One of the iconic eatery in old Delhi marked this day
There has been various blogs blogged and posts have been Instagrammed about this event. The walking tours of Heritage-minded also preferred to stop by for quick feats and pictures.
But, now it’s no more.
The shop of Hazi Sharbati Nihari is historic, which is situated near the old Delhi’s Haveli Azam Khan- a well-known man for his signature meat stew. The dish is prepared by cooking overnight and then in the morning it is served freshly.
The landmark was overtaken by a grocery store last Friday as the business changed but shop still owned by the family.
The whole event is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The thirty years old grandson of Hazi Sharbati (founder of the eatery since 1957) Mohammad Shuaib Ilyas stated that the store was closed during the entire lockdown. He even added that he realized in the Lockdown that the only shops that can survive in such emergency are the one that deal in medicines, vegetables, and grocery and dairy products.
Mr Ilyas said that it was difficult for eatery to survive this situation as all their chefs returned to their villages in Bihar and UP by the time road opened. This was the biggest reason that they could not restart their Nihari business.
He shared while handing over soap to a customer wearing mask that replacing the Nihari eatery with a grocery store is the wisest decision.
The grocery looks so new just like a new cloth that takes some time to adapt to wearer’s shape. On the floor sack rows are neatly organized containing various types of rice. On the walls there is metal rack and shelves are packed with jams, ketchup, spice boxes and lentils, etc.
There is no denying that their world is changing swiftly because few months back there was a busy kitchen with large cauldron or degh filled with piping hot Nihari.
The degh is usually buried into a ground-stove. The chef used to wear lungi perched on the counter calmly ladling Nihari out of the cauldron to pour into takeaway packets.
In the old times the degh of Nihari would never the fire and the process of cooking stew was slow and continuous by adding fresh stock on daily basis. There is no such romance remained the Hazi Sharbati Nihari shop during its last year. The degh started to get washed regularly prior to cook Nihari and then replaced by a new degh within a month.
Until the virus crisis the shop woll rool down its shutter daily in evening and then the chefs go bed while the Nihari keeps on simmering in the degh on low flame. It was the tradition of all-night slow-cook that was followed all these years. In the morning around eight the local people would gather and demand for the dish. Although those buyers still visit but now their demand is to factory made products like Kissan jam, Amul butter, etc.
The founder of this eatery died before 23years of this drastic change. His wife also died last year only. They both are buried in the graveyard at Dilli Gate. Ilyas- the grandson folds his arms against the shops backdoor where in Urdu Hazi Sharbati Nihari Shopis painted.
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