‘Kartaar de Cholay’

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I have vivid memories of my early childhood. My visits to the holy city of Amritsar were incomplete without a visit to the old part of the city for savoring the delicacies and specialties that are unique to the city of Amritsar.

I recently visited the city again after a gap of more than 30 years. On the first morning of my trip I paid respects at the Golden Temple and remembered our martyrs and freedom fighters at Jallianwala Bagh. Thereafter, the thought of having “Pippe de cholay (pronounced at ‘peepay day cholay’) suddenly came to mind. A ‘Pippa’ is an aluminium container that contains cooked Cholay (Channa/Gram) and is served hot along with special Amritsar Kulchas. It brought back memories of the distinct taste of this fine recipe which I had last savored several years back.

My wife’s Aunt (from Amritsar) took us to the city’s main shopping market. There I was introduced to Kartar’s Singh’s grandson. A jovial and rather amiable person in his fifties, he was quite happy to narrate tales for his trade. He is a third generation cholay vendor (his grandfather started the business) and has been selling the famous Kartaar de Cholay at the same spot since his teens. He talked about changing times – the city, his clientele, prices of his cholay. But the one thing that stayed the same was the taste of his patented recipe. This according to him was the main thing that brought customers back to his stall. Here he is in action, doing the one thing he really loves… and the people love him for what he offers.

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