Thursday, May 13, 2010

City Food – Ram Laddoo, Around Town

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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City Food – Ram Laddoo

Simple and honest.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Nobody knows how the deep fried balls of moong dal came to be known as Ram laddoo. It might have followed the Hindu belief that something with no name can always be attributed to Ram, one of the most venerated gods. Strangely, two completely different food items are labelled Ram laddoo in Delhi. While one is these crusty daal dumplings, the other is a sweet-sour teeny-weeny ball of tamarind pulp enmeshed with pomegranate seeds.


Vendors, mostly migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, carry the wicker baskets of Ram laddoos on their head and a bamboo stand under their arm. Stopping where the crowd is, they set up the stall and serve the dumplings in a leaf bowl, garnishing them with grated radish, deep-fried batter-coated green chillies, and a generous helping of raw mango-pudina chutney. The laddoo is dry, but the juicy radish knocks out its little toughness. The crumbly blandness is balanced with the chutney’s biting sourness.


Such vendors are often spotted in the flea market of Janpath. There is one at the bus stop in South Extension-I. In Lajpat Nagar’s Central Market, vendors stock their laddoos in carts. Theirs is softer, but they add no extra garnish to gain extra points from customers. It is this stubborn simplicity that makes Ram laddoos so evocative of the old times when life was so less complicated.

Price of one plate of Ram laddoo Rs 5

I'm lovin' it (Janpath)

Hot 'N' Spicy

The complete buffet (Green Park)

City Food – Ram Laddoo

My laddoos, my pride (South extension-I)

City Food – Ram Laddoo

More chutney? (Green Park)

City Food – Ram Laddoo

Food on the move (South Extension-I)

City Food – Ram Laddoo

Closer Look (Green Park)

City Food – Ram Laddoo

Pleasure is mine (South Extension-I)

City Food – Ram Laddoo

Pleasure is mine too (Kotla Mubarakpur)

City Food – Ram Laddoo, Around Town

15 comments:

Amit P said...

Oh the ladoos look so tempting - Delhi is the-street-food-capital of India. I can say that(and feel more) since i am living in South India. Lucky you - MAS. Humble suggestion - maybe you can start off a new series altogether on street food and put all your old foodie ventures under one hood.

Anonymous said...

you know,in your writing there is such innocence and sweetness and yet so so mature.everyone from a non-reader to an accomplished writer can relate to your style and everyones heart u touch
go on MAS go on...the world is waiting for you with wide open arms....go on.....

Anonymous said...

you know,in your writing there is such innocence and sweetness and yet so so mature.everyone from a non-reader to an accomplished writer can relate to your style and everyones heart u touch
go on MAS go on...the world is waiting for you with wide open arms....go on.....

Rima Kaur said...

i love these dal laddoos! the strange thing is that they taste the same across stalls.

shilpi said...

Its amazing how you (and only you) can make something as simple as these Ram Ladoos look so out-of the-world. Strange that we Delihites have forgot how to value simple things in life.But i am sure the next time I pass by a vendor selling these ladoos i'l not forget to enjoy these delicious looking things. All thanx to you Mayank! :)

shilpi said...

By the way..i didn't know that they these moong dal laddoos had an official name...thanx for widening my knowledge about my lovely city..my Delhi..!

Anonymous said...

ha ha ha
omg soofi!!
girls are after you (see comments).
run run run
sorry,just joking......

but yes
ha ha ha

Rohit said...

currently i m in pune :(, but when ever i go home , i make sure to have ram ladoo's atleast once,

i just love the chutney with the radish...
delhi really has plenty of options as far as street food is concerned.
you can not get so much of options anywhere else in India.

Nayantara said...

"everyones heart u touch
go on MAS go on...the world is waiting for you with wide open arms....go on....."

OMG, the world is waiting for you with open arms!! preferably they have ram laddoos on them....
P.S.
keep safe

zeevie said...

common man of Delhi,u r.superb nd simple
lage raho miyaaan

Anonymous said...

@Nayantara
yes,the world is waiting for him with open arms of love
wat do u mean by open arms with ram laddu.dont u understand,fathead

Vishal said...

@MAS
Sorry for being pedantic again, Pics are incompatible with narration. Factual reporting please.

I didn't see wicker baskets or plates made from leaf. These two things denote traditional use of resources that are bio-degradable, sustainable and environment friendly. Rather what I saw in pis was aluminium containers and plates made from synthetic materials.

Having said the above, I do admire the resilient spirit of migrant entrepreneurs, taking the products where customers are, delivering services as and when you want at an affordable cost. Though hygiene cane improved. I wonder how many people pay attention to hawkers's nails when s/he bare handedly making these dishes. Welcome to Delhi Belly.

Nayantara said...

Anonymous you are hilarious!
Simply can't stand it, can u?
fathead...

Anonymous said...

Mayank ji, when was the last time you had a home-cooked meal? Street food is fun, but risky.


-Silene :)

Ajay said...

Looks like the street food is evolving too.
I am away from Delhi now for a long time. I don't remember seeing Ram Ladoo in Delhi around 15 years ago.