Before I took the trip down my mother’s memories, I had heard murmurs of this “light as air dessert” that tasted like a soft whisper in your mouth. “Daulat Ki Chat” was something that I had only heard of in food mythology. An Indian version of Soufflé, this milky dessert is made only during winters. Legend has it that to make this delicacy Milk would be churned by hand for hours, and the resulting foam would be left to set under the moonlight, the dew drops in the early hours of the morning would set on the Milk and made it light and airy.
It was then decorated with Saffron which gave it the golden hues and Silver leaves making it “Daulat Ki Chat” or the “Rich man’s dessert”. Since there were no refrigerators in the olden days, the cold winters night played a huge part in giving it the texture and flavour that was just right.
However today times have changed, there are machines available to do the churning for you, there is no way can one keep a big cauldron of Milk outside on a polluted dusty wintry evening because instead of Dew drops you would have dust particles settle on the froth. But even as a skeptic when you find a Chaatwala (the guy who sells this dessert) standing in the by lanes of Chandani Chowk, you can’t help but ogle at the beauty.
It almost seems like time has stood still for a few minutes as you stand there and admire. Served cold in disposable bowls, sprinkled with Khoya (Dried Milk) and Sugar it tastes like nothing. But when you take the first bite and the froth melts with the warmth of your eager tongue and the Khoya and Sugar dissolve at the same time you know you are tasting something magical, something that is out of this world.