaces during ramzan because it is very filling, and gives lasting resilience to fasting stomachs. That’s why it is customarily consumed during sehri—the pre-dawn meal after which the fasting starts. It’s broken into shards, which are added into a bowl of sweetened milk.

The places that make some of the city’s most delicious khajlas are to be found in Old Delhi—Kallan Sweets and Kamaal Sweet House in Matia Mahal Bazar, Sheeren Bhawan in Chitli Qabar Bazar (this landmark mithai shop has the best and also the most expensive khajla, at 800 rupees/kg!) and Durga Sweets Corner in Kamra Bangash. While a new unnamed mithai shop in Chandni Mahal too is fast earning a goodwill for its khajla. On the other hand, if you simply want to watch the making of the khajla, then head to Haveli Azam Khan. The kitchen of Ameer Sweet House there overlooks the narrow street, giving a clear view of the picturesque cooking process—one “karigar” rolls out the dough, another deep-fries the khajlas, and the third ladles each one out as it swells into a balloon. The sweet shop is a few steps away from Modern Tea House, the Mecca of local poets. Two ramzans ago, two poets there were sitting across a chippy wooden table. Tasleem Danish was telling Muhammed Ayub about his visit to Hyderabad where “Bhai, I came across a khajla that was exactly like the khajla of our Dilli, but it was not khali inside… it was filled with halwa.” The other poet was left speechless.

At Ameer’s, consider trying some of the other delicacies prepared during ramzan, such as pheeki jalebi, paneer jalebi, keema samosa, khoya samosa, and chowmein samosa. Staffers Fardeen Tiger and Inder, however, chose to pose beside their star offering—see photo. 

Ramzan will end in a few days with the sighting of the Eid moon, causing these fried moons to fade out of sight.

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